What Is A Shock Absorber and What Does It Do?

Shock absorbers damp or reduce spring oscillations. Without a shock absorber, the springs on a car will cause it to bounce around excessively every time it hits a bump or takes a turn. A well dampened suspension system with a functional shock absorber will allow the springs to react to driving conditions but will return to the normal ride height quickly.

Inside a gas and oil shock absorber (except for air shocks, almost all shock absorbers use gas and oil construction) a valve slows the movement of the piston through the shock oil so that whether the shock is compressing or extending, the movement will be slowed down.

A shock absorber:

  • Stops springs from oscillating

  • Keeps tires in contact with the road

  • Improves ride quality

  • Improves handling

  • Improves gas mileage

A shock absorber doesn't:

  • Prevent bottoming out

  • Hold a car up

  • Change ride height

  • Increase load or towing capacity

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