What’s the role of shock absorbers in car suspension system?
Shock absorbers are a necessary part of car suspension. Most vehicles have one shock absorber for each of the four tires. They play a very important role in a vehicle’s suspension system.
Limit Vehicle Body Movement
The main purpose of shock absorbers is to limit overall vehicle body movement, or sway. As a vehicle is driven, the body will move up and down or side to side to various degrees in response to driving and road conditions. These types of vehicle movements are held in check by shock absorbers.
Stabilize Vehicle Ride
Depending on road conditions or driving style, a vehicle can go from smooth and controlled to bumpy and erratic in a short time period. Shock absorbers stabilize the overall vehicle ride, preventing an excess of vehicle body lean or roll in any one direction, especially when cornering or navigating sharp turns. This stabilization allows for greater vehicle control and stability.
Stabilize Vehicle Tires
Most vehicles have one shock absorber per vehicle tire. Each individual shock absorber, in addition to controlling vehicle body movement and ride, exerts a tremendous stabilizing force on each vehicle tire. A shock absorber prevents a vehicle’s tire from hopping or bouncing in uneven or choppy terrain and helps to a vehicle tire planted firmly on the ground or road surface.
Minimize Tire Wear
By helping to stabilize and control the movements of a vehicle tire, a shock absorber helps to minimize tire tread wear. Tires that are held firmly against the ground and held in position by a firm shock absorber last longer and experience much less tread wear.
Reduce Overall Suspension Wear
Shock absorbers are only part of a vehicle’s overall suspension system. Most vehicles utilize a combination of various leaf springs, coil springs and struts to stabilize and control a vehicle’s movement. Shock absorbers basically absorb and deflect a great deal of initial road impacts and/or body movements. What shock absorbers can’t contain gets passed on to other parts of a vehicle’s suspension system.
There are different designs in car shock absorbers. The most popular shock absorber designs are twin tube design and mono tube design. There are two tubes in twin tube shock absorber. It consists of an inner and an outer tube which work together for achieving the intended purpose. Mono tube on the other hand consists of single tube which is mounted in an upside down position to decrease weight. Some of the shock absorber also comes with nitrogen gas at the end of the piston which reduces foaming and increases the performance.
For racing purpose Shock absorbers are essential in order to reach optimum speed and performance. For racing purpose, shock absorbers come in various disk designs and valve combinations.
The factors which should be considered for achieving proper shock absorber positioning are:
* Rebound resistance from within the shock.
* Compression pressure inside the shocks.
* Distance rearward from the axle.
* Arc of travel from the locating arms.
* The compression or rebound travel.
The effectiveness of its purpose is also dependent upon its location. For cars equipped with suspension that moves up and down like Ford, shock absorbers must be mounted on the outboard as close as possible on the ball joints. The versatility of Ford shock absorbers allows easier adjustment to cope with various road conditions. The location of shock absorbers may depend upon the specifications and features of the car.