A Comprehensive Guide To Shock Absorbers

What is the role of shock absorbers?

Shock absorbers play two main roles; they control the suspension and the movement of springs, and they also keep the vehicle on the road at all times by ensuring the tyres are always in contact with the ground. Maintaining this contact between the bottom surface of the tyres and the road is an absolute must for being able to drive, steer and brake. Should the tyre lose grip while the vehicle moves, you’d be in trouble?

The popular belief that shock absorbers exist to support the weight of the vehicle is wrong.

Let’s see how this goes.

On the scientific side of things, shock absorbers convert the kinetic energy of the suspension system to thermal energy, or heat, which then dissipates into the environment through the heat exchange mechanism.

That’s actually pretty straightforward, even though it may seem complicated.

In a nutshell, shock absorbers are nothing but oil pumps consisting of a piston that applies pressure to the hydraulic fluid in an encapsulated tube. The piston features tiny holes for the fluid to escape as the suspension travels up and down. As these holes are very small in diameter, they only allow a very small amount of fluid to pass through. The result is a slowing down of the piston that leads to a slowing down of the spring and suspension movement.

Shock absorbers are designed to adjust to road conditions. Basically, the faster the suspension travels, the more resistance they oppose.

Main Types Of Shock Absorbers

Even though all shock absorbers fulfil similar roles in the economy of the vehicle, different types of suspension systems call for different types of shock absorbers.

There are three main types of shock absorbers: conventional telescopic ones, spring seat shocks, and struts.  If you are looking for somewhere to get quality shock absorbers then I would highly recommend Koni shock absorbers.

Conventional Telescopic Shock Absorbers

This is the simplest and the least expensive type of system. As a general rule, it is easier to replace than to repair. You can find such shock absorbers on the front and rear suspension.


Even though they fulfil the same basic role as conventional shock absorbers, struts also replace a part of the suspension. This is why they require a sturdier built, able to cope with greater loads. Strut type shock absorbers are commonly a feature of small and medium vehicles. Nonetheless, there’s a tendency of carmakers to fit even larger vehicles with struts. There are two main types of struts: sealed and repairable. As you can easily imagine, sealed struts can only be replaced. Repairable ones, also known as McPherson struts, feature replacement cartridges.

Spring Seat Shock Absorbers

Spring seat shocks feature characteristics from both previously described categories. A spring seat shock servers as both suspension unit and damping part at the same time. However, unlike struts, spring seats aren’t able to bear high side loads. Their build is similar to one of the conventional shock absorbers. Fully sealed, they require full replacement in the event of failure.

How Do Shock Absorbers Work?

These parts are very similar to pumps. They help keep your vehicle in contact with the ground by working in conjunction with the suspension springs. Thanks to their work, you can control your steering, braking, and road handling for safe and comfortable rides.