Choosing the Best Shock Absorbers for Vehicles

Posted on Sep 1, 2020

best shock absorbers

A suspension system is a mechanical device that connects the tires to the car chassis. When a car accelerates, brakes and turns, many physical forces are applied to the vehicle in directions. The suspension system is there to dampen the forces and support the vehicle. Shock absorbers are one of the crucial elements of the suspension system.

What Are Shock Absorbers?

If the suspension can control and optimize body motion and tire grip while smoothing road impacts and driver input through the steering wheel, the car will travel faster, safer, and ride quality. The shock absorber plays a key role in the function of the suspension and has a significant impact on the overall handling performance and ride quality of the car. Shock absorbers are also called dampers because their role is to dampen shocks or control the movement of the body and suspension when the body is undulating and bumpy. 

In short, the suspension springs carry the car weight, and for a given road input, will determine how much movement the car is likely to have. Shock absorbers are used as timing devices to adjust the time required for this suspension movement to occur. If the suspension is too soft or too tight, it will damage the car, passengers, and steering wheel performance. By finding the right suspension balance, the driver can bring the power of the engine to the ground by operating the steering wheel, optimize tire grip and braking, and improve speed and safety.

Shock Absorbers Used in Vehicles

Over the years, automotive shock absorbers have advanced. Which type is the best shock absorber for you? Well, it depends. There are pneumatic (air) and hydraulic (oil) shocks. Air shock absorbers dissipate the energy of suspension springs by venting heated air into the atmosphere. In hydraulic shock absorbers, the viscous fluid is heated. Since the fluid cannot leave the tube, the heat generated is conducted through electric shock. Standard shock absorbers meet the requirements of many motor vehicles. The heavy-duty impact device has a sturdy structure, high-quality oil, stronger seals, and several other advantages.

:: Read More: Industrial Shock Absorbers - Types and Applications

Twin Tube Shock Absorbers

As the name suggests, a double-tube shock absorber consists of two different tubes: an outer tube forming the main body of the shock absorber and an inner tube in which the piston moves. When the shock absorber is working, the valve between the two tubes and the hole on the piston can promote the movement of oil. Double-tube shock absorbers are the most common shock absorbers of any kind. These are the most economical of all too. You will find these shock absorbers in most cars and trucks. Despite the low cost, the dual-tube inventory still has disadvantages when used in vehicles.

One of the disadvantages is that they provide only ineffective suspension in bad road conditions. If the road is too bumpy, the rapid movement of the piston will cause the shock absorber oil to overheat. Then, the hot oil will inflate and foam, which will reduce the ability of the shock absorber to control the spring swing. The heavy-duty version of the double-tube shock absorber has higher quality hydraulic oil. When used in a vehicle suspension, the limitations of oil foam may not easily appear. However, it is only possible when driving on normal roads. Long-term driving on severely defective roads can cause problems.

Mono-Tube Shock Absorbers

A single shock absorber includes a single tube. Inside the tube is the hydraulic oil for the piston and shock absorber. The tube directly exposes to the atmosphere. Compared with double-tube shock absorbers, single-tube shocks have higher manufacturing costs. Therefore, they are not common in automobile suspensions. Since their bodies are exposed to the air, they can better dissipate heat. Gas-filled shock absorbers are made up of gas to keep the hydraulic fluid from foaming. In the production process, gas is pumped into the pipeline, and the injection point is sealed.

The gas-filled shock absorber won't lose its work if the piston runs quickly in the oil and produces too much heat. They are suitable for off-road vehicles. They're also widely used in auto racing. The benefits of flaky shock absorbers come at a price. Because of the tight clearance, they are one of the costliest. One should not confuse gas-filled shock absorbers with air shock absorbers. The air buffer uses a separate chamber that contains air as hydraulic oil. In operation, the valve delivers air into the air chamber to lower or raise the vehicle's body.

External Reservoir Shock Absorbers

These are the most modern types of shock absorbers and certainly the best for high-performance suspension applications. External reservoir shocks consist of a compact and lightweight structure with tight clearance. The body is connected to an external hose, which transfers hydraulic oil from a separate oil storage tank to the shock absorber. It is located at a remote chamber or connected to the shock absorber.

There are benefits to this design. Putting the shock absorber oil into a separate chamber helps reduce the weight on the wheel. The shock absorber oil has ample expansion space to help protect the components against impact. The external oil reservoir cools faster than other forms of oil as it is placed in another portion of the shock absorber system. The external tank impactor is made for high-performance applications, such as rally cars. They are expensive and may not make economic sense for regular cars.

Coil-Over Shock Absorbers

The coil-over-shock absorber has a spring coil surrounding the body of the shock absorber. Coil spring shock absorbers have many advantages for suspension. The coil helps to enhance the effect of electric shock, making this device effective. The coil spring shock absorber can also be adjusted. They can be lengthened or folded to suit the required ride height.

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