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Worn shocks: A danger to drivers

2014-05-26 12:26

HAVE YOURS CHECKED: Worn shock can prove deadly on our roads but drivers are also putting themselves and fellow road users at risk by purchasing cheap imported parts. Image: Shutterstock.

Worn shock absorbers can compromise vehicle handling and safety on the road. Sadly, since shock absorbers wear out gradually ,drivers often adjust unconsciously to the change in their vehicle's handling, unaware of the danger, writes Les Mc Master, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA.)

Mc Master said: "It's essential that motorists be aware of how dangerous worn shocks can be and familiarise themselves with the signs that their car's shocks may be due for replacement.”

STOPPING DISTANCE INCREASED

Research on the extent to which worn shock absorbers impacts on vehicle safety shows that it can compromise a driver's ability to stop, steer and maintain stability.

Mc Master said:  "In fact it takes 2.6m longer to stop from a speed of 80 km/h on a straight road with only one driver in the car and it takes 11.3m longer to stop when fully loaded and travelling on a straight road with an uneven surface from a speed of 70 km/h."

Among the signs that a car's shock absorbers could be worn are steering wheel vibrations, oil leakage, irregular and increased tyre wear as well as steering that will not centre by itself.

DON’T SKIMP ON QUALITY

Mc Master also cautions against opting for replacing your worn shocks with cheap, often unsafe, shock absorbers. The MIWA reports that cheap, imported shocks are extremely dangerous because “they aren't built robustly, the quality of the oil is inferior, they fail the fatigue test, lack flexibility and are often incorrectly assembled”.

Mc Master said: "Quality is vital in this critical component of a vehicle. It's best not to scrimp on this essential part of driving a roadworthy vehicle. Ensure that you have your shocks checked and fitted at a reputable MIWA service provider and when necessary, insist to have them replaced by a trusted brand."

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