How to Identify Defective Shock Absorbers

The MEYLE mechanics: How to Identify Defective Shock Absorbers

In this issue, the “MEYLE Mechanics” will demonstrate how to diagnose defective shock absorbers. They will also explain the effects of shock absorber damage on the overall vehicle behaviour. Find more information on MEYLE-ORIGINAL shock absorbers on

Speaker 1: Hello everybody. Today we’re not going to talk about brakes, but defective shocks.
Speaker 2: And how defective shocks affect the performance of your brakes.
Speaker 1: Let’s start with how to diagnose defective shock absorbers. We’ll demonstrate it on these two T5 vans. The shocks on the first van are newer and perform smoothly. On the second van, we’ve given them special treatment. They are defective. We did this to make the difference in the behavior between the two more obvious.
Speaker 2: The easiest way of checking whether or not the shocks are damaged is simply by pushing down on the car, but you can also spot shock absorber damage by doing a visual check.
Speaker 1: That’s right. Look for fluid runs along the shock absorber or oil spills on the ground or control arm. If you do some regular off-road driving, inspect the shock absorber for dried dirt sticking to it. This may suggest that oil is leaking from the shock absorber, making the dirt stick to it.
Speaker 2: And don’t forget to check the tires.
Speaker 1: Inspect the tires for signs of local wear. The typical symptom is an unevenly worn tire showing deep, cupped areas. This may also indicate shock absorber damage.
Speaker 2: You won’t see this on our car because we’ve only prepared the shock absorbers shortly before, but the next video sequence gives you an example of tire wear. You’re likely to notice advanced shock absorber wear when driving. In the early stages, this may be difficult, however, as shock absorber wear is a gradual process.
Speaker 1: If the steering feels unresponsive, especially when cornering, this is a typical symptom of defective shocks, or if the car doesn’t go straight without steering corrections, or if you can hear clunking noises coming from the suspension on bumpy roads.
Speaker 2: Once you have diagnosed the shock to be damaged, you should see a repair specialist to have both assemblies per axle replaced.
Speaker 1: Exactly, and you should have them replaced in pairs to make sure there is as little difference in the damping performance as possible between the left and right hand shock. Otherwise, the vehicle’s road holding behavior is poor or even dangerous.
Speaker 2: But that’s not the only reason.
Speaker 1: You’re absolutely right, because shock absorbers are safety critical components. With a damaged shock, the vehicle loses its stability, and the stopping distance increases significantly because of the wheel losing its road grip.
Speaker 2: To illustrate the difference, at the beginning of this issue, we showed both vehicles doing an emergency stop. Let’s look at it again. Now you see a summary of the effects defective shock absorbers have on the vehicle. It’s obvious defective shocks are a major safety hazard. You should have them checked at 80,000 km at the latest.
Speaker 1: If you find that your shock absorbers are worn out, have them replaced at once. In the next video, we’ll demonstrate how to do this. If you liked this video, give a thumbs up. Bye. See you next time. Take care.
Why does it always have to be me driving these wrecks?
Speaker 2: You get what you deserve.