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Understanding your shock absorbers and CV joints


Many of us own vehicles and are often told that a component needs to be replaced.

But have you ever asked yourself exactly what these components do? This week we’re tackling shock absorbers and CV joints with the help of the team at MotorHappy.

Let’s start with your shocks… their primary function is to keep you vehicle’s wheels in contact with the road as much as possible to ensure optimal traction and braking ability at all times. Your shock absorber achieves this by utilising a piston that moves inside a tube filled with oil. As this piston moves, the oil is forced through tiny holes and valves, controlling the amount of resistance to movement. This resistance to the motion converts energy into heat - yes, a shock absorber that’s been doing its job over a bumpy road, does become worn. If you notice longer stopping distances, a steering-wheel vibration, your car nose-diving or swaying, then your shock absorbers are probably due for replacement. Worn out shock absorbers can increase your stopping distance by up to 20 percent.

A more frequently-asked-about component are the CV joints… theCV or Constant Velocity joints are situated below your engine - connecting your wheels and gearbox - and are needed to transfer the force from your car’s transmission to the drive wheels at a constant speed, while also accommodating the up-and-down motion of the suspension. CV joints are mostly found in front-wheel-drive cars and deliver torque (rotation) to the front wheels when you turn your steering wheel. The two most commonly used types of CV joints are a ball-type and a tripod-type.

You will know if your CV joints need replacing if, at low speed, you can hear a steady knocking sound every couple of seconds. Another clear sign that you need new CV joints is if you feel your car vibrate more and more as you increase your speed. This can become very dangerous because the vibrations could cause you to lose control of your car.


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