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Shocks

Out with the old and in with the new

A bumpy ride akin to the old country bus you took on those long trips to grandma’s house is the last thing you want from your car. Driving on busted shock absorbers is neither safe nor comfortable, so when the oil starts leaking and the car never stops bobbing, it’s time to deal with replacing those shocks. The most important step in car shocks maintenance is simply to remember that your car has them to begin with. You can tell a great deal about their performance by simply feeling your car’s suspension as you drive. Motor Trend magazine also suggests taking your vehicle out to a secluded parking lot, accelerating to 10 miles per hour (16 kilometres per hour) and hitting the brakes. If the front of the vehicle keeps bouncing after you come to a stop, then your shocks are likely shot.

stop-and-go traffic, and you have a lot more movement (and kinetic energy) slamming through those shocks. From there, gravel, hills and other road conditions only add to the stress on your vehicle’s shocks, potentially subtracting from the typical 50,000-mile life expectancy. Even your style of driving and specific wheel and tyre modifications can have an impact. If you just drive the car to church on weekends, then this may all sound like great news.

When you’re not on the road, you can get a closer peek by getting on your hands and knees and looking at these ride-softening little gadgets. If you see dents in the shock tubes, leaking oil (though slight oil film over the lower portion of the shocks is OK), then chances are you’re in the market for some new shocks.

The shocks in your car perform two functions: they dampen spring oscillation; and secondly, they aid in ride control. Let’s look at these two jobs in more detail. The springs in your car actually absorb road shocks (not the shock absorbers). Surprised? The shock absorber’s function is to dampen the bouncing spring. If you did not have shock absorbers to dampen the spring oscillations from road shock, your car would turn into a vigorous bounce every time you hit a bump in the road, making it very difficult to handle and dangerous.

As kinetic energy wears shocks down, it follows that more suspension movement has a negative effect on shock absorber life expectancy. If your daily route consists of a smooth, unobstructed drive across level countryside, then your vehicle is probably enduring a minimum of suspension movement. Throw in some curves or a little

The shock absorbers in your car aid in ride control by keeping the car manageable during regular driving. They do this by keeping the tyres down on the road and not allowing them to bounce after hitting a bump. This allows for ease of cornering and handling. Here are the signs that you may need new shocks:

• • • • • •

Vehicle rolls or sways on turns Front end dives when braking Rear end squats when accelerating Vehicle bounces or slides sideways on a winding, rough road Vehicle “bottoms out” (with a thump) on bumps In addition, worn shocks can accelerate the wear of your tyres and suspension parts ... the ball joints, steering linkage, springs and C.V. joints. Worn shocks don’t just hamper driver comfort; they can harm overall suspension performance and reduce brake efficiency, cornering ability and antilock brake system effectiveness. So when shocks go bad, it’s out with the old and in with the new.

Preventative check-ups are the key to side-stepping the effects of worn shocks. Have your technician check them every time you have an oil change. Things to look for: • Leaks on the housing • Dents on the shock or strut body • Worn rubber mounting bushings • Pitted piston rods • Crushed rubber bumpers from “bottoming out” • Abnormal wear on tires (high and low spots) Don’t “cut corners” when it comes to your shocks. Proper functioning of these parts is essential to the handling and cornering of your vehicle, allowing you enjoy a safer, smoother ride. So if you’ve been experiencing those bumps, consider taking advantage of ATL Auto Parts Shocks and Suspension special – 15% off until June 14, 2014. A highly skilled and internationally trained team of technicians stand ready to keep those shocks in check for you.


All New Honda City on its way to Jamaica We’re counting down the days to the arrival of the all new Honda City. Now in its fourth generation, the 2014 City is redesigned with a sportier look and distinctive side lines. It’s looks bigger and sits well on the ground. Life in the City just got even better. Get ready to pose for your best selfie yet!

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ATL Automotive DRIVE Issue 20