The dangers that defective shock absorbers present to vehicle owners are enormous and life-threatening. Nevertheless, a thorough inspection of the shock absorbers is still not part of the official vehicle inspection program in Germany. Test organizations limit their inspection to a simple visual inspection (statutory requirements), although shock absorber defects can rarely be seen with the naked eye.
Shock absorbers, these essential components on the car, work in hidden waysand this is where the danger lies. How does the driving behavior of a car change when the shocks are leaking? Studies have shown that shocks on both axles seldom fail at the same time. But even when the defective shock absorbers are only on the rear axle, the car’s handling in dangerous situations is by no means safe.
What happens if the driver has to react suddenly to avoid something?
An automobile with intact shock absorbers remains on track, while defective shock absorbers cause instability which resembles a dinghy swaying in the sea. The failure of shocks on the rear wheels push the car toward the front. The car slides and swings at the same time, cannot be brought under control and then eventually breaks away. This situation is dangerous for everyone on the road, not just for the inexperienced: defective shock absorbers mean that there is no longer contact between the tires and the pavement and any sort of swerving steering movements are not transferred to the road. Accidents are inevitable.
Shock absorber defects are a dormant safety risk which at first is not perceived by the driver. The process is subtle and creeps along at a slow pace meaning that the driver gets use to the deteriorating ride. The question remains why the inspection of safety-relevant components such as shock absorbers have not been made obligatory by lawmakers...
Conclusion: so even in the future car owners cannot place trust in the main inspection stamp indicating that their shock absorbers are okay. This means that they must identify defects themselves. Special attention should be paid to shock absorbers with 80,000/90,000 km, a fluttering steering wheel or rumbling sounds just to name some of the symptoms.