Posted by Will Parrish Auto Maintenance

Why Shock Absorbers Are Part of the Virginia State Vehicle Safety Inspection

A customer recently asked why the Virginia stage safety inspection includes a look at the vehicle’s shock absorbers. “Why does it matter if my car rides a little bouncy?”

It is not safe to drive with bad shock absorbers because that limits your ability to control your vehicle.

Shock Absorbers Help You Control Your Car

The shocks are part of your car’s suspension and can have safety implications if not properly operating. Shocks are not only there to provide a smooth ride. The main function is to limit the overall body movement.

When you are driving, your car moves up and down and side to side in response to the environment.  Uneven pavement, bumpy roads, and sharp corners create some of the situations where the shock absorbers engage to help you keep better control.

When you do a quick stop, all the vehicle weight is propelled forward. Shock absorbers help keep your wheels firmly planted on the ground in these types of extreme situations.

You car’s suspension system is equipped with springs, coils and struts. They each play a role in helping you to control your vehicle.

  • Springs carry the weight not allowing the vehicle to sag
  • Shock absorbers regulate the impact to the spring so that when the weight comes down the car does not continue to bounce on the spring

Shock Absorbers Reduce Tire Wear

Cupped tireKeeping shock absorbers in good working order also reduces excessive tire wear. Cars that bounce too much develop a tire condition called cupping. If your tires are cupped, you will hear a very distinctive sound as you drive. This is because the tires are no longer rolling smoothly making good contact with the road.

While the VA safety inspection happens only once a year, if you suspect there is a problem with the shocks or any other component of the suspension system, contact your trusted auto repair shop for help. Early identification can save you money!


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