New tires. New brakes. New air bags. Given your investment in any or all of these components, doesn’t it also make sense to replace worn shock absorbers, which can affect the performance and service life of other, costlier parts?
Shocks play a well-documented role in helping to prevent abnormal tire wear. “Cupping” and other uneven or premature wear are common symptoms of shocks that have lost their ability to help hold the vehicle’s tires evenly against the road. Worn shocks can also contribute to accelerated suspension component and bushing wear, which can negatively affect wheel alignment settings and potentially lead to thrust/scrub angle wear of drive tires.
Shocks also play a primary role in controlling suspension movement and, in doing so, protecting a vehicle’s air bags. Overextension of an air spring can cause mechanical damage of the spring and other components, leading to an expensive, unscheduled trip to the maintenance department.
In addition, shocks on standard-duty fleet vehicles help control weight transfer from the back of the vehicle to the front wheels when the brakes are applied. If the rear shocks are worn, the increased load on the front wheels could overheat and damage the front friction linings.
Your most important asset, of course, is your driver—and drivers might feel the difference in vehicle steering, stopping and stability when riding on worn shocks. The truck might be more stressful to drive. Additionally, axle and cab shocks help filter out noise, vibration and harshness before they reach the driver. Which would you prefer: an operator who feels more comfortable and in control or one who is battling the truck throughout his or her shift?
“Properly functioning shocks can have a dramatic effect on a fleet’s cost-per-mile and operating ratio,” said T.J. Fontana, director of commercial vehicle sales for the North America aftermarket for Tenneco. “Leading fleets understand this relationship and the benefits of replacing less-expensive parts, such as shocks, to protect more expensive assets, including tires, air suspensions and, above all, the driver.”
This article was contributed by Tenneco.