Checking Shocks

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Powerdown Australia has released advice to truck operators about shock absorber maintenance. The Australian trucking industry supplier says it’s vital to regularly check shock absorbers as part of a tyre maintenance program.


According to Powerdown General Manager, Mathew Gatgens, worn out shock absorbers or units that are not designed for Australian roads can allow tyres to bounce on the road surface in an uncontrolled manner, which can result in flat patches or ‘scalloping’ on the tread surface of the tyre.


“This inconsistent type of tyre wear happens due to the tread scuffing the road surface at high speeds, however a consistent wear pattern could be the result of an alignment issue or a worn suspension bush,” said Gatgens. “As an important component to the axle and suspension set up, the shock absorber controls the oscillation of the vehicle’s spring and keeps the vehicle’s tyres in contact with the road surface, which has an overall effect on braking, handling and stability.”


According to Gatgens, the simplest way to check if shock absorbers are in a good operating condition is through visual inspections for oil leaks or physical damage and by performing heat tests.


“To carry out a heat test, stop the vehicle and immediately get out of the cab and place a hand on the chassis rail to feel the operating temperature of the truck or trailer,” said Gatgens. “Using your other hand, place two fingers on the body of the shock absorber, being careful as shocks can get really hot.


“The temperature of the shock absorber should be hotter than the temperature of the chassis rail. A working shock absorber should be dissipating heat, but try to get to them as soon as you stop, as they will cool down fast.”