What Are Shocks And Why Are They Important?

Shocks on a car are an important part of the suspension system. The shocks and suspension system allow your vehicle to travel smoothly by dampening the bumps in the road. Without them, you will feel every bump in the road when driving. Your Toyota's handling will suffer, too.

Shocks help protect your vehicle from excess wear and tear. They also keep you and your passengers comfortable on the road. If you're looking for more information about shocks, you came to the right place.

What Does A Shock Look Like?

OEM toyota shocks

When you look behind each wheel on your Toyota, you'll find either a shock or a strut. If you find a shock, you'll see a cylinder-shaped part that's mounted vertically.

Shocks have with a steel or aluminum housing. Within the housing is hydraulic fluid and components that help control its flow. It also has mounts on both ends that attach to the vehicle:

  • The top end of the shock is mounted on the frame of the car.
  • The bottom end of the shock is mounted to the steering knuckle, control arm, or the axle.

A shock may look like a simple part, but it has many different components that work together:

  • Piston rod
  • Piston rod seal
  • Piston rod guide
  • Piston valve
  • Compensation chamber
  • Working cylinder
  • Protective tube
  • Base valve
  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Upper mount
  • Lower mount

All these parts (except the upper and lower mounts) are contained within the housing. Each parts plays an important role in the functionality of the shock.

When you hit a bump in the road, the shock compresses and then expands. Its job is to dampen all the impacts caused by the road.

How Do Shocks Work?

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A car's suspension system works with the shocks to keep your vehicle steady while in motion.

As a shock compresses, it creates hydraulic resistance. The resistance is enough to allow the shock to compress and then expand right away. The hydraulic resistance is created by the restricted outlets and valve systems within the shock. The valves at the top of the shock (compression valve) and bottom of the shock (extension valve) control the flow of the hydraulic fluid. When you hit a bump in the road, these restrict the flow of the hydraulic fluid. This allows the shock to compress and extend at certain rate of speed.

When not under impact, the shock is just sitting there. When you hit a small bump, only a small amount of fluid has to pass through the valve, which happens easily. When you hit a bigger bump, a lot of fluid is forced through the valve. The valve restricts how fast the fluid can pass through it, and thereby controls how fast the shock can compress.

Why Your Toyota Needs Shocks

Your Toyota's shocks absorb bumps and potholes so you don't feel them. When you hit a bump or pothole, the shock compresses and then expands to keep your car under control. Your car needs shocks for these reasons:

  • Shocks help protect your vehicle from excess wear and tear.
  • Shocks keep the ride quality optimal at all times.
  • Shocks help with vehicle stability and handling.

When your shocks are getting worn out, your car may bounce up and down excessively when:

  • Going over a bump on the road
  • Going over railroad tracks
  • Hitting a big pothole in the road

This excessive movement is bad for the suspension system. It's also rough on passengers in your vehicle because they feel every bump in the road. With your car bouncing all over the place, you lose some control of the vehicle.

What Happens When Your Shocks Fail

In the event of a failure, either one shock could lose its ability to work, or all the shocks could stop working. Either way, you'll run into problems.

As mentioned earlier, your shocks stabilize your car and allow it to maintain optimum ride quality. If your shocks fail, they will no longer be able to do this. In other words, shock failure decreases your car's handling and ride quality.

Driving a vehicle with bad shocks also poses others risks. For example, increased wear and tear on the suspension system. Without the support of proper shocks, your chassis bears the brunt of all impacts on the road. If you hit a pothole with worn out shocks, you may damage your suspension system.

There's also the risk of losing control of your car at high speeds. Shocks help keep the tires in contact with the road when driving over bumpy surfaces. If the tires have less traction than normal, this could lead serious accident.

Replace Your Shocks ASAP When They Fail

OEM toyota shocks

To sum up the previous section, failed shocks can be quite dangerous. So when you find out that your shocks are no longer working properly, you should replace them as soon as possible.

The first thing you need to do is find a good set of replacement shocks. Even if only one shock on your Toyota has failed, you should still replace both shocks on the same axle. This ensures that they'll work properly together.

Choosing a set of replacement shocks is a matter of finding a good set that fits your vehicle's specifications. You can't go wrong with OEM shocks. You'll find great prices for genuine OEM Toyota shocks on our website. If you need help finding the right OEM shocks for your vehicle, you're welcome to contact us. We're always happy to help!