Amortizers are essential for both the safety and driving comfort of your vehicle. They help absorb rebounds and shocks during your journeys, providing a smoother driving experience. As wear and tear components, they require regular maintenance and periodic replacement. In this article, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about amortizers, including their role, how to choose the right ones, symptoms of leakage, when to replace them, and the associated costs.
The Role of an Amortizer
Located at the front and rear of the vehicle, an amortizer is connected to the suspension system. Its main function is to limit the movement of the suspension spring, preventing the vehicle from bouncing or experiencing excessive shaking. Additionally, amortizers enhance driving comfort by eliminating elements that could be hazardous to the driver. They absorb a significant portion of shocks, stabilize the vehicle, and enhance steering precision, particularly on rough roads or tight corners.
The amortizer consists of a piston inside the suspension spring, which moves with the help of a hydraulic cylinder. Furthermore, amortizers work in conjunction with suspensions to absorb rebounds, vibrations, and floatation, thereby ensuring a smoother and safer ride.
Choosing Between Gas and Oil Amortizers
Whether your amortizer operates with gas or oil, they will have the same physical appearance. However, oil-based amortizers, known as hydraulic amortizers, are more commonly used in vehicles. They feature two separate chambers within their cylinder—one for oil and one for air. The role of the piston is to push the oil into the air chamber, compressing it. This movement of oil provides the suspension’s braking action, reducing vibrations.
On the other hand, gas amortizers, which are relatively newer, use nitrogen instead of air in the chamber. They also contain an oil chamber. Gas amortizers offer a more responsive reaction but can be less comfortable due to their increased stiffness. They are typically used in high-performance vehicles and tend to be more expensive than standard hydraulic amortizers.
Symptoms of Defective Amortizers
The lifespan of amortizers can vary depending on driving habits. However, several signs can indicate defective amortizers, including:
- Leaking amortizer: Visible oil leakage from the amortizer, indicating a loss of sealing.
- Vehicle swaying: A sense of imbalance while driving, particularly during braking, with excessive front-end dive.
- Unusual sounds: Grinding or creaking noises during driving.
- Accelerated tire wear: Uneven tire wear, especially on the sidewalls.
- Increased risk of hydroplaning: Reduced traction and control in wet conditions.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit an auto mechanic as soon as possible to have your amortizers inspected and replaced if necessary.
When to Replace an Amortizer
Amortizers are wear components with a relatively long lifespan, lasting up to 80,000 kilometers before requiring replacement. However, it’s recommended to have them checked every 20,000 kilometers and included in the annual auto maintenance checklist. Proper care and maintenance of your amortizers are crucial for ensuring the safety and reliability of your vehicle.
Cost of Amortizer Replacement
Amortizers follow the same rule as tires—they should be replaced in pairs. On average, a pair of amortizers costs between $200 and $350, excluding labor costs for replacement. It’s worth noting that this service often includes the replacement of amortizer mounts. Therefore, the total cost can vary depending on the vehicle model and type.
Amortizers are vital components of your vehicle, and maintaining them in good condition is crucial for their function alongside the suspension system. Regular annual maintenance checks will automatically include inspection of the amortizers, and your mechanic will alert you if any of these essential components require attention for your safety and the safety of others on the road.