Hello Paul, I recently bought a Toyota Harrier 2007 from Japan. I hear noises in the suspension when I drive off turmac or over humps and the car is yawing about. Are my shock absorbers worn out? How long do shock absorbers last and how can I know when I need to replace them? Anthony
Hello Anthony, how long your 12-year-old Toyota’s shock absorbers will last or the decision to replace them depends on a couple of variables or changing factors. These include how many kilometres this vehicle has been driven (mileage), what kind of roads or terrain it has been operating, the kind of loads your car carries and how aggressive or gently the car has been driven. The quality of shock absorbers can also determine their lifespan.
When your shock absorbers are worn out, there are a few telltale signs you can look out for, such as unusual vehicle swaying and rocking when driving over humps and uneven road sections, vibrations felt in the steering, unusual noises when driving over uneven road surfaces, uneven tyre wear and the car nose diving when you brake suddenly.
Shock absorbers act as dampers to dampen the shock as you drive over uneven road surfaces, to take the bounce out of your ride. Shock absorbers are like the muscles of our legs which work hard to cushion our movements.
This helps us absorb the shocks of walking, running or jumping. Car shock absorbers are crucial for both passenger comfort as well as vehicle handling. Ordinarily, good genuine quality shock absorbers ought to last for 100,000 kilometres or five years, whichever comes first. However, quite often they do not last that long because of the variable conditions experienced by different cars and their shock absorbers. Driving your car frequently over rough roads with large potholes, cracks or ridges will increase the number of times shock absorbers bounce, which accelerates their wear and tear.
If you usually carry heavy loads as you drive over an uneven road surface, your shock absorbers work even harder under strain, which reduces their lifespan. You can relate shock absorber wear with the human muscle stress and injuries suffered by people who make long cross country trips, more so if they are carrying heavy loads.
Overloading the car accelerates the wear and tear of shock absorbers. Aggressive driving without wanton or care, jack rabbit starts and stops will make your shock absorbers and other suspension parts work harder, invariably reducing their lifespan.