BILSTEIN recommends a shock absorber check before winter arrives
Winter is a challenge for every vehicle. Cold, road salt and moisture wreak a heavy toll on vehicle components and result in increased wear and tear. Breakdowns and accidents are always disruptive but they can be even more dangerous in winter. To avoid weather-related vehicle defects and expensive damage repairs, suspension specialist BILSTEIN recommends a comprehensive winter check of your vehicle before the cold sets in. This should include the shock absorbers – an area not usually included on such a safety check – because only a vehicle with perfectly functioning suspension is truly fit for winter road conditions. This applies in particular to the vehicles we load with family and holiday paraphernalia to take us on a winter break.
A recent study of shock absorber functionality by the TÜV technical inspection association, German Motor Vehicle Federation and German Road Safety Organization, revealed worrying results. It showed that 9.3% of all three-year-old cars have defects on at least one shock absorber, a figure rising to 19.3% in ten-year-old vehicles. The consequences of these defects are severe. Worn shock absorbers diminish road-holding, directional stability and cornering stability, while extending braking distances and increasing tyre wear. In addition to this, diminished damping force impairs the performance of electronic safety systems such as ABS, ESP and ASR, as these require full road contact to function correctly. In winter in particular, this means an unnecessarily high safety risk.
Worryingly, it is often difficult for drivers to recognise the loss of shock absorber performance because the ageing process takes place inside the unit and the deterioration usually happens gradually. Younger vehicles are not immune either, for these can also succumb to advanced wear. “A regular check of the suspension, including the shock absorbers and springs, is essential for road safety,” emphasises Rainer Popiol, head of basic and advanced training at BILSTEIN. “Drivers should therefore ensure that a full suspension check is carried out as part of a routine winter check-up while their car is in the workshop. It is often just the battery and tyres that get checked here, along with the oil and water. But the change from summer to winter tyres provides the ideal opportunity to check the safety of the suspension and prevent possible damage by replacing worn parts, because the specialists have a clear view of the shock absorbers“.
Thanks to the assurance of being an original equipment manufacturer, the automobile coil springs and shock absorbers BILSTEIN produces as OE replacements are just as good as the originals. The high damping force and enduring quality of the products are not the only decisive factors for drivers and workshops, however. Because the fit of BILSTEIN shocks is identical to the original, installation time is reduced considerably. With safe shock absorbers fitted to your car, nothing more should stand in the way of your next trip in wintry conditions.