Road salt and winter weather affect the suspension

We recommend: Checking shock absorbers with tyre changes or every 20,000 kilometres

Bodywork damages by rust are continuously decreasing thanks to good provisions. But corrosion doesn’t only affect the visible metal. The underbody, which is directly exposed to road salt, wetness and stone chipping in winter, is susceptible to damages. These may remain unnoticed for long periods of time and particularly corrode the suspension. Those who want to be on the safe side should therefore have their shock absorbers inspected by a professional garage not less than every 20,000 kilometres. Drivers who check for damage within the framework of seasonal tyre changes or a spring check-up have hardly any additional expenses and the costs are usually manageable.

Like almost any metal, shock absorbers can rust and thus become leaky and lose stability. In addition, protective tubes, buffer stops, rubber sleeves and plastic elements suffer. With extreme temperatures and frost, they can become brittle, porous or chapped. Although modern components are significantly better protected than they were a few years ago, the average vehicle age is also increasing in many countries. In Germany, for example, it is now at 9.3 years. This development encourages common wear as many drivers rarely have their shock absorbers checked, and the regular general inspection hardly gives indications in this regard.

With time, an undetected risk is “brewing” in the car: When making turning or evasive manoeuvres, the risk of the vehicle swerving increases because the tyres quickly lose traction. Furthermore, the braking distance increases by up to 20 per cent and the risk of aquaplaning increases. ABS and ESP can only partially compensate for this effect, as their effectiveness is substantially impaired by strongly worn shock absorbers.