Hidden and usually unnoticed, dampers play a significant part in your car’s on-road and off-road capabilities. As a matter of fact, they are so crucial to the performance of your vehicle that racing teams from across the globe spend numerous hours and resources calibrating them.
You may be wondering, what exactly are dampers? How do they function? Why are they so important? What do they do? This read aims to answer these questions and more.
Let’s begin by clearing up what a damper is. A damper is essentially an extended metallic cylinder that is closed at both ends, with a piston emerging from one end. They are a crucial part of the suspension unit, with one damper linked to every wheel. The cylinder often has hydraulic fluid. automotive shock absorber manufacturers. It’s important to note that there are various types of dampers, but they are all made to perform the same task. As a side benefit, you may want to take a look at the different automotive shock absorber manufacturers.
What Do They Do?
Let’s begin with one of their function. Dampers don’t hold the weight of the vehicle. Instead, this is the work of the springs, which are another integral part of the suspension unit. The function of the dampers is to manage the bouncing motion of the springs, often by offering resistance to ensure that tyres touch base with the road.
Look at it from this point of view – if you bounce a ball against a surface and catch it, you are the one controlling the bounce. If you fail to catch it, it will continue bouncing with each bounce getting gradually smaller until it finally stops. A vehicle not fitted with dampers would hypothetically behave in the same manner. When the car hits a bump, it would bounce continually until it comes to rest in a normal state.
As with throwing and catching a ball, dampers basically regulate the bounce.
Dampers generally have two functions. Other than regulating the motion of the springs and suspension, dampers assist in always keeping the tyres grounded. This is because when a tyre loses its grip on the ground, the ability of the driver to steer, brake, and drive is left open to question. The Land Rover show is among the largest annual vehicle shows from where you can purchase accessories and other components.
If the springs are allowed to bounce frenziedly, the car will just wallow around, and the ride quality will make the passengers feel motion sickness after a while.
How Do They Work?
The sealed cylinder of the damper comprises valve passages and hydraulic fluid. When the suspension moves up and down, the piston will readjust inside the cylinder. As this occurs, the valve passages slow down the fluid flow, which subsequently regulates the speed of the piston’s change together with the suspension movement. Dampers will automatically correct to fit the conditions of the road, and generally, the faster the suspension movement, the more resistance the dampers will give off.
Why Are They So Important?
Dampers play an integral part when it comes to the ride quality and governance of the car. Other than providing you with a comfy ride, dampers also assist with the management of a vehicle’s stability, handling, braking, traction, stopping distance, cornering, and general safety.
Sadly, dampers remain to be among the most disregarded maintenance parts of a car. Dissimilar to a flat tyre or a blown headlight that will be spotted almost immediately, damper performance will deteriorate slowly, and the driver will just tweak their driving style to compensate.
How to Tell When Dampers Require Replacement
As the vehicle is in motion, the dampers will continually be operating, implying they’ll wear out slowly. However, there are a few tell-tale signs that can help you know when dampers require replacement.
When you brake hard and notice some swerving or nose dive, then this is a sign that your dampers are worn since they cannot cope with the car’s weight transfer, and the piston inside the damper compresses too fast.
When your vehicle hits a bump, it should go back to its original position and come to rest after not more than a couple of rebounds.