What are Shocks?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Shocks are part of the support system on moving vehicles that helps to minimize wear and tear on essential components while also providing an enhanced level of comfort for passengers. Just about all kinds of shock absorbers work by utilizing the basic mechanics of hydraulics. There is not just one type of shocks that work for every type of vehicle. In fact, there are five distinct classifications for shocks.

Long-haul trucks use air shocks.
Long-haul trucks use air shocks.

Often, the shock absorber is filled with a fluid or gas that helps to absorb the movements of the support springs on the vehicle, while at the same time exerting pressure on the tires to keep them firmly on the road. The action of the shocks works in conjunction with the springs that also form part of the support system for most autos. Between the several components, it is possible to balance the load of the vehicle so the wear is even all the way around the wheelbase. This contributes to the degree of comfort that passengers will experience while riding in the vehicle.

Since there are many different types of vehicles, it should come as no surprise to find that there are shocks manufactured for different needs. Standard shocks are configured to fit on most passenger cars on the road today. Smaller trucks often will require use of heavy-duty shocks that provide a little more support when hauling larger loads than passenger cars.

Moving into the range of commercial vehicles, there are automatic level control shocks that help to compensate for adjustments in the overall size of the load. This is very helpful for smaller trucks that are used for point to point deliveries around a city or immediate area. For long haul truck solutions, most of these large and powerful machines will utilize adjustable air shocks that provide a high degree of stability with heavy loads. For some of the largest transportation companies, the installation of overload shocks is essential. Overload shocks work well when transporting heavy pieces of machinery, or other loads that exceeds the standard weight of a load.

Many types of shocks can be purchased at an auto parts store, and replaced with ease. Experts recommend that shocks be examined at least annually, with replacement occurring at least every three to five years. Waiting until one or more shocks seem to fail can create costly wear and tear on the vehicle, as well as be quite dangerous.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


My husband drives a small truck. I believe that its shocks are in dire need of replacement. He has had it for five years, and he has not replaced them yet.

The road we live on is full of bumps and potholes. When we are riding in his truck, I feel every one of them. I bounce around like I’m riding a horse.

I hesitate to carry food in the truck. I can’t imagine holding a casserole dish in my lap while jiggling around that much. We usually just take my car if we have delicate or potentially messy items to transport.

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