Frequently Asked Questions

Here Are Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) About Automotive Shock Absorbers:

Can I buy shocks directly from Gabriel?

Gabriel South Africa does not sell directly to the public and is distributed by a network of appointed wholesale distributors. The Gabriel range is available for purchase at most wholesalers, spares shops, and fitment centres nationwide.

Who owns Gabriel in South Africa?

Autoworld South Africa (Pty) Ltd has full ownership of the renowned Gabriel brand of shock absorbers in South Africa and across many countries in the African continent.

What is the purpose of shock absorbers?

Shock absorbers, also known as dampers, are designed to absorb and dampen the shocks and vibrations that occur when a vehicle travels over bumps, potholes, or uneven road surfaces. They help maintain stability, control, and comfort for passengers by minimizing the bouncing and oscillations of the vehicle's suspension system.

Are shock absorbers critical for safety?

Shock absorbers are the single most overlooked item in vehicle maintenance and replacement parts. Worn shocks can cause excessive spring movement of the vehicle, making the vehicle difficult to handle. Worn shocks also affect brake control, reduce the efficiency of Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESP) and can cause the car to sway dangerously. Shock absorbers that are in good a condition are not only a necessity for proper car handling, but become especially important in emergency manoeuvres. Worn shocks won’t keep your wheels in contact with the road, no matter how new your tyres are.

How do shock absorbers work?

Shock absorbers work by converting kinetic energy (movement) into heat energy. They contain a piston that moves within a cylinder filled with hydraulic fluid or gas. When the vehicle encounters a bump or rough road surface, the piston moves up and down, forcing the hydraulic fluid or gas through small passages, which dissipates the energy and slows down the movement of the suspension.

Do shock absorbers carry the vehicles weight?

No, the vehicles overall suspension system including springs carry the vehicles weight/load. The shock absorber is not loadbearing and is there to control the movement of the suspension system by reducing excessive bounce caused by the springs.

I hear a banging noise over speed bumps. What could be the cause?

The most common cause is damaged or missing bump or rebound rubbers. Visit a fitment centre to check and replace them immediately.

What are the signs of worn-out shock absorbers?

Signs of worn-out shock absorbers include excessive bouncing or swaying while driving, uneven tire wear, longer braking distances, a nose-diving sensation during braking, and a rough or uncomfortable ride. Visual inspection may also reveal leaking fluid from the shock absorber. Click here to see the Gabriel 8 Signs of Worn Shocks

How often should shock absorbers be replaced?

There is no specific mileage or time interval for replacing shock absorbers since their lifespan depends on various factors such as driving conditions, road quality, and vehicle usage. As a rule of thumb, vehicles with 60,000 km or more should have worn shocks checked. However, it is advisable to have them inspected by a mechanic regularly, typically during routine maintenance intervals, and replace them if they show signs of wear or damage.

Can I replace shock absorbers myself?

While some experienced DIY enthusiasts may be able to replace shock absorbers themselves, it's generally recommended to have them replaced by a professional mechanic or technician. Replacing shock absorbers involves working with the vehicle's suspension system and requires proper tools, knowledge, and experience to ensure safe and effective installation.

What are the different types of shock absorbers?

The most common types of shock absorbers include hydraulic (fluid-filled), gas-filled, shock absorbers. Hydraulic shock absorbers use hydraulic fluid to dampen movement, while gas-filled shock absorbers use a combination of oil and compressed gas (such as nitrogen).

My gas shocks are leaking oil. How is this possible?

Gas shocks are mostly filled with oil; the gas provides a faster reaction time. Nitrogen gas is used and is not flammable.

Do I need to replace shock absorbers in pairs?

It's generally recommended to replace shock absorbers in pairs (both front or both rear) to maintain balanced suspension and consistent handling characteristics. Replacing them in pairs ensures that the vehicle's suspension system functions properly and provides optimal comfort and stability for passengers.

My car feels hard after fitting new shocks. Why?

Drivers may forget how a good shock absorber works and an adjustment period is needed. Drivers have a tendency not to notice when their shocks wear out. This change happens gradually over a period of time and drivers gradually adjust their driving to compensate for the extra roll or bounce.

These FAQs cover some of the basic questions about shock absorbers. If you have specific concerns or questions about your vehicle's suspension system, it's best to consult with a qualified mechanic or automotive expert.