Why the chassis check is so important for drivers and workshops

18. Dec 2020 | Technology + Products

One of the most underrated components in cars is the chassis. The chassis is designed to transfer, absorb or dampen the different forces generated between the road and the car and ensure contact with the road at all times. This not only makes a significant contribution to safety and driving dynamics, but also contributes greatly to driving comfort. This is why drivers should pay attention to their chassis and visit their trusted vehicle workshop for a regular chassis check.

Shock absorbers in particular play an extremely important role as part of the chassis: As a connecting link between the wheel chassis and the body, they catch road impacts and ensure the necessary contact with the ground in every driving situation. Shock absorbers dampen body vibrations more quickly and so enhance both safety and ride comfort.

Defective and worn shock absorbers represent a safety risk

However, worn and defective shock absorbers pose serious dangers: Defective shock absorbers can result in a braking distance of up to 20 percent longer. Worn and defective shock absorbers also impair the effectiveness of ABS and ESP and result in a poorer road position. The particular problem: shock absorbers generally wear gradually. Most drivers become accustomed to their gradually poorer chassis and do not notice that shock absorbers or other components of the chassis are already a safety risk.

So figures like these are not surprising: According to a study by TÜV, the German Federation for Motor Trades and Repairs and the "Deutsche Verkehrswacht", a German road safety organization, 9.3 per cent of old cars have at least one shock absorber defect. For cars at ten years of age, the figure is 19.3 percent of all passenger cars. This makes it all the more important for drivers to regularly have their chassis checked by professionals. For this reason, all good vehicle workshops offer a detailed chassis check in the product range. The process of checking shock absorbers, springs and wheel chassis varies from workshop to workshop.

Chassis check: What this includes

This check always includes a visual inspection of all chassis components, such as shock absorbers, transverse control arms, rubber sleeves, rubber bushes, support and ball joints. The tyres should also be closely inspected. The wear pattern of the running surface can provide information on the condition of the chassis, shock wear and the correct chassis setting. The shock absorbers can be inspected on the test bench or in a test drive. A test drive is suitable for checking the overall condition of the chassis: How is the directional stability? Are there unusual noises? How does the driving feel overall? In addition, the steering should be checked for play and the servo support should be checked.

A particularly good time to carry out the chassis check is when the vehicle goes into the workshop for the seasonal wheel/tyre change, i.e. when summer tyres or winter tyres are fitted. Especially when driving on holiday, the chassis should be in top condition. The chassis is subjected to high loads, particularly when driving over several hundred kilometres.

And the chassis suffers badly in winter. Low temperatures mean that all kinds of materials are brittle or broken down due to frost formation. Even slight damage to chassis parts can lead to expensive subsequent repairs due to the salt that is widely distributed in winter and the resulting corrosion that can lead to expensive repairs.


Workshops must be proactive

As drivers only rarely consider the stresses the chassis is subject to, workshops are required to clarify and proactively promote a chassis check. In their own interest too. After all, all-season tyres are becoming ever more popular among drivers, meaning that there is no need for a mandatory tyre change visit to the workshop. Automotive companies therefore have to find new ways to convince customers of the need for seasonal visits to their trusted workshop. The chassis check is the perfect tool for this.

And if the shock absorbers need to be replaced, then Herth+Buss has the right one in its range. The parts specialist has more than 350 shock absorbers in its Jakoparts range, with over 7000 linked vehicles and over 120 million registered vehicles (data from december 2020)– therefore you will find a shock absorber for most of the vehicles!