The Advantages of Gas Shock Absorbers
Shock absorbers perform a number of different functions, but the one that most people recognize is its ability to smooth out the ride of a vehicle. Shock absorbers, as the name suggests, absorb road shocks to keep the passenger compartment from experiencing excessive jolts from road conditions. Shocks also help to keep the wheel and tire in constant contact with the road; without shock absorbers, the vehicle would bounce in tune with the flex of the springs on the suspension. Gas shock absorbers are an improvement on conventional shocks and perform more efficiently.
Are Gas Shocks Filled with Gas Instead of Oil?
Gas shocks still use a hydraulic oil to cushion the piston of the shock absorber. As the shaft of the shock absorber moves up and down in response to the road surface, the piston at the end of the shaft has openings through which the oil is squeezed to slow the movement of the piston. This oil is sealed in the cylinder of the shock and is prevented from leaking out by a seal around the shaft of the shock. The difference between conventional shocks and oil shocks is that the air in the cylinder is replaced by nitrogen in a gas shock absorber.
What is the Biggest Advantage of Gas Shocks?
The nitrogen in the gas shock absorber keeps it cooler than conventional shock absorbers. A cooler shock absorber means the hydraulic oil inside is less likely to overheat and thin out. If the oil losses some of its viscosity due to the excessive heat in cylinder, then the piston on the shaft moves easier and the efficiency of the shock is reduced.
Are There Other Advantages to Gas Shocks?
When a conventional shock absorber is exposed to a very rough surface. such as a road that could be described as a washboard, the piston in the shock moves at a very rapid rate. In conventional shock absorbers, this type of rapid agitation of the piston can cause the oil to foam and lose its ability to cushion. The nitrogen in gas shock absorbers helps to eliminate the potential for the hydraulic oil to foam.
Are Gas Shocks Used for OEM Applications?
Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) often use gas shocks; they are somewhat common on smaller cars. Larger, heavier vehicles tend to float better over bumps, and smaller, lighter models seem to be more receptive to road shocks. Compact vehicle owners that do not have gas shocks are likely to improve the ride of their vehicle by switching to nitrogen-filled shock absorbers.
How Does the Price of Gas Shocks Compare to Conventional Shock Absorbers?
Gas shock absorbers are generally more expensive than conventional non-gas shock absorbers. The extra price is easily justified with the improvement in ride characteristics and safety. The longevity of gas shocks is similar to non-gas shocks, but the long term effectiveness of gas shocks is another positive feature.
If the time has come to replace shock absorbers on your vehicle, consider the advantages that gas shocks provide. Improved ride, better response to extreme conditions, and improved safety are all valid reasons to consider gas shocks. Gas filled strut cylinders are also available for vehicle that use a strut suspension system rather that shock absorbers. Gas shocks are also available in heavy-duty model shock absorbers for truck and trailer applications.