Steering auto parts: Shock absorber steering
How to detect the steering damper failure
To diagnose the steering damper on your own, you have to visually inspect it. Streaks on the part surface, deformation of the housing or the spring, wear and rust on the rod, rupture of the protective dust boot indicate that the component is faulty.
Then you have to suspend the car front part and turn the steering wheel a few times in both directions with sharp movements. If it travels too freely, most likely the shock absorber has failed. The part failure is indicated by the excessively tight turning of the steering wheel as well. You also have to check that the rubber bushings are in a good condition: over time they can become brittle and eventually crack.
More thorough examination of the steering damper requires a special test bench and is performed at a service station.
You may identify that the steering damper requires an inspection by the following symptoms:
Causes of the steering damper failure
The most frequent cause of the component malfunction is adverse operating conditions. Frequent driving on low-quality roads causes higher stress on the part, which results in its components premature wear. Besides, when driving off-road, the risk of mechanical damage to the damper caused by ingress of foreign objects or hitting an obstacle considerably increases. Because of this the housing tightness can be impaired, and the oil can leak out. The housing deformation often becomes the cause of the rod sticking.
Dirt and road chemicals are also hazardous for the part, as due to their impact the rubber boot and the damper seal break down. As a consequence, its rod rusts, the working fluid leaks out and the component performance deteriorates. Moreover, air can get inside the damper. In some cases premature wear of the dust boots can result from a substandard oil usage that corrodes the seals.
In some cases, the parts faults are caused by performance malfunctions of other steering and suspension elements. In particular, the damper mounts may break because of the jammed steering rod end. A single-acting shock absorber equipped with a spring can sometimes fail because of its slackening.
Repair of the steering damper
Mostly you can restore the damper performance with the help of refilling. You have to disassemble the part, wash it thoroughly, replace the damaged seals and locking rings, as well as the damping force adjuster with new ones, they are commonly included in the repair kit.
Replacement of the steering damper
Everyone is capable of replacing the steering damper. For this you have to mount the car on the hoist, unscrew the part bolts and disconnect it from the bracket. You have to clean its seat from dirt and rust, if necessary. After that, you can install a part, tightening its bolts with the torque specified in the vehicle technical documentation.