How To Test Your Imperial's Shock Absorbers

Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Springs -> Absorbers -> Testing

Whenever you inspect the suspension system, you should test the shock absorbers.  The test should be performed with the car on the ground, not when the car is being supported on a jack or hoist.

The way to test the front and rear shocks is by bouncing each corner of the car.  Rock the car at each corner and release.  If the car bounces more than 1 1/2 times after you have stopped, take a closer look at the shocks.

If the car bounces more than it should, raise the car up on a jack.  Run your hand over the tire tread completely around the tire and from inside to outside.  Cupping or unusual wear in any area indicates the shocks may not be holding the tires on the road.  Look for broken mounts, damaged bushings, and oil on the shock absorber barrel.



Grab the shock and shake firmly.  This may reveal damage to a mount or bushing not apparent at first sight.  Substantial fluid on the outside of the shock absorber housing indicates a leaking seal.  Fluid cannot be replaced and shocks are ineffective without fluid; shock absorber replacement is required.   Shocks should always be installed in pairs, and it is often most economical to replace all four.  

One indicator of a need to replace the shock is oil leakage at the piston rod seal.  Also conduct a bounce test.  During the bounce test, carefully observe the top strut mount.  Any noise or movement here can indicate the need for parts replacement. 

So here are the warning signs that you may need to replace your Imperial's shock absorbers:

This page last updated September 13, 2001.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club