Why are My New Shocks so bouncy?- A Deep Dive into the Dynamics of Your Vehicle’s Suspension

I guess you have just invested in brand-new shocks for your old car, hoping for a better riding experience. Surprisingly, your vehicle feels like bouncing on a trampoline once you start rolling its wheels! It is indeed frustrating to leave you with the question, “Why are my new shocks so bouncy?

Maybe the freshly installed shocks tend to be stiffer than the worn-out ones they replace. That’s why you feel shaky rides after installing them. Again, the vehicle weight, incorrect installation, tire inflation issues, road conditions, and low quality or incorrect type of shocks are also reasons for bouncy shocks.

Well, a bouncy shock or shock absorber may indicate several things. But do not worry. I will explain these reasons for bouncy shocks in this blog. Also, you will learn how to mitigate the bounce and regain that smooth, comfortable ride you desire.

Suspension System & Meaning of Bouncy Shock Absorbers

The suspension system is the center to provide stability, comfort, and safety while you drive a vehicle. And shocks or shock absorbers are an essential part of this system.

Shocks dampen the up-and-down movement of the vehicle’s springs. At the same time, they reduce the effect of traveling over rough ground and improve the ride quality and vehicle handling (source). These things convert the suspension’s kinetic energy into thermal energy dissipated into the atmosphere (source).

Types of Shocks

You can find several types of shock absorbers:

  • Hydraulic
  • Single or double-acting
  • Friction
  • Lever
  • Telescopic

These shocks have unique applications and features. Whatever you choose for your vehicle, they will provide significant handling and comfort (source).

The Meaning of “Bouncy” in the Context of Shocks

If you say “bouncy”, it may mean the continuation of a vehicle swinging up and down after hitting a bump or a pothole. But it should return to its normal ride height as its actual function (source).

Once you have a bouncy ride, you will feel uncomfortable and unstable while sitting in the vehicle. Besides, it is usually a sign of something fishy in the suspension system.

Usually, a certain amount of bounce is normal during rides. It is even necessary for a vehicle’s operation as the suspension system needs to absorb the energy from road impacts. Through this, the system prevents impact transmission to the vehicle’s body.

Causes of Bounciness in New Shocks

I know you have selected the best shock absorbers for your vehicle. Still, you are not getting what you want. Let me answer, “Why are my new shocks so bouncy?” to make you happy.

Some reasons for new shocks being bouncy are:

  • Incorrect shocks type
  • Low-quality or worn-out shocks
  • Overinflated tires
  • Tire tread wear
  • Potholes and rough roads
  • Vehicle Weight
  • Aggressive driving style

Now, I will explain all these reasons with full explanations.

Reason: 1 – Incorrect Shock Absorber Type

You may have installed the incorrect type of shocks (like I mentioned) on your vehicle. When you are on the road, the vehicle will start bouncing more than regular for those shocks.

What to Do

Here is the way to find the right shock absorbers for your car:

  • Think about the driving conditions you experience to choose the right replacement unit (source).
  • For the correct length, measure the distance between the upper and the lower shock mounts (source).
  • Consider the dampening rate of the new shocks. The speed of moving shocks determines this rate (source).
  • Examining the old or existing shock absorber assembly can teach you better about the shock end type.
  • Check if any corner is lower or higher than the others. It may indicate a need for a new shock absorber (source).

Reason: 2 – Low-Quality Shocks

The new shocks you have installed may not be up to the mark. Besides, low-quality shock absorbers may wear out quickly. When they are worn out, they cannot effectively dampen the vehicle movement. As a result, your car may sway or lean during turns. Even the front end may dive when you brake. However, it indicates that the shocks cannot manage weight transfer effectively.

You may get odd driving experience with low-quality shock absorbers. For example, your car may not remain stable or in control during different scenarios. More precisely, you may feel bouncy when you corner or go around a curve.

The vehicle may even slide or skid in severe cases, especially in wet conditions. It is because of the reduced traction caused by ineffective shocks.

What to Do

Always try to use the shocks recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. In this case, you may read the vehicle owner’s manual for further information.

Find out your vehicle’s year, make, and model or use the OEM part number on your stock strut or shock assembly (source).

Additionally, you may consult a professional mechanic to get an idea about high-quality shock absorbers.

Reason: 3 – Worn-Out Shocks

Shock absorbers wear out over time, which may cause bouncy rides. Here are some signs of worn-out shocks:

  • You will hear noises like clunking or knocking when driving over bumps. When the shock or strut bottoms out, metal-to-metal contact happens, and those noises appear (source).
  • Your car will bounce up and down when you drive or hit larger bumps in the road (source).
  • You will get leaking shocks that indicate the seals have broken. Also, the internal fluids essential to proper function escape (source).

What to Do

Even if you have installed new shocks, ensure that they are in perfect condition. Otherwise, replace those worn-out items quickly with quality ones. A replacement of shocks may cost around $200 (source).

Reason: 4 – Overinflated Tires

Shock absorbers carry the load of the whole vehicle. This weight is distributed to the tires. But tire pressure can influence your vehicle’s ride quality. For instance, if you have pushed more air than necessary, the overinflated tires cannot effectively absorb the road impacts of potholes and bums (source). Though you have installed new shocks, they may fail to work due to this scenario.

Again, overinflated tires have a smaller contact patch. They may reduce the vehicle’s traction, specifically when you drive on uneven surfaces at high speeds. If your car has new shocks but overinflated tires, the center of the tire tread will wear more. It will also cause the car to lose traction (source).

What to Do

Avoid over or under-inflating the tires. You can check the manual to know the recommended amount of pressure on them.

Reason: 5 – Tire Tread Wear

Well, I have already said improper tire inflation can cause uneven tire tread wear. More precisely, you will get rapid wear on both outer edges of a tire. It can decrease the fuel economy (source).

Sometimes, misaligned wheels can cause uneven strain on the tire. As a result, it may cause irregular wear patterns, known as tire cupping (source).

What to Do

Make sure you have aligned the wheels properly. In this case, an expert can help you. Otherwise, you may contact the local repair service to set up the alignment correctly.

Reason: 6 – Potholes and Rough Roads

You have installed new shocks, yet those potholes and rough roads can make vehicles bounce unexpectedly. Well, these potholes can cause significant damage to a vehicle’s shock absorbers. Let me explain it easily.

When your car hits a pothole, its impact may cause shocks to break or leak oil (source). And when this damage happens, you will see changes in the car’s performance. For instance, you will get instability at highway speeds or excessive bouncing when the vehicle is pushed down.

Potholes can also damage the suspension system, like deforming the ball joints. It is also due to uneven tire wear and less precise steering (source).

What to Do

You should always keep your vehicle under supervision and proper care. If you get bouncy rides after installing new shocks, you may check for any leakage due to shocks. Besides, you may get assistance from a mechanic in this regard.

Reason: 7 – Vehicle Weight on Shock Absorbers

Vehicle weight influences the shock absorber performance of a car. Well, the upper mount of the shock absorber connects it to the vehicle chassis. It supports the whole vehicle weight.

Suppose the weight pushes the spring down below its normal loaded weight. It will cause the spring to rebound and initiate a bouncing process. And the shock absorber will gradually dampen it (source). Then again, sprung mass lesser than standard can affect comfort and road-holding ability.

What to Do

Any shock absorber you choose has a design to carry specific loads. It may not perform optimally if the vehicle weight deviates notably from this standard. So, you should not worry about bouncing if it is due to the vehicle’s weight. But I suggest not to put too much weight on those absorbers.

Reason: 8 – Aggressive Driving

How do you drive – too aggressively or follow the same regular pattern? If you are an aggressive driver, you surely love speeding, hard braking, and frequent lane changes. And this driving style can cause loss of vehicle control and increased stopping distance. Eventually, it will strain the suspension system (source).

The excessive speeds and sudden movements can cause the suspension to wear out more quickly. It will cause your newly installed shocks to wear out quickly.

What to Do

I will not stop you from driving aggressively. But think about avoiding it – it can prolong the life of the vehicle’s suspension system. It can keep shock absorbers healthy and prevent tire tread wear.

Final Words

Why are my new shocks so bouncy? I guess I do not need to explain the reasons anymore. Still, I am recapping the whole blog.

You should use high-quality, recommended shock absorbers to avoid bouncy ride. Also, avoid overinflating or underinflating tires to get a stable riding experience. You may also reduce aggressive driving to maintain the health of the suspension system and, of course, those newly installed shocks.

Finally, I hope you will follow the instructions regarding each issue. Thank you for your time!

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