Q Our car is a 2004 Skoda Octavia diesel, which we bought
about five years ago. It was OK for the first three months, until the guarantee ran out, after which the ride became very rough, particularly when the roads were dry, but not so bad in wet conditions. We have changed the shock absorbers, springs, balljoints and greased the driveshaft. I have always been told not to grease shock absorbers, so I have lubricated or replaced nearly everything else under the front end, but to no avail. Then, in the interview with Steve Buckell in the November issue of CM, he said that he rebuilds dampers. I had always thought these were sealed units, so all you could do was grease them. So I greased ours and… what a difference! So, is it OK to use grease, and, if not, what should I use?
A The adjustable damper units that Steve Buckell
was referring to in the interview are slightly different to the shock absorbers found on your vehicle. Your shock absorbers are sealed and, in normal service, no maintenance of the unit should be required. I am assuming that you have greased the rod where
it goes through the seal. This should not be lubricated with grease as this will perish the seal. In your case, as this has cured the fault, I believe the seal must have been dry and grabbing the rod. To prevent future problems, I recommend cleaning
the rods and lubricating them with hydraulic oil. This will achieve the necessary lubrication without perishing the seals, although it will still attract dirt to the rods, which will then be dragged down into the seal and cause premature wear. This is one reason why the shock absorbers should not be lubricated.
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