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How to Diagnose Failing Shocks In Your Land Rover

Land Rover is unique in that they are one of the only car manufacturers to invest in developing air shocks. They began developing them back in the mid-nineties. Over the years, more and more Land Rovers were fitted with air shocks. Today most Land Rover models have them as a standard feature. In some models, such as the LR3, standard hydraulic shocks came on the base models, and air shocks came on higher trim levels.

So to know if your shocks are bad, you first have to know which kind you have. It's pretty easy to tell by looking. Hydraulic shocks are a painted metal tube that is about 2" in diameter, located behind each wheel. Air shocks are found in the same place, but the upper part of the shock is almost 5" in diameter, and made out of aluminum.

Air shocks last a very long time. Many do not fail until after 200,000 miles. Hydraulic shocks have a shorter life, and many may need to be replaced every 60,000 miles or so.

As hydraulic shocks fail more often, the rest of this article will focus on them, and does not apply to air shocks.

Without shocks, your Land Rover would bounce all over the place. A good set of shocks prevents your car from bouncing when it hits a bump. When shocks wear out, they lose their ability to absorb the bumps and vibrations on the road.

A bouncy ride is a major symptom of worn shocks. So if your Land Rover is feeling bouncier than usual, then you might want to inspect your car for additional signs of shock failure.

Symptoms of Worn Shocks

Land rover shocks replace

Take a few minutes to inspect your Land Rover for the following signs of worn shocks:

  • Badly cupped tires
  • Fluid leaking from the shocks

You can take your Land Rover out on a spin for the sole purpose of looking out for the following symptoms:

  • Noticeable vibration in the tire after hitting a bump
  • Suspension bottoming out
  • Nose dive when braking hard
  • Excessive body sway when cornering

If you notice more than one symptom, then your shocks are most likely bad. To confirm it for sure, you can do the bounce test.

The Bounce Test

If you’re looking for the easiest test in the world, this is it. The bounce test is essentially bouncing your car to see if the shocks can still absorb the impact. Here's how to test your Land Rover's bounciness:

  1. Park your Land Rover on a flat surface.
  2. Go to one corner of your car. Push down on it hard and then let go in one swift motion.
  3. Observe how much the car bounces.
    1. If the car bounces back to at-rest height, then the shock at that corner is still good.
    2. If the car bounces once, then the shock is failing and it needs to be replaced soon.
    3. If the car bounces more than twice, then it needs new shocks ASAP.
  4. Repeat with the other three corners of the car.

Replacing Your Shocks

Rover shocks

Image Credit: ExpeditionLandRover

If your Land Rover failed the bounce test, then it's time to roll up your sleeves and replace the shocks. Of course, you can bring your car to the shop and have them replace the shocks for you, but you'll be paying quite a bit of money on labor and a hefty markup on the replacement shocks.

Replacing your shocks is a job that can be performed using a floor jack, jack stands, and basic tools. Here's a good tutorial to follow if you're confident that you can change the shocks on your Land Rover yourself. 

At Land Rover Virginia Beach, we have one of the largest online inventories of genuine OEM Land Rover parts at low prices. Look up your Land Rover in our catalog of genuine OEM shocks to see a complete list of shocks and related parts we offer for your car.