Gas shocks are components on a vehicle's suspension, which stop the springs from continually moving, while the vehicle is operating. The springs bounce for quite some time, while stored energy is being released. The shock's purpose is to absorb the spring’s energy, before the energy enters the vehicle's chassis. Gas shocks use compressed gas inside the shock, instead of oil or air like other shocks available. The gas used in the spring is typically nitrogen. Nitrogen is ideal for use in these shocks, due to its neutral nature and will not react with any oil that may be present in the gas spring cylinders.
Gas shocks are made up of five components, which are the upper mount, piston rod, pressure tube, base valve, and lower mount. The two ends of the shock are called mounts, and they are connected to the frame and axle near the wheel. When the vehicle is being operated, the shock's spring expands and compresses, which creates energy that is sent into the vehicle's chassis. As the vehicles suspension settles down, the energy is transferred into the shock, where it is sent down through the piston rod and into the piston. As the piston moves up and down inside the cylinder, the pressure of the compressed gas slows, and the piston then slows the spring, causing the suspension to return to level. In order to withstand the tremendous pressure shocks encounter, gas shocks must be made out of aluminum, carbon, steel, or stainless steel.
Gas shocks are velocity sensitive, meaning, that the faster the suspension moves, the more the shock will resist. This allows the shocks to adjust to road conditions, suspension sway, brake dive, and acceleration squat, while retaining control of the suspension.
Gas filled shocks are the most expensive shocks available, due to the strict guidelines in which the manufacturers must adhere to. The guidelines must be strict, due to gas' ability to easily escape, which could be hazardous, therefore, the cylinder and piston must perfectly fit together in order to keep gas from escaping the shock. Gas shocks are very popular among off-road racing and rallying enthusiasts due to their ability to resist fading. Shocks typically need replacing after 60,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on, the type of road conditions the vehicle travels daily.
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