Shock inspection - how do I tell if my shocks are bad?

January 03, 2020

Today on Muddy Beards, we’re talking shocks. We're going to go over how they work... just very simply how they work and how to inspect them to see if you should be replacing them.

Video by Muddy Beards 4x4. Re-published with permission.


  • Shocks will typically leak at the seals. Check there for oil and debris buildup.
  • If the shocks are still installed, push down on your bumper (front or rear, or both) and see how the car responds. You should be able to feel if there is a "dead spot". This would be low to no resistance when pushing down and your bumper would bounce quite a few times. This would indicate shocks that need replacing.

Video Transcription

"Today on Muddy Beards, we’re talking shocks. We're going to go over how they work... just very simply how they work and how to inspect them to see if you should be replacing them.


Okay, so today I just have some Pro Comp ES 9,000 nitrogen gas-filled shocks. They're the cheapest shocks you can - get they're just basic.


So basically how these work is they're filled with oil and there are pistons in here - little holes in them so the oil can bypass through them. And it's gonna have different pistons, different hole sizes depending on the application. And there's gonna be a seal right here which is where they typically leak. Like in this one you can see where it's been leaking oil and all the dirt then sticks into it so once that oil starts leaking out of it you're gonna start getting dead spots in it and it's gonna not be working efficiently. And you can see this in this one... basically it just fell down like three inches right there. Just a total dead spot so it's been leaking for quite a while.


And so another thing about these shocks is the nitrogen. One of the things that it does is it keeps the oil from foaming up when the shock is working up and down. Oil is gonna want to foam up and get frothy and it's gonna overheat and it's gonna not gonna work the way it's supposed to. So one of the purposes of the nitrogen is to keep the oil from foaming up.


So that's one way to inspect your shock, you’re gonna look for oil leaks. Very simple - so on this one it's just a dead spot and I can just push it down very easily and it just stays exactly where I left it. That is not doing anything basically. So this is a brand new one which I'm gonna be replacing. So the reason I know about this is because I'm relocating the shocks to the outside of my frame and I'm taking my shocks off. 


So this (new) one you can see is much more difficult to push down and it's gonna push right back up. You can see there's no oil coming out of it - it's brand new.


So the quickest and easiest way I've found to check your shock is to just push on your bumper. Push it up and down you'll be able to feel the resistance. If there's basically like no resistance, you'll see it's all squishy. You probably want to replace it - but you just push down on the bumper a couple times... see mine goes down and comes back up and just stops the shock. It is not doing what it's supposed to be doing. It'll basically go up and down and just kind of flow like you're on a cloud and you'll be able to feel it when you're driving it too. So that's the easiest way I've found to check also besides just visually inspecting to see if it has oil on it.


Okay so we're on the passenger side now. You can see all the oil building up on my shock here and when the oil leaks out you know the dirt is just gonna stick to it. So to be able to visually see an oil leak especially on off-road vehicle with all the dirt and stuff you're gonna go through you're gonna see the oil right there.


So let's go ahead and go and check the other side. I've already relocated my shock to the outside of the frame. Currently working on that video still right now. You can see the coil amount that I've relocated back about two inches and then the shock that we located on the outside of the frame.


OK guys thanks for watching. If you like what we're doing here on Muddy Beards go ahead and subscribe to our channel. We're working on a lot of content right now just trying to make a lot of videos and might take a little while to get out there. But make sure you check out Robby's Cherokee videos that he's making and we're gonna be doing a lot of four-wheeling this summer and making videos of all of it, so stick around Thanks for watching!"

About The Creator

Muddy Beards 4x4 Logo

Video content generously provided by Muddy Beards 4x4 and was re-published with permission. Check out his other helpful tips and tricks on his YouTube channel and other social media sites!


Due to factors beyond the control of Motivx Tools, we cannot guarantee against improper use or unauthorized modifications of this information. We assume no liability for property damage or injury incurred as a result of any of the information contained in this video or blog post. Use this information at your own risk. We recommend safe practices when working on vehicles and or with tools seen or implied in this video. Due to factors beyond our control , no information contained in this video shall create any expressed or implied warranty or guarantee of any particular result. Any injury, damage, or loss that may result from improper use of these tools, equipment, or from the information contained in this video or blog post is the sole responsibility of the user and not Motivx Tools.

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