VW Golf manuals

Volkswagen Golf Service & Repair Manual: Checking shock absorbers when removed

Defective shock absorbers can be identified by loud rumbling noises when driving, caused by wheel hopping, especially on bad roads. Heavy fluid leakage is an additional visual indication.
  Note
Shock absorbers are maintenance-free; shock absorber fluid cannot be topped up.
After removal, a shock absorber can be checked by hand as follows:
–  Compress shock absorber by hand.
The piston rod should move smoothly over the entire stroke with uniform resistance and without jolts.
–  Release piston rod.
If the shock absorber has sufficient gas pressure the piston rod will return by itself to its original position.
  Note
If this is not the case, the shock absorber does not necessarily need to be renewed. Provided there has been no major loss of fluid, it will still be as effective as a conventional shock absorber.
Even without gas pressure, the shock absorber will provide full damping effect as long as there has been no major loss of fluid. However, it may produce more noise.
   
Noises from shock absorbers
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