Volkswagen Shocks Explained: What Shocks Are and How They Work

Did you know that roads are actually much bumpier than you think? Your ride feels pretty smooth because you have a set of shocks on your car.

Some cars have shocks at all 4 wheels, and other cars have shocks only at the rear wheels (and struts at the front wheels). What are shocks, though?

Shocks are elongated hydraulic parts that are installed behind your car’s wheels. One end of a shock – the upper mount – is attached to the frame or body, and the lower mount is attached to the axle or suspension arm. Basically, shocks are one of the links between the car and the wheels.

Why Does My Volkswagen Have Shocks?

The short answer is that shocks improve the handling on your car. They absorb most of the bumps and vibrations on the road in order to:

  • Maintain the ride quality of your car
  • Keep the tires firmly planted on the road

Your car has springs to support the weight of the car. Without shocks, the springs will keep rebounding every time your car drives over a bump. The springs will bounce and push the energy up against the frame. This results in a very bouncy ride for you. Shocks absorb most of that energy, thus keeping your ride smooth.

Do Shocks Go Bad?

Like most car parts, shocks don’t last forever. They typically last about 50,000 miles, but the lifespan of your shocks depends on:

  • The quality of your shocks (OEM shocks usually hold up much longer than aftermarket shocks do)
  • Your driving style
  • The quality of the roads you use on a regular basis (the bumpier the road, the earlier your shocks will wear out)

Rather than wait until your Volkswagen hits the 50K mark to check your shocks, keep an eye out for the symptoms of a worn shock. That way, you can address the issue as soon as you notice a reduction in the ride quality of your car. Here are some of the more common symptoms to look out for:

  • Unsteadiness on the road (needing to correct your car even in mild winds)
  • Car swaying or leaning while turning or changing lanes
  • Excessive bouncing and/or rattling on the road
  • Unstable braking performance
  • Uneven wear on the tires
  • Nose diving when the brakes are applied
  • Excessive vibration in the steering wheel

Do My Shocks Need to be Replaced?

Got a hunch that one of your shocks may have gone bad? You can diagnose the issue by doing a bounce test! This guide walks you through the step by step process of doing the bounce test.

If you find that one of your shocks is too worn to function effectively, you can replace it without having to bring your car to a VW dealership. Basically, the process involves removing your wheel first. Then unbolt the old shock from the car at the top and bottom, and bolt in the new shock. It’s a simple and straightforward process. If you need assistance, you can find a model-specific tutorial online.

You will save a bunch of money on labor if you take care of the shock replacement yourself. And, you’ll also save money on the replacement shocks themselves. Dealerships tend to charge a 30% markup on all of their parts. At, you can find the exact same genuine OEM parts (including shocks) at much lower prices. In fact, we’re always happy to price match for our customers!

Take a look at our catalog of OEM VW shocks and see if we carry a set for your car!