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Shock absorbers are more complex than you might think. Thus, this post by Marland Enterprises is focused on its mechanisms, and how you can use damping to your advantage.

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A Core Piece of the Quad

Shock absorbers are necessary in any kind of vehicle but, they're indispensable when it comes to off-roaders. An old, bursting shock absorber with little hydraulic will have a stressing effect in the vehicle while making it unsafe to ride. This is a matter of security; an effective adjustment will make it suitable for running quietly and comfortably, without scares or unnecessary efforts to get all the traction and grip capacity that your quad is capable of delivering.

How Does it Work?

The shock absorber exists to make your driving more comfortable. But, if you want to know technicalities, this system keeps the wheels in contact with the ground when the vehicle tilts, or while it goes through potholes. Whereas the spring keeps them in their initial position until the system has to be compressed, and at that time the shock absorber rod, which acts as a guide, makes the wheel rise and then return to its original position.

Pay Attention to Adjustments and Don't Overload it

For UTVs, most include a trunk for your cargo needs and you can load whatever you want, either for work or for traveling. Whereas an ATV is more limited in cargo space and the most you can load will be two cases in the frontal and rear supports. A sports quad with a pilot who weighs, for example, 155 pounds on top is not the same as a UTV loaded to the max with two huge Canadian lumberjacks on top. Performance does depend on the type of vehicle, the weight, the driving you want to do, and the terrain on which you roll. Logically, the fewer settings it has, the less work it'll take to regulate them; but also fewer possibilities to improve behavior and customized it according to your driving needs.

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Basic Concepts to Know about the Damping and Suspension of Your Quad or UTV

Compression, extension, and preload are typical settings though you might not always find them in all vehicles. In competition scenarios, you'll see more sophisticated suspensions with more setting selections. But these three are the most basic ones and you should get familiar with the most common.


It's generally regulated with a thread, usually with a very fine pitch, at the top of the shock absorber. In this thread, a castellated nut holds the shock absorber spring from above, and the tighter that nut goes, the less travel of the spring; keep in mind that this distance is given by the stem and isn't adjustable in most cases.


This concept tends to be mistaken for the preload, since the effect might seem the same: whether you preload the springs or "tighten" the compression, the suspensions will feel harder. But it's not exactly the same and the suspension responses are different. The preload, in general, rather affects the beginning of the suspension's travel, while the compression affects the entire travel. Some modern suspensions carry this setting "in two ways" or "speeds": compression at high and low speed. It has nothing to do with how much or little you or your vehicle runs or at what speed you drive, but rather refers to the movement of the stem. In short, you regulate the compression at high speed to give more or less resistance to quick movements of the stem, and low to soften or harden slow movements.


If compression works by "preventing" the suspension from compressing, the extension adjustment does so by countering the wheel from regaining its position. What you really regulate in the extension setting is the speed at which the suspension recovers its full length.

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Pushing your vehicle to the limit will increase engine damage, Formula 4-Stroke Power Sports Synthetic Motor Oil by AMSOIL is designed to resist heat and thermal breakdown, provide supreme lubrication in hard-working engines, and enhance motor operation due to its anti-foam technology. For more details about the best synthetic oil change in Cazenovia, go to Marland Enterprises, or visit AMSOIL's website to get acquainted with synthetic oil products.

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