Speed bumps and shock absorbers (a guy thing)

Here’s a question that Tom and Ray might have loved. Maybe it’s a guy thing.

A lot of the speed bumps in our town are segmented … they don’t go all the way across the road, but leave a gap so that one side of the car (usually the passenger side) hits the bumps while the other doesn’t. While riding in a car with a friend of mine, I noticed that he would always aim it so that the driver’s side would go through the gap. He claimed that this extended the life of the shock absorbers, because half the car wouldn’t “feel the bump.”

I got to thinking that this might be BOGUS, because it would transfer all the shock of the car to the shock absorbers on the passenger side, causing them to wear out faster. And since you always replace shocks in pairs, you end up changing the shocks more frequently rather than less frequently.

Who’s right?

He’s aiming at the gap so HE won’t feel the bump as much but YOU will. He’s just trying to justify his comfort and your DIScomfort.

The “saving the shocks” thing is pretty much BO-GUS says a former shock absorber and suspension design engineer.

BTW, I do it too… because I don’t want to feel the bump.


Best would be to alternate sides through the “gap.”


I don’t see it hurting the passenger side shock any more than when driving over the bump on both sides. And it might reduce wear and tear somewhat on the driver’s side shock and suspension. But like you say, if the passengerside develops a shock or suspension problem, whatever part that gets replaced is usually replaced on the driver’s side in any event at the same time. So practically speaking, I’m thinking the idea is mostly bogus.

Going slower over the bump is where to focus if reducing wear and tear on the car is the objective.

Ahh, the joys of riding a motorcycle!!


hitting speed bump with one wheel definitely gets less momentum transferred to the body, so I can imagine why one would try hitting it with one wheel only (doing it myself when it does not look awkward), but it is unlikely something about making for less wear, it is more of comfort issue :slight_smile:

I have been wondering about this too. When you hit it with one side only, the body twists more and might not be the best.

Now you have something new to worry about.

consider a roll bar effect: when you hit it with one wheel, it works to reduce body movement as another side did not get similar movement, but if you hit it with both wheels, roll bar can not compensate it and you have full force of bump transferred to the body

The “save the sway bar society” will hear about this. Malfoy.

If you rollover the speed hump at or below the speed limit, It will not damage the suspension, but it seems like significantly higher speeds could damage the suspension. I slow down to 15 to 20 in a 25 zone when I roll over speed humps and still have the original shocks at 184,000 miles.

I went over one slowly at a strip mall in a neighboring town that I was unfamiliar with. It was such a severe bump the car bounced and the trailer hitch scraped on the speed bump. I really hate those thing and try to avoid them entirely. I think these were designed by people that hate cars.

And people with pricey cars seem to really hate the speed bumps. A gym-friend who I had known for years and years one summer decided to take a holiday to Germany, and while there she bought a new BMW right from the factory, drove it around Germany for a week, then shipped it back to California. She was so concerned about the gym parking lot speed bump’s affect on her new car’s suspensions system she had to find a new gym, haven’t seen her since …lol

It seems to be very difficult if not impossible to register a grey market vehicle in California.

I imagine that she could have bought a US spec car in Europe and then shipped it back. Only the SAVs are built in Spartanburg.

I recommend stopping at the museum next to the plant:

What is a " SAV " ?

Taking my own advice I did the Google thing. SAV = Sport Activity Vehicle ( Not meant for use as a off road or towing vehicle ) Sounds like BMW marketing speak.

Your right. I was parroting BMWs differentiation of their SUVs by calling them SAVs. Since we are talking about BMWs,it seems legitimate to call them by BMWs name.

I expect she used the BMW-USA sponsored European Delivery Program.