Recently on my car I had an advisory put on: Nearside Front Shock absorber has a light misting of oil (2.7.3)

Halford have said this is fine and nothing to worry about. So what does this exactly mean and where is the oil coming from?

  • MOT advisories vary in importance from "ooh, I really should get that looked at" to "you bothered to type that in, really?" This is somewhere in between, it's not going to be a hazard anytime soon but it isn't going to get any better either. – GdD Oct 10 '18 at 11:52

The shock absorber is a device which dampens the effect of hitting bumps and ruts in the road. Without it, you'd find the ride very bouncy as you'd be relying only on the suspension springs.

In order to provide this dampening effect, a rod sits within a tube which can move in and out. One end is attached to the wheel assembly and the other, the body of the car. This tube is filled with oil (some performance shock absorbers may be filled with a gas insert). At the top of the tube is a seal to keep the oil within the tube. As the shock absorber gets older and more worn, this seal will become less effective and you may see a very small amount of oil drawn out by the action of the rod moving up and down.

The light misting of oil that has been observed by your MOT tester is just evidence that a very small amount of oil may have escaped from the shock absorber. Clearly the unit is still providing effective damping so he is right to say that it isn't anything to worry about.

When the time comes to replace your damper (which may be several years into the future), I'd strongly suggest replacing it as a pair. So replace both front shock absorbers so that you have an even damping effect across the axle.

  • +1 Spot on! Depending upon the age of the Polo and what sort of condition the rest of the car is in it may or may not be economically viable to replace the shocks when the time comes but that's a bridge to cross when it fails – motosubatsu Oct 10 '18 at 12:29

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