Thiesse, too, recommends changing the oil and freshening the shocks every 20 to 25 races, for a normal season, depending on the conditions and environment to which the shocks are exposed. "If you run on tracks where higher shaft speeds and temperatures are generated, we recommend you change the oil and check the shock more frequently," says Thiesse.

Keyser tells us that it is a good practice to remove all the shocks from the car and visually inspect them to ensure that no damage occurred either from track conditions or a wreck.

He further states: "The shock bearings should be cleaned, checked for binds, and then sprayed with penetrating fluid to keep them free from binding. Shock shafts should be spun to check for bends and visually inspected for imperfections or 'pits' that may cause seal damage or oil leaks."

Bush says, "Shocks should be inspected visually on an event basis for obvious problems such as leaks, dents, binds, and so on. Gas shocks should be monitored for pressure prior to race day if possible. All shocks should be thoroughly checked after crashes, after running on extremely rough racetracks, or if the race car went airborne at any wheel."

"We like to advise our competitors that use our single or double-adjustable shocks to freshen them up every 500-600 laps," says Sandt. "Non-adjustable shocks need rebuilding at the end of every season. You should check or dyno the shocks after every race."

6. What is the best way for the user to check their shocks?

"The best way is to have the shocks checked on a quality dyno by a competent technician. Users can make basic checks for bent shafts by completely extending a shock then compressing it while twisting the shaft back and forth all the time checking for tight spots," Bush says.

Sandt tells us: "The best way to check our shocks without a dyno is to stroke them by fully extending the shaft, putting it on the floor, and giving it a good push down. If you feel a spot with no resistance, the shock has air in it and should be sent back to us for maintenance." Henquinet gave us a very similar answer.

Both Thiesse and Keyser gave almost the identical answer-the best way for the racer to check his or her shocks is by using a shock dyno. Both agreed that most racers don't have that luxury, although there are several affordable dynos on the market today that are designed for the local racer. If no dyno is available, then "hand stroke" to check for any dead spots. But be warned that hand stroking cannot tell you if a shock's valving has gone bad because a person cannot bring the shock up to enough speed to check for valving tolerances.

7. Can shocks be mismatched to a particular type of racing?

"Yes, I cringe when I see a weight-conscious Street Stock racer put a small body shock on the front of his 3,200-pound car. It takes a fair amount of dampening to control a big car like that," Thiesse says.

Sandt thinks that some valvings work on some race cars, but not on others. An example of that theory is an asphalt car with a conventional setup versus a car with a Big Bar and Soft Spring setup.

Bush says, "Yes, it is very important to use not only shocks with proper valving, but also the correct type of shocks for the track conditions and type of race car."

Integra's Keyser insists that they "do not recommend the mismatching of twin-tube and monotube shocks on different corners of the car."

8. In both dirt and asphalt racing, the shock can experience extreme limits of travel and force. Which corner for each type of racing gets the most abuse, and why?

"The left rear on a Sprint Car is very important, while on an asphalt Late Model it's the left front. Like the Sprint Car, the left rear on a dirt Late Model and an IMCA-type Modified is the key to a good setup" says Sandt.

"It really all depends on the type of racetrack," says Henquinet. "However, in asphalt racing the right front usually is the most abused, while in dirt racing it is the right rear. These shocks generate the most heat, but the real abuse comes when the car hits something."