If you have Nivomat shocks in your car, you know that they can do a great job–while they work. The problem is that too often, they don’t last. Like other active suspensions, Nivomats use a network of moving parts to get the job done. Those parts are destined to wear out and fail eventually.
If you’re experiencing any of the tell-tale signs of a failed Nivomat suspension such as a sagging rear end of your vehicle, excessive noise, or an entirely-too-bouncy ride, it’s time to get that fixed. A bad Nivomat suspension can do all kinds of damage to your entire vehicle if you keep driving on it.
What Are Nivomat Shocks, Exactly?
The Nivomat shock absorber is a monotube, self-leveling mechanical shock absorber. It was first developed by the German engineering company ZF Sachs. These shocks utilize your vehicle’s mechanical energy to keep it stable and level.
Many manufacturers have chosen to use Nivomat shocks these days. Industry giants like Volvo, Kia, Jaguar, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler include them in some of their models. Some of these companies offer them only in premium-tier models or configurations.
How Do Nivomat Shocks Work?
Air suspensions auto-level your vehicle with complex systems that include a suspension control module, electronic ride height sensors, inflatable air springs, an air compressor and many other components. Nivomat shocks get the job done without any of that. But that doesn’t mean they’re not complex systems in their own right.
Nivomat shocks are typically installed in the rear of the vehicle. They don’t require any electronic intervention. Instead, they use an internal fluid and valve system to get the job done. Here’s how.
When you load up your vehicle with people or cargo, this puts pressure on the shock. That pressure pushes fluid out of an internal reservoir and into the valving system. This increases the spring rate accordingly to keep the car from “squatting.” Squatting is when the back of the vehicle sags down, giving the car the appearance of crouching down.
These shocks have an accumulator that allows it to lift or level out the vehicle. Inside the shocks, a pump mechanism gradually increases pressure on the accumulator. This same mechanism also increases the shocks’ damping force to help keep the ride smooth.
Your car needs to be moving to generate enough energy to get the pump to start working. You typically need to drive about a mile before your car gets to its ideal leveling point. That’s why your car might look or feel like it’s sagging when you start it up.
Sound complicated? That’s because it is. And that’s where the problems begin.
How can I repair my Nivomat shocks if I’m having suspension issues?
Your first instinct was probably to take your vehicle to the dealership. If you already tried to fix or replace your Nivomat suspension that way, you may have been bowled over by the repair estimate. As it turns out, all that technology comes with a pretty high price tag.
But let’s say you do fork out that money for the OEM replacement. Aren’t you just putting the same system that just failed you back into your vehicle? Remember: the moving parts in these systems are guaranteed to wear out eventually. If you go that route, it may not be long before you’re back in the same situation.
Can I replace my Nivomats with standard shock absorbers?
Yes you can! If your car came with a Nivomat suspension, installing a different kind of suspension is not only possible, it’s very simple. That is, if you choose shocks and struts from the right manufacturer.
If you try to replace your car’s Nivomat shocks with ill-fitting or poorly-made traditional ones, you will likely notice two issues. First, your ride quality will suffer. You may notice more bumps in the road and your car may even feel a little “floaty.” But you might also notice that your vehicle’s rear end may consistently sag around two inches, whether or not it’s loaded up.
However, if you buy your replacement shocks from a high-quality manufacturer, they’ll be properly designed and rated for your vehicle. Once installed, you’ll get back to the kind of ride you were used to before your Nivomat shocks started having issues.
What Are The Benefits of Switching to Standard Shocks?
Nivomat shocks have a lot to offer drivers. But so do standard shocks. In fact, you might even prefer them. Here are some of the things standard suspensions can offer you.
- Durability. The Nivomat system works great while it lasts, but they do have a limited lifetime. Standard shocks, if made properly, can be much more sturdy and reliable. That’s especially true if you go with an experienced high-quality manufacturer.
- Simplicity. Nivomat shocks aren’t quite as complicated as an active air suspension, but they’re still pretty complex. With its system of valves and fluids, there is still a lot that can go wrong. Standard shocks use simple mechanical resistance to do the same job, but with no risk of leaks or blown valves.
- Ease of installation. With such a simple setup, the installation of replacement shocks is relatively easy. Nivomats need to be carefully installed and often must be calibrated during installation. But standard shocks just require a few mounting points. That means if you’re handy with a wrench, you can probably DIY the installation. And if you choose to get a mechanic to do it, they won’t need to spend so many expensive hours under the hood.
- Cost. They might not carry the same price tag as an air suspension system, but Nivomat shocks can still be expensive. As an alternative, you can get standard shocks for around half the price or even less. By switching to standard shocks, you’ll also save money on installation, whether you DIY them or get them installed by a mechanic.
Where can I buy a high-quality kit to replace my Nivomat shocks?
Here at Strutmasters, we’ve been helping people outfit their cars with high-quality, affordable suspension replacement kits for over 20 years. It’s what we do. We’ve spent years developing and testing our kits to make sure they’re as good or better than anything on the market. After all that time and attention, we’re happy to finally make them available.
Our kits include top-shelf shocks and our signature stainless steel springs, designed and tuned to be a perfect match for your vehicle. These kits offer the same Glide Ride technology that has separated us from our competitors for the last two decades. And best yet, we’re offering the same Limited Lifetime Warranty we include with our standard conversion kits. That means that as long as your vehicle is on the road, we guarantee our suspension components will work for you.