What are autobuffers and should they be installed?
Autobuffers are special shock-absorbing cushions, which are installed between coils of a spring. The appearance of autobuffers in Russia was received ambiguously, as in most cases, after the appearance of the next know-how from the West.
What are autobuffers for?
Auto buffers are made from transparent urethane, which is a very strong and elastic material (this material, urethane, is used by one of the leading brands in the production of sports shoes), that can withstand serious loads and absorb strong impacts and vibrations coming from the wheels. Besides urethane, auto buffers are also made of chloroprene rubber, which is a bit more expensive. The characteristic differences and advantages of the intercushions are their incredible ability to restore their original shape after a short or long deformation. Autobuffers are not afraid of temperature changes and keep their characteristics in the range from -60 to +120°C.
Advantages of the products according to their manufacturers:
Autobuffers allow improving car running characteristics; They increase lifetime of shock absorbers (after autobaluffer installation the stroke of a rack rod decreases and its lifetime increases); Steering wheel becomes more “sharp” and the car more “obedient”; It becomes possible to pass turns on high speeds without prejudice to safety; Body roll at sharp maneuvers decreases; During passing “policemen” and other roughness strikes disappear and the comfort increases. So manufacturers say, but how do things really stand?
Real advantages of autobuffers:
If the suspension needs repair or increased attention, it is certain that stiffening by installing spacers will improve the comfort and delay the need for urgent repair.
Passing bumps, railway crossings and “lying policemen” is really more pleasant with these things, it is tested! Decrease of vibration is observed, bumps disappear and in general car “nods” less.
From the point of view of safety, auto-buffers allow improving rigidity of “tired” suspension, I accent on the word “tired”. Therefore, rolls are surely reduced, and together with it safety of driving and passing turns is increased. As to faultless struts and running gear, installation of auto buffers is simply senseless and most likely will not affect safety or steerability in any way. Moreover, it seems to me, that with such spacers, serviceable struts will work only worse, and the car will become so rigid, that you will start to feel any, even the slightest bump on the road.
In case of a strong impact such spacers can save shock struts from “death”, acting as bumpers they will not allow critical movement of a rod up/down. Shock absorbers last longer because of the reduced rod travel. This point is rather difficult to prove or disprove, so it is a probability or possibility rather than a proven fact.
Comfort. This item could be not put separately, in principle, as well as all above mentioned, as they are somehow connected with each other, but improvement for passengers and driver after installation of auto-buffers is really observed. Because of the reduced sway, the body, all sitting in the cabin do not have to strain in order to stabilize the body position (it happens at a subconscious level, many do not even notice it, but the drivers will understand me). I personally quite often catch myself that I am driving with my feet planted on the floor, and my “fifth point” is in the air, it happens most often when passing over bumps and in case of sharp maneuvers. It is as if you are trying to resist and try to hold your body by any means, your muscles automatically tense, and already after a few hours of such riding you feel serious fatigue. Driving on a flat track, for example, does not cause such reflexes and partly because of the relaxed driver thousands of accidents happen every year, and the reason is banal – he fell asleep. When we are inactive, sleepiness comes very quickly, and the warmth in the cabin and pleasant music contribute to this even more. Forgive me, I have digressed from a theme a little… But, I think you have understood the basic idea… In brief, the body swings less, as a result, you tense up less, and consequently – get tired less.
The first unconditional disadvantage – high price. Really, these rubbers cost very expensively, though if to take into account their advantage which is so assiduously repeat by supporters and manufacturers of intercushions, it is worth spending money.
Stiffness of suspension, load on running gear. This point can be considered as both “plus” and “minus” at the same time, as they say – to each his own, for some soft is good, for others – on the contrary.
It is not always possible to install auto buffers on the springs, in some cases you have to “fit” them to a particular car (trimming, mounting, etc.).
Not well-thought-out mounting. From time to time car owners lose “miracle products”. Taking it into account, auto-buffers began to be fastened by means of kapron clamps, which, as you understand, with time are rubbed out or simply tear. It is impossible to fasten with metal clamps too, as they can wipe spacers themselves. Therefore from time to time it is necessary to check condition and availability of these very auto-buffers, which, as you understand, takes time and sometimes money.
A few words about how to choose auto-buffers?
Before you buy autobaluges, it is necessary to make some measurements. Namely, it is necessary to measure the diameter of coils and the distance between coils. It is recommended to measure the distance, having loaded the back part of the car (the front one is loaded with the motor). It is better to buy from dealers, who will give you the receipt for the product and warranty, and quite often the warranty gives not only for autobuffers, but also for shock absorbers (“enticement,” but pleasant). Moreover, in case if spacers do not fit you, you can easily return them. Do not be fooled by fakes, which give themselves away with a low price, a pungent unpleasant odor and an unpresentable appearance. Fakes are often found in the bazaar. Be vigilant and remember: “A miser pays twice!”
How to install auto buffers?
Installing these rubbers is a piece of cake for those who have an idea of what a repair with their own hands is like. The whole complexity of the installation is only to unhook the wheels and take the load off the springs. To do this, you can use a hoist or a jack. The intertwist spacers themselves are placed manually without much difficulty, before installing the springs, it is advisable to clean off dirt and lubricate the auto buffers with a soapy solution, this will simplify installation and progression through the coils. The only thing is that it may be necessary to adjust (trim) rubbers, in case they will occupy more than one coil. After installation, the auto-buffers are fastened with plastic clamps. That’s all in principle, you can put them down and start testing.
Personal opinion, summing up
It seems to me, judging by the numerous comments and reviews of “miracle-rubber” owners, these spacers in most cases are a common budget option to solve the problems with small clearance, as well as a pretty good way to “cheer up” tired springs. As to other “miracle-properties”, which, in my opinion, are slightly exaggerated, they are a result of trivial stiffening of springs and clearance increase. Due to these two components, those who yearn for better rigidity receive stiffness, and fans of parking near a curb – an opportunity to get the closest to a curb, without fear to catch a curb with a bumper.
What are autobuffs and is it worth to install them?
This new concept became known to the general automotive public in 2014, after a demonstration by inventors from South Korea.
This new concept became known to the general automotive public in 2014, after a demonstration by inventors from South Korea. Autobuffer is an additional shock-absorbing spacer made of polyurethane, which improves the driving characteristics of the car and protects the suspension elements on bad roads.
What is an autobuffer? It is a solid plastic detail, it is made of transparent or colored (red, black) polyurethane or chloroprene rubber, very elastic to the touch. The materials are able to restore their shape without loss of size under severe deformation for a long time – up to 7 years.
By design, the buffer is a ring cut in one place of the circumference. Its width roughly corresponds to the coil spacing of the suspension spring, inside which the shock absorber is located. In both ends of the buffer there are longitudinal recesses, in which the coils of the spring are inserted.
The installation of the auto-buffer is easy to make yourself, following a number of operations:
- To fix the car with the parking brake.
- To take out with a jack one wheel.
- Clean the part of a spring, on which a buffer is installed, from dirt.
- Apply a soapy solution to the ends of the bumper to simplify installation into the spring.
- Insert the baffle ring between the coils (if it is longer than one coil of the spring – cut the excess with a knife).
- Install plastic fasteners through the holes bafer around the body of the spring.
- Remove the vehicle from the jack.
- Install the buffers on the other wheels in the same way.
For the selection of autobuffers to specific car models by size it is recommended to contact the specialists of those stores and centers, which are representatives of the manufacturers of these parts.
How does the auto buffer act when the car is moving?
The two coils of the spring, between which the buffer is installed, must overcome the resistance of the polyurethane cushion when the wheel moves up. It will additionally cushion the compression process. As a result, the car will react softer to shocks and wheel sagging, less noshing during braking and squatting during acceleration.
Auto buffers manufacturers claim the following advantages of their products:
- they absorb the main shocks of the road, prevent breakdowns of shock absorbers, reduce their wear and tear;
- High wear resistance, absence of cracking and loss of elasticity allows the set guaranteed to serve not less than 5 years in the temperature range from -60 to +120 ºС and in aggressive environment of road reagents;
- they increase ground clearance of the car by 15-25 mm;
- their use on all the wheels reduces the overall level of vibration, reaction to the passage of “speed bumps”, body bends in sharp turns, its swaying during acceleration and braking;
- they improve vehicle controllability and driving comfort;
- they can be installed on all makes of cars, imported and domestic.
Advantages and disadvantages
The advantages of buffers, noted by Russian motorists, are as follows:
- A car with clearly worn, sagging springs will definitely come in handy with buffers. They really reduce vibrations and body roll on bad roads, acceleration, braking and turns. The drivers note the increase of comfort when passing the streetcar and railway tracks, “lying policemen”, as well as the “obedience” increase of the steering wheel.
- In case of emergency collisions these spacers soften the impacts of rods and protect shock absorber struts from destruction.
- On cars with sagging springs the buffers obviously increase clearance by 1,5-2,5 cm.
In general, the driving safety increases with the presence of auto-buffers. Also the driving comfort increases, and fatigue decreases during long trips.
Drivers’ reviews are replete with numerous disadvantages of this invention:
- High price. It varies by region, but often comes to 9 thousand rubles per set. Not everyone can understand why four “rubber bands” cost so much.
- The installation process is not always simple. Sometimes it requires a significant size adjustment, takes time and the installation of fasteners, without which the risk of losing these rings increases.
- The lack of a regular mount forces you to invent your own techniques. Homemade plastic mounts tear quickly, and metal mounts ruin the bumper itself.
- The part of the spring, getting under the buffer’s protection, practically does not take part in the shock absorption process. The load on the rest of the spring increases, which increases the risk of its breakage.
Some owners also consider as a minus the unproven reliability of the benefits, given by the implementers of the novelties:
- For example, the breakdown of the shock absorber prevents the regular rubber damper. It turns out that the buffer duplicates its work. It is unknown which part will be decisive in emergency situation.
- Increase of clearance at worn out springs is a reality. But there is an evidence, that in a short time it becomes the same. Obviously, not only metal has fatigue.
- The improvement of drivability is in question. At low speeds the driver will not notice any changes. At higher speeds, the anti-roll stabilizer prevents the roll. The driver will notice the improved behavior of the car during braking and acceleration, but the reduction of the braking distance by the buffers, as it is presented by the advertising, is rather a fantasy.
- The statement about the reduction of vibration is also questioned, since the buffers increase the spring stiffness, which should increase the reaction of the body when hitting a bump. It is not clear, how they increase smoothness of driving on a bad road.
Is it necessary for buffers?
Whether it is worth installing auto buffers or not, each car owner should decide for himself. Many experts believe that these spacers are really able to change for the better some moments of the reaction of the body on the roadway, acceleration, braking, as well as increase ground clearance.
But the positive changes are short-lived. Buffers lose their properties with time and stop supporting the chassis system. The most important role in the decision to install auto-buffers is often the confidence in their properties stated in the advertisement.