It is easy to tell when a shock absorber is bad by testing the brakes and determining what kind of sound the brakes make when stopping. Bad shock absorbers make it difficult for a car to come to a rapid halt and even more complicated to provide fast cornering. Bad shock absorbers are loud and often produce sliding on wet streets and in icy conditions.
Determining if shock absorbers are bad requires testing the brakes on a car. This is best to do at low speeds, as trying to stop rapidly with questionable shock absorbers on a highway or in heavy traffic causes extreme danger to the driver and everyone around the vehicle.
It is easy to test shock absorbers without breaching 20 miles per hour. One method is to drive over speed bumps and see how long it takes the car to settle. Squeaking sounds and ongoing vibrations indicate bad shock absorbers. It is also helpful to try and see when the vehicle shudders. This condition is not acceptable in a car at any time, but experiencing this factor while driving at 60 miles per hour or faster indicates a problem with shock absorbers. This is only advisable in controlled areas where other traffic is not present.