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What exactly is a Nivomat shock absorber and what the difference is compared to a regular shock absorber?


Nivomats are self leveling monotube shock absorbers, which utilize movement of the vehicle between the chassis and the body to create mechanical energy. They are typically mounted in the rear of the vehicle and are self-contained meaning they have no air compressors or air lines.

The way they work is as the load increases (such as with cargo and passengers) the pressure increases in the shock displacing fluid from its internal reservoir to its valving system increasing the spring rate essentially preventing the vehicle from “squatting". It has a pump mechanism and oil reservoir that increases the pressure to its accumulator therefore lifting or leveling the vehicle. It also increases the damping force without sacrificing the ride quality.

The rear of a car with Nivomats may sag while parked because the Nivomat is mechanical and the vehicle needs to be moving in order for the pump to build pressure thus leveling the vehicle. It may take between 1-2 miles for the shock to reach its full effect. It’s normal for the vehicle to lower when not in motion.

Even though the conventional shocks may fit, It is not recommended that you replace your Nivomats with traditional shock absorbers. If the vehicle was originally equipped with Nivomats then it is recommended that they are to be replaced with Nivomats only. If conventional shocks are installed the vehicle may permanently sag about 2 inches or so and the vehicle’s ride quality will suffer.

How can I tell if I have Nivomats on my Volvo?

Nivomats have a long accordion style boot ranging from the middle of the shock to the bottom of the shock.

What should I replace with Nivomats?

When replacing Nivomats it's recommended to replace the coil springs when changing out Nivomats. Due to the design of the shock , the springs may be of a lower spring rate thus wearing out a bit faster. To get the best benefit and performance out of the Nivomat, replace the springs. Also, always inspect the upper mounts too!


Written by :
Jay VanGorden

Jason has been with the company since 2011. He's been in the automotive industry for over 15 years and brings a great amount of automotive experience to FCP. He graduated from Universal Technical Institute of Exton PA. in 2005 and then went on to graduate from the Volvo S.A.F.E program in 2006. From there he worked at a Volvo dealership achieving his ranking as a Certified Volvo Technician in just 2 years, and a Master Volvo Technician in only 4 years. Jay VanGorden (Dr. Jay) is a Master Volvo Technician and Volvo Catalog Manager at FCP Euro. He can be reached at

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