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We're often asked what exactly a Nivomat shock absorber is, and what the difference is compared to a regular shock absorber? Here are the answers to some of your frequently asked questions. 


Nivomat Self-Leveling Shocks

Nivomats are self-leveling monotube shock absorbers designed by Sachs, which utilize the 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 Nivomat self-leveling shocks 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 two inches or so and the vehicle’s ride quality will suffer.

Frequently Asked Nivomat Shock Questions:

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. This is typically the best indication that your Volvo is equipped with Nivomat shocks. 

What should I replace with Nivomat Shocks?

When replacing Nivomat self-leveling shock absorbers, it's recommended to replace the coil springs at the same time. Due to the design of the shock, the springs may be of a lower spring rate thus wearing out faster than typical. While you're in there, we recommend replacing the shock mounts as well. 

Can I replace Nivomat shock absorbers with traditional shocks?

You can replace Nivomat self-leveling shocks with traditional shock absorbers without issue. To go one step further, you can replace them with a coilover kit if you're looking for the ultimate in handling performance. You can find traditional shocks for your car by adding your vehicle's make, model, and options to the My Garage on FCP Euro

Are Nivomat shocks only found on Volvos?

No. Nivomat shocks can be found on cars from nearly all makes and models, including Chrysler, Ford, GM, Jaguar, Kia, Mitsubishi, Saab, Mercedes, and other manufacturers. 

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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 jasonv1@fcpeuro.com

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