Inspecting Nivomat Shocks

Inspecting Nivomat Shocks

0-07-062-1_nivomat_zf_lgNivomat shocks can be found on a variety of vehicles. They are self-leveling shocks that use an internal pump on the piston to control the level of the vehicle. There are no external lines or connections.

Five Signs a Nivomat is Bad

Sagging: If you load the trunk of a vehicle with Nivomats, the rear end will go down. After driving the rear end should return to the correct ride height. If the suspension does not return to the correct ride height, the Nivomat units likely need to be replaced. If the load is removed, the ride height should stay the same.

Side-to-Side Lean: If one Nivomat unit has failed, the rear ride height will be lower on that side. If you detect a difference in ride height from side-to-side greater than an 1.5”, inspect the Nivomats for leaks and operation.

Ride Quality: A Nivomat is still a conventional shock absorber at its core. Wear to the valves, seals and internal surfaces will happen just like a normal shock or strut. If a vehicle does not hold the road or feels like it is floating, have a look at the Nivomats.

Noise: A dead Nivomat can make a lot of noise if the load-leveling components are flat or not pumped up or functioning.

Leaks: Nivomats will leak at the shaft seal and at the top of the body.

Diagnostic Strategy

Testing the function of a Nivomat shock, requires measuring the rear ride height and driving with a load.

  1. Measure the ride height. This can be done with a simple ruler. Drive the car onto a level surface. You can either measure the distance from the center of the wheel to the top of the wheel well or check the service information for the OE measuring points.
  2. Load the rear of the vehicle with at least 200 lbs, as close to the axle as possible.
  3. Measure the ride height. Write down the measurement.
  4. Drive the vehicle for at least three miles.
  5. On the same flat surface, measure ride height.

The ride height should return to the same measurement from when it was unloaded. If it is at the same ride height that was measured when the vehicle was loaded, chances are the Nivomats have failed internally.


• Cadillac STS (2005-’09)

• Cadillac CTS FE4 (2004-’07)

• Cadillac SRX 2004-’09 (Comfort Suspension)

• Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe (check RPO code) (2000-’06)

• Chrysler/Dodge Minivan (option) (1996-’06)

• Chrysler Pacifica FWD (2004-’08)

• Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger/ Magnum (option)(2004-’10)

You May Also Like

Buick Encore Alignment Service

Alignments are key to the health of the tires and some of the advanced safety systems like automatic emergency braking and lane keeping.

The 2012-2022 Buick Encore is based on the Gamma II platform that is shared with the Chevy Trax. This has been the best-selling Buick for several years. Like a lot of modern vehicles, the alignment specs are tight with almost no adjustments built in except for toe. However, alignments are key to the health of the tires and some of the advanced safety systems like automatic emergency braking and lane keeping.
Front Suspension
The front suspension on the Encore has a single lower control arm and MacPherson struts. Some models have a suspension dampener on the front bolt of the lower control arm. The part helps to control vibration that could be transmitted to the subframe. If the caster is out of specification, look at the bushings on the lower control arm for damage. Camber can be adjusted by installing cam bolts in the lower hole of the strut mount. This should give ±1.75 degrees of adjustability. Inspection of the lower control arm is a critical part of aligning the Encore. The arm can be bent due to curb strikes and the bushings can quickly deteriorate. Also, inspect the sway bar links for any signs the ends have play.
Rear Suspension
The Encore comes in front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions. Both versions use a trailing arm beam axle. The camber and toe for the front-wheel-drive version can be adjusted with shims. Unfortunately, there are no adjustments for the all-wheel-drive version. If camber or toe are out of specification in the rear, look for a damaged wheel. If the thrust angle is out of specifications, inspect the trailing arm bushings.

Live Axle Wheel Bearing Service

Replacing rear wheel bearings on a live axle rear suspension requires a few extra steps when compared to a unitized bearing.

Ride Height Sensors

If one of these sensors is replaced, it must be calibrated after it is installed.

Ride Control For Electric Vehicles

Replacement units are available from sources other than the dealer.

Brake Pad Edge Codes

The “Edge Code” can tell you information about a brake pad’s friction material.

Other Posts

Chassis Parts and Alignment Angles

Knowing why the adjustment is required is critical to performing the total alignment.

Suspension Upgrades – Selling Shocks and Struts

The question customers fail to ask is, what is “best” for their vehicle?

Air Ride Suspension Diagnostics

The key to understanding the logic of air ride systems is using service information.

Steering Angle Sensor Operations

It is important for the ABS/ESC module to receive two signals to verify the steering wheel’s position.