Thoughts and advice on the care and feeding of fine automobiles from Machine Aficionado and bestselling author John Elder Robison, owner of JE Robison Service in Springfield, Massachusetts

We are independent restoration, repair, sales and service for Audi, BMW, Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Rolls-Royce automobiles.

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Gas Springs on Rolls Royce cars - what they are, and how to check them

Checking Gas Springs – 1981 to 1998 cars

Every 1981-1998 Rolls-Royce or Bentley motorcar uses a combination of coil springs and compressed nitrogen gas to support the rear of the car.  That's why your cars squats in back if it sits more than a few days - the pressure leaks out of the system.  When you start the car, it takes a few minutes to rise back to its normal height as pressure builds up

The nitrogen is stored in spheres called “gas springs,” located adjacent to the rear shocks. These gas springs usually last 5-7 years. When they fail, your car will ride terribly. If you drive on rough roads with failed gas springs you may blow out the rear shocks, leading to big repair bills. Here’s how you test them:

Start your car and let it idle. Go to the front of the vehicle and press down on a corner with your full body weight. You should feel the car sag an inch or two under the load. Now go to the rear corners and try the same thing. It should be softer. If it’s not – especially if it’s rock-hard – your gas springs have probably lost their nitrogen charge.

If the gas springs in your car are failing I urge you to change them promptly.  Driving on bad gas springs will ruin the struts, and leave you with thousands of dollars in unnecessary damage.

Replacement of gas springs is a 4-12 hour job, depending on the year and model of your car.

J E Robison Service is an independent Rolls Royce and Bentley specialist in Springfield, MA.  Founder John Elder Robison is a long time technical consultant for the Rolls Royce Owners Club.

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