A shock absorber or damper is a mechanical or hydraulic device designed to absorb and damp shock impulses. It does this by converting the kinetic energy of the shock into another form of energy which is then dissipated. Most shock absorbers are a form of dashpot.
Essentially, shock absorbers do two things. Apart from controlling the movement of springs and suspension, shock absorbers also keep your tyres in contact with the ground at all times. At rest or in motion, the bottom surface of your tyres is the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road. Any time that a tyre's contact with the ground is broken or reduced, your ability to drive, steer and brake is severely compromised.
Despite popular belief, shock absorbers do not support the weight of a vehicle.