The purpose of this paper is to develop and experimentally validate a practical and effective technique for the automatic regulation of a hydraulic semiactive vibration absorber (SAVA) for automobiles. The work relies on a consistent hydraulic model of the actuator dynamics that includes the effects of fluid compressibility and a nonlinear viscous loss characteristic. A bistate control algorithm is developed using a Lyapunov approach that seeks to dissipate the energy of the system. The performance of the proposed semiactive damper design on a quarter car model of an automobile suspension is established experimentally on a vibrating test stand. The work provides evidence that the inexpensive hardware design makes it possible to improve the ride and handling performance.