What is the Difference Between Shocks and Struts?

Shocks and struts are the key elements to a car's suspension system. They play a crucial role of keeping a vehicle's wheels in contact with the road. This is crucial because if your car tires fail to maintain contact with the road, this affects the steering, handling and the breaking.

How are Shocks and Struts Different

It is not uncommon for people to refer to these two parts interchangeably however, there are differences and the two parts play different roles. Both shocks and struts assist with a vehicle's handling and ride, however they do also perform different functions. Struts are a crucial component of the chassis and suspension system of a vehicle and shocks are individual components of the suspension system.

Function of Struts

Struts are used on many recent independent suspensions, front wheel as well as rear wheel drive vehicles. Struts are located in the conventional suspension system in the place of the upper control arm and upper ball joint. Its design makes it lighter in comparison to shock absorbers and it also takes up less space within the conventional suspension system.

Struts perform two main functions. Firstly, just like shock absorbers, they perform a damping function. The second function of struts differentiates them from shock absorbers. Struts provide structural support for the suspension and also bear most of the side load placed on your car's suspension. Due to this, struts have an effect on the ride comfort and handling as well as the control of your car, braking, steering, wheel alignment and wear on the other parts of the suspension.

Function of Shocks

The main role of shocks is to control spring and suspension movement. They do this by converting the kinetic energy of the suspension movement in to thermal energy which is dissipated through the vehicle's hydraulic fluid.

Shock absorbers adjust to different road conditions and reduce the following:

  • Break dive and acceleration squat
  • Bounce
  • Roll and sway

It's always advisable to have a professional mechanic attend to the replacement of your car's shocks and struts. It does require certain tools and skills to do well. So, if you need shocks or struts replacement, give our auto repair shop a call today!