What’s the Difference Between Shocks and Struts?

November 2, 2021 4:07 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

While shocks and struts do a similar job, they are different in many ways. Every vehicle features either shocks or struts as part of its suspension system. Since every vehicle is designed with either shocks or struts, it’s important to never replace one with the other, even if both do essentially the same thing.

Usually, it’s best to contact a professional instead of trying to change shocks or struts yourself, as making the wrong replacement could have disastrous consequences.

Read on to learn more about shocks vs. struts.

More about shocks

Shocks (also known as shock absorbers) control certain aspects of your vehicle’s suspension. They are made up of several key parts, including a coil and piston. Essentially, shocks make sure your vehicle’s tires keep contact with the road by controlling the movement of the vehicle’s springs. Shocks keep your vehicle from bouncing all over the place when you hit a bump.

More about struts

Like shocks, struts do a similar job of keeping your car from bouncing or swaying after going over bumps; however, the two have a major difference when it comes to design. A strut actually combines a vehicle’s shock absorber with several other components, including the coil springs, spring seats, strut bearing and steering knuckle.

Struts offer structural support in addition to ensuring safe handling while going over bumps. They are usually located on the front end of a front-wheel-drive vehicle.

Major differences

As mentioned above, one of the main differences between a shock and a strut is that struts offer structural support. In fact, they are an essential structural part of a vehicle’s suspension system, which isn’t the case with shocks. Struts are also usually more expensive than shocks because they require an alignment when being replaced. This is due to the fact that struts are a pivot point in many vehicles’ steering systems.

Does my vehicle have shocks or struts?

One of the best ways to tell whether your vehicle has shocks or struts is by checking the owner’s manual. You should easily be able to find this information in the section about your vehicle’s suspension system. You could also simply bring your vehicle to a reputable technician in the area. A good technician can quickly check whether you have shocks or struts and determine if they need replacing. It’s always best to follow the advice of a technician as opposed to a friend with minimal knowledge about cars.

When do I replace my shocks or struts?

There are many ways to tell whether it’s time to replace your shocks or struts. One of the most common signs of a problem with your shocks or struts is poor vehicle handling. You’ll likely notice this when going over bumps or potholes. Leaking fluid and uneven tire tread wear are also common symptoms of shocks or struts problems.

For the most part, shocks and struts can last anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 miles. If you suspect a problem with yours, be sure to visit a technician right away. Contact Dana’s Tire Center today for all your suspension service needs.

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