Without formal automotive mechanical training, it can be really hard to understand all the working parts of a car. As for shocks and struts, many drivers tend to get the two components confused. Continue below to learn more about shocks and struts in a vehicle, including what they do and how they are different from one another.
Shocks Versus Struts
Hat’s off to you for wanting to know more about the mechanics of your vehicle. The most automotive knowledge you have, the better your car care game will be. It is a common mistake for people to use the terms shocks and struts interchangeably, and although both these parts are vital components in your vehicle’s suspension system, particularly in terms of safety and performance, they each serve a unique purpose of their own. Let’s check out the difference between shocks and struts, starting with a brief description.
Shocks and Struts Work Together
Many people confuse shocks and struts as the same thing because they pretty much do the same thing. They work together to dampen the movement and bounce generated while driving and going over bumps, thus delivering a smoother, more comfortable ride. They also work together to allow more control over your vehicle, especially in the case that you need to perform an emergency maneuver, either to swerve on or off the road.
Shocks and struts, although work and alliance to support and protect your vehicle’s suspension system, perform different duties individually. Every tire on your vehicle will have either a shock or a strut, but never both. In fact, a shock cannot be replaced by a strut, and vice versa. If you must replace a shock, it must be replaced by another shock; you cannot replace it with strut. The make and model of your vehicle will ultimately determine whether you have shocks or struts.
Shocks are designed to mitigate the bouncing and bobbing effect of a vehicle while driving. They are also called shock absorbers because the essentially soak up and divert the force that causes the bouncing. Shocks are installed in the rear tires of a car.
Struts are individual suspension systems found at the front of a car, each containing one shock and one spring in a single unit. The spring is designed to support the weight of your vehicle and keeps your tires in contact with the road, while the shocks absorb the force that creates bouncing and bobbing while driving. Struts also have a major impact on vehicle alignment and the power steering system. They are an actual structural part of the vehicle’s suspension system. Shocks are not.
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