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What is the Difference Between Shocks and Struts?

When driving through rough roads, a pothole, or a bump, the struts and shocks cushion you from any shocks. Even though they are used interchangeably, shocks and struts are entirely different parts that are crucial to the stability and safety of your vehicle.

What are shocks?

Often referred to as shock absorbers, shocks are the main component of the suspension system. They absorb and control the impact of the movement of the vehicle's suspension and springs. Shocks ensure the tires are always in contact with the surface of the road. In the absence of shocks, the wheels of a car will vibrate and bounce off the road's surface erratically.

The main components of a shock absorber include a coil, a piston, and hydraulic fluid. When your car hits a pothole, the shocks start a compression cycle. The piston presses into the hydraulic fluid that serves as a conduit to slow down the coil and relax back in place. This makes the ride feel less bumpy. There are three types of shocks; monotube, dual and coil-over shocks.

What are struts?

Struts form part of the structural component of the suspension system. They are vital to the vehicle's alignment and steering system. Struts integrate various parts of the suspension system into one assembly. The integrated parts include the spring seats, coil spring, shock absorbers, strut bearing, and the steering knuckle. Struts are multipurpose and will carry out the following functions:

  • Damping the movement of the spring as it compresses and rebounds
  • Structural support for the suspension to facilitate control

What are their main differences?

Struts and shocks are used interchangeably because they serve almost the same function. Some of their main differences include:

  • Construction: While shocks are an addition to the vehicle's construction, struts are built into the vehicle's suspension system.
     
  • Angles: The strut is directly related to the vehicle's camber and caster angles. The strut's position determines the caster angles, which in turn provide a connection and pivot for the steering system.
     
  • Cost: Even though shocks facilitate better handling, struts offer more value for money. Struts reduce your costs and allow you to save more compared to shocks.

The main differences between shocks and struts are how they are built, where they are positioned, and how they are used. Despite their differences, the two parts work together to maintain a smooth and comfortable ride. Get in touch with our auto repair shop today for shock or struts replacements.

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