What Is The Difference Between Shocks and Struts?
Many people describe shocks and struts interchangeably, but they have some major differences, even while serving similar functions. Since they play an integral role in keeping your wheels connected to the road and driving smoothly, it is important to know some of the basics. It can also be helpful to know what could go wrong with these parts.
The Differences Between Shocks and Struts
You may have heard these two parts discussed as if they were essentially the same, but they are designed differently.
A strut is connected to a vehicle’s suspension system structurally and is a crucial part of the steering system. It also contains its own coil spring, which is part of the reason why a strut is more expensive.
A shock is a hydraulic piston, with liquid or gas inside, that dampens movement. Shocks do not support the weight of the vehicle like struts do and are often used with the rear wheels of vehicles.
Additionally, struts and shocks cannot be used to replace the other. If a strut is associated with a particular wheel, it can only be replaced with another strut. The confusion comes in when vehicles have both. They could have struts for the front axle and shocks for the rear. Make sure you know about the differences and what your car has.
The Function of Shocks and Struts
Shocks and struts keep the vehicle suspended off of the wheel axles. Otherwise, every small bump in the road, small turn, and vehicle acceleration would be accompanied by everyone inside being tossed around. Shocks and struts help to absorb the physical aspects of the road to create a smoother ride, which leads into the potential issues that can creep up.
Worn or Damaged Shocks and Struts
When these components are damaged, it is very easy to tell that there is a problem. Tires will bounce more on the road while driving, and you may feel less control over the vehicle when making a turn. You could also feel the car lean back when you accelerate and dive forward when applying the brakes. Ultimately, driving will become much less smooth when the shocks and struts are worn down. While inspections will ensure the functionality of these parts, it is recommended that they are checked every 50,000 miles.
Have more questions? We can help! Whether you just want to know more about your car’s systems or you are experiencing some of these problems, the team at Lou’s Car Care would love to be your resource for taking care of your vehicle’s shocks and struts.
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