What is the Difference Between Shocks and Struts?

If you are in the market for new shocks and struts, it can be challenging to understand which one is right for you. There are many different brands and models of both of these components, so how do you know what will work best?

This post will explain some differences between shocks and struts that should help make your decision easier.

What's A Shock Absorber?

A shock absorber is a mechanical device that dampens the movement of a vehicle's springs. They help smooth out the ride and reduce wear on other suspension components like ball joints, bearings, or bushings.

In essence, they work by turning kinetic energy into heat through a hydraulic process called hydrostatic friction. By reducing bumps in the road, they help keep the tire in contact with the ground.

What Are Struts?

A strut is a mechanical device that helps support the car's body and keep it level. They work by transferring side-to-side forces from one end of the vehicle to the other while keeping vertical loads (i.e., bumps) in check.

Struts are found on both front and back ends of vehicles, but they can also be found running from side to side underneath the hood or even between suspension and chassis components.

Are Struts and Shocks Similar?

Struts and shocks—while in essence similar, as they are hydraulic systems that limit body roll by offering resistance to side-to-side movement of the suspension system within a car's frame—are not quite interchangeable.

The two work on different parts of a vehicle: Strut supports the chassis or exterior while shock absorbers support the suspension (the suspension can be thought of as the entire system between the chassis and wheels).

Should I use Shocks or Struts on my car?

The best way to understand the difference is to think of shocks as more for comfort and struts for safety.

If you're looking at how a car will handle different driving conditions, like off-road or on rough terrain, then your suspension system must have enough travel so that when one wheel goes up over an obstacle, the others still have enough travel to go over it.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a smoother ride on rough roads or are just tired of bottoming out when going over bumps in your local parking lot, then shocks might be more up your alley.

If you need shocks or struts replacement, give Village Transmission & Auto Clinic a call today!

23901 84th Ave W. Edmonds, WA 98026 (425) 778-0194
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