While they mostly do the same job and the words are often used interchangeably, shocks and struts refer to two vastly different suspension designs. You cannot use a shock absorber in the place of a strut, and vice versa. This can naturally lead to some confusion when trying to order the correct parts for your car, especially since many cars use struts for the front and shocks for the rear.
Do you think you know everything about shocks and struts? If you answer “no,” you’re not alone. These parts rate as some of the most often-misunderstood car components on the market. And it’s not just the average person who doesn’t grasp shocks and struts. There have been many cases where professional mechanics and car repair specialists have detected a shock or strut problem, only to discover later that another culprit is responsible.
Having to replace your struts can be a nuisance. Many think holding off on this repair is not that big of a deal; the good ole “my car will be fine” reasoning. Well if you want good advice, I would avoid that train of thought like the plague! Just because you have to replace your struts does not mean you have to break the bank, there are plenty of ways to save. Read our five important factors to consider when calculating strut replacement to help you save!
Always replace your entire strut assembly at one time—the suggestion of replacing the individual parts of your strut assembly might be the worst advice we’ve heard in a while. This well-intentioned advice seems to come primarily from those whose want to save money now as opposed to later. A simple rule of thumb is that if the struts or coil springs are being replaced because of age or wear, then also replace the mounts. A worn or damaged part of your strut assembly can cause a variety of symptoms so they should be inspected by a qualified technician before repairs begin. This means a disassembly of the entire strut and spring assembly is required to remove and replace the failing part. Therefore replacing all worn components at the same time could save you from doing the work a second time.
Although shocks and struts are not the most exciting part of your car, they are an essential part of a system that keeps you and your car safe. Knowing the signs of when to replace shocks and struts can be easy if you know what to look for. Bad shocks are not only bad for your car, but they can also reduce important safety functions of your vehicle.
Firstly, you’ll want to know the difference between a shock and a strut. Most people use interchangeably but they are two different parts. A shock absorber is a hydraulic tube filled with fluid which helps dampen the ride when you go over uneven surfaces. A strut has the same function except a strut supports a spring that holds up the weight of the vehicle. Most cars have struts in the front and shocks in the back with supporting springs.