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.
With such a complex suspension, repairs are often difficult, time consuming, and expensive. Many A4, A5, Allroad, and Passat owners will try to save money by only replacing the single control arm which exhibits the most wear. But this rarely, if ever, restores the stability of the entire suspension and many of our customers become discouraged when the symptoms of a worn suspension persist.
The words "automotive suspension" usually brings to mind images of heavy duty torsion bars and coil springs, however, what most people don’t know is that your car’s suspension system is actually a part of the chassis. Which means that not only is your suspension one of the most vital parts of your car, but that it’s constantly put to the test when driving. Everything from your tires to the steering wheel is affected by the health of your car’s suspension. This information is especially useful when dealing with aftermarket parts and repairs.
It’s very unlikely that you’d overlook a faulty AC or a broken window, however damage to your suspension, one of the most important parts of your car, might go untended—especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for! If your steering wheel shakes at high speeds or you notice a significant dip when breaking, it might be time to have your suspension checked.
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.