What are Shocks and Struts?
Car shocks and car struts will both require maintenance
eventually, and you may find yourself wondering what’s the difference? Both are
key components to your suspension system helping to ensure that you have a
smooth ride. Your local Southern
California car care experts are here to explain the difference between
the two, and why it matters.
Shocks and struts are both key components used in various
types of suspension systems. While they may look very similar and be used in
the same place, they are quite different. Both shocks and struts are designed
to absorb the impact of your vehicle bouncing along uneven streets, speed
bumps, or dirt and gravel roads. However, shocks are a basic form of shock
absorption, and struts are more sophisticated in design.
Shocks, which are sometimes called shock absorbers, only
have one goal of minimizing bouncing while driving. It’s there to damper the
amount of force absorbed by the car’s springs, and limit suspension movement. Shocks
are chambers or pistons with fluid or gas inside, which compress and move
through the shock when the vehicle bounces up and down. It is the compression and
movement of the fluid or gas inside that absorbs the impact from each bounce,
minimizing what is felt by the driver and passenger inside.
Struts are a compact component that combines a shock,
spring, and structural support for the suspension. You will see a spring
attached to two mounting plates, with a shock in the middle. By combining these
components into one piece, struts save weight and space in an already tight
space. Struts are very often used in modern independent suspensions, and are
considered to be somewhat upscale.
The main difference between a strut and a shock absorber is
that your shocks will not provide structural support for the suspension. Struts
are used in place of components like ball joints and control arms, unlike
shocks that need suspension components to achieve the same goals. Struts tend to
be the more expensive option, and provide better handling, ride comfort, and
Signs of Issues
Eventually, shocks and struts may need servicing. Shocks are
likely to wear out faster than struts, but it all depends on how and where the
vehicle is driven. There are a few telltale signs that your car’s shocks or
struts are in need of servicing.
- Excess noise during a bump
- Vehicle bounces up and
down more than 3 times
- Vehicle is bouncing higher
- Excess body roll (tilting
during a turn)
- Cupping on your tires
- Suspension bottoming out
- Nose dives during a hard
Knowing when your car maintenance needs to include your
struts and shocks is one thing. Replacing these components can be difficult
without the right equipment. You can trust your local Southern California Ford Dealers
and their car service center for services related to shocks, struts and other
suspension needs. Call today to schedule a service appointment.