What is the Difference Between Shocks and Struts?

Your vehicle's suspension system comprises shocks and struts that collectively help it maintain contact with the road. An improper grip on the road could make braking, handling, and steering more difficult. When working efficiently, shocks and struts typically help reduce the car's brake dive, acceleration squat, roll, sway, and bounce. They also help maintain wheel alignment and regulate tire and body movement.

Although many people may reference shocks and struts interchangeably, they're independent components with different functions. Shocks are solo components inside the suspension system, and struts are a vital part of the suspension infrastructure and chassis. Read on to discover more differences between shocks and struts.

What Shocks Do

Contrary to popular belief, conventional shock absorbers don't support a vehicle's weight. Instead, they control suspension and spring movement by converting the kinetic energy from suspension movement into heat energy that dissipates through the hydraulic fluid. The resistance a shock absorber can produce depends on the size and number of holes in the piston as well as the suspension's speed.

Shocks are essentially oil pumps. They feature a piston connected to the periphery of a rod working against the hydraulic fluid inside the pressure tube. As the vehicle's suspension moves up and down, the hydraulic fluid comes out via holes in the piston, slowing the piston rod down and consequently the spring movement.

About Struts

Struts are a common damper type popular in independent suspension systems for both front- and rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Their role's equal to that of the upper ball joint and upper control arm, which are common in traditional suspension systems. Struts act as shock absorbers as they have a setup similar to that of shocks. However, instead of orifices on the piston, they feature valves that create the resistance needed to control forces resulting from the up and down motion of the suspension.

Unlike shocks, struts also support the spring, help hold the tires in an aligned position, and offer structural support for the car's suspension.

Although different, shocks and struts are vital in ensuring your vehicle's safety. That said, if you need shocks or struts replacements, give Euro Car Tech a call today.