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Difference Between Shocks and Struts

struts-pdShocks vs Struts

Shocks and struts are important for a smooth ride. Both shocks and struts give a perfect and comfortable ride. It is not only just for comfort that shocks and struts are present in vehicles; both shocks and struts also improve the safety of the vehicle, keeping the vehicle in good suspension. Most of the time, people do not see any difference between shocks and struts; they consider the two to be synonyms. Though shocks and struts are almost the same, they differ in their design and functions.

While struts form an integral part of the suspension, shocks just absorb the bumps from the road. Struts also serve as pivots for the steering rack, and replaces upper arm control. On the other hand, shocks just dampen resonant vibrations, and help to maintain a smooth drive.

Well, another difference that can be seen, is that struts are present on the front part of the vehicle, and shocks are found on the rear part of the vehicle.

When comparing shocks and struts, it is noticeable that struts are needed more than shocks. It has been said that one can drive a car without shocks, but one cannot drive a car if there are no struts.

Unlike shocks, struts provide structural support for the vehicle. Struts help the vehicle to conform to the road. When the vehicle moves or bounces, struts aide the compression and recoiling of the springs. Shocks help vehicles to recoil back to their old position after hitting bumps. Where shocks dampen the leaf springs, struts dampen the coil springs.

Shocks come in multiple pieces, whereas struts come in a single piece, with an inbuilt spring and surrounded by springs.

When comparing their price, struts are more expensive than shocks. Moreover, the labour charge for installing struts is also higher than for installing shocks.

Summary:

1. Struts form an integral part of the suspension. On the other hand, shocks just absorb the bumps from the road.

2. Struts are present on the front part of the vehicle, and shocks are found on the rear part of the vehicle.

3. Unlike shocks, struts provide structural support for vehicles.

4. Shocks come in multiple pieces, whereas struts come in a single piece, with an inbuilt spring and surrounded by springs.

5. Struts are more expensive than shocks. The labour charge for installing struts is also higher than for installing shocks.


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7 Comments

  1. Great post. Thanks. Now I really know the difference between them.

  2. Struts are just shocks surrounded by a spring and installed as a single unit. Struts do the same job as springs and shocks separately. The advantage of struts is that they are more compact than having the spring and shock separate. Struts are also more costly to replace than shocks.

    To say that struts are a structural member is not wholly correct. The shocks can be removed from inside the strut and the car will still be operable, the same as a shock can be removed.

    Shocks do not come in separate pieces. They are made of a cylinder and a piston but are sealed as a single unit.

    Larger cars and trucks that are rear wheel drive have shocks of both the front and rear axles. The only cars or small trucks that have struts are front wheel drive.

  3. Lotta words, but a couple pictures would’ve been worth a lot more. It is still not clear to me, and pictures would have set me straight in about 2 seconds.

  4. Struts can also be found in rear suspensions, as well.

    As far as dampening is concerned, both shocks and struts provide the same function.

    What was stated above about struts being surrounded by a spring is not entirely accurate. Coilover shocks, while often mistaken for adjustable coilover components, are exactly that. A coil (spring) over (around) a shock.

    The difference between the two is how they function within the suspension system. A shock does not provide any function other than dampening the oscillations of the spring. I can be used to adjust the ride height in some applications. A front strut connects the the steering knuckle and becomes a load bearing and geometric locating component of the suspension system. This function of the strut is carried by the upper control arm (aka a-arm) in the double wishbone suspension systems.

  5. Good write-up but insert “Worthless without pics” smiley here.

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