Shocks vs Struts

The Difference between Shocks & Struts

Most people who don’t regularly work on cars or who aren’t car enthusiasts don’t know the difference between shocks and struts. That’s not a problem at all. Knowing the difference matters most when you’ll be doing the work yourself or trying to price out repair parts, like during and after construction season when you're most likely to sustain damage to the suspension of your vehicle.

Shock absorbers repair and replacement

Shocks

Shock absorbers do not support the weight of the vehicle—they aren’t structural. They lessen the compression of the coil springs and elongate the service life of your structural suspension. Shocks also keep your vehicle level when accelerating or braking.

How do Shock Absorbers Work?

Pressure exerted on hydraulic fluid inside the tube compresses the fluid, which converts the kinetic energy into thermal energy. These days, shocks’ resistance are governed by the velocity of the compression. When hitting a speed bump, shocks compress faster than when they hit a simple bump in the road. The increased speed of compression makes the shocks resist more so the coils compress less.

Contact for Shock Repair Pricing

Strut repair and replacement

Struts

Struts are a type of independent suspension, meaning they do not need additional support from shock absorbers and replace other parts of the suspension that cars with shocks have: upper control arm & upper ball joint. They are a structural part of the vehicle. You’ll end up paying more for each strut because of their complicated build and multiple functions.

What do Struts Do?

Struts both mitigate the bounce of your vehicle over bumps and act as the structure that keeps your suspension from falling apart or your wheel alignment from running amuck.

Bouncing is slowed by a structure similar to a shock absorber on the inside of the strut, and by a coil spring on the outside. Those parts make up the middle section of a strut’s structure. The strut attaches to the wheel and the car’s structure, where it also takes on a lot of the horizontal load during turns and maintains wheel alignment.

After replacing your struts, people almost always need to get a wheel alignment or risk needing new struts again in the near future.

Diagnosing Problems with Shocks & Struts

  • Vehicle nosedives or squats – when braking and accelerating, respectively, the end of the car will dip significantly closer to the road
  • Tires bouncing – tires bounce for a while after you hit a bump in the road
  • Vehicle bouncing – the entire vehicle bounces excessively after hitting a bump in the road
  • Leaking hydraulic fluid – the fluid will be near your tires instead of right under the engine

See other underbody repair services or general car repair services in New Berlin.

Contact for Strut Repair Pricing