While they may look the same and accomplish the same tasks, a shock and a strut are not the same. This can confuse a lot of people because they look extremely similar. To help you better understand your suspension system, here are the differences between shocks and struts.
What Are Shocks?
While a shock absorber is designed to accomplish the same action as a strut, it’s slightly stiffer than a strut. This is because they work with ancillary suspension parts to absorb bumps in the road. There are three different main types of shock absorbers for vehicles:
- Monotube Shock Absorber: This is the most common type of shock absorber that’s typically used. The component is made of a steel tube with a gas compression piston inside.
- Dual Shock: a dual shock features two tubes filled with hydraulic fluid that transfers to the other tube when compressed
- Coil-Over: These types of shocks are typically installed on the front of cars and feature a single tube covered by a thick coil spring.
What Are Struts?
While they accomplish the same goal that shocks do, struts are different because they combine the strut and spring in a single unit. These struts are usually mounted to a steering knuckle, with the top of the strut supporting the car's body. Because these struts are typically smaller than shock absorbers, they’re most often used in vehicles whose suspension travel is compressed.
Should You Use a Shock or Strut in Your Car?
Like any other part, the shocks and struts for lifted trucks are designed to wear out over time. Typically, the manufacturer will give a recommended mileage for getting them replaced. However, if you frequently use your vehicle in tougher environments, the shocks may wear out a lot faster. If you’re unsure whether you need to replace your shocks and struts, visit your local mechanic for their opinion.
When it comes to the differences between shocks and struts, it can be hard to know how they are dissimilar. However, learning these differences will help you better understand your car and prevent any mechanical mistakes in the future.