Are Shocks and Struts the Same?

Have you ever wondered what the difference between shock absorbers and struts are? Are they the same or are they different components? Keeping reading to find out more.

Shock Absorbers

Contrary to popular belief, conventional shock absorbers do not support a vehicle’s weight. The main purpose of the shock absorber is to control spring and suspension movement. This is achieved by turning the suspension movement’s kinetic energy into thermal energy to be dissipated through the hydraulic fluid.

What They Do

The amount of resistance a shock absorber develops depends on the speed of the suspension as well as the number and size of the openings in the piston. All modern shock absorbers are velocity sensitive hydraulic damping devices. This means the faster the suspension moves, the more resistance the shock absorber provides, allowing shock absorbers to adjust to road conditions. As a result, shock absorbers reduce the rate of bounce, roll, sway, brake dive, and acceleration squat.

Struts

A strut is a major structural part of a suspension. It takes the place of the upper control arm and upper ball joint used in conventional suspensions. This design makes the strut lighter and takes up less space than shock absorbers in traditional suspension systems.

What They Do

Struts do two main jobs. They perform a damping function like shock absorbers. Similar to a shock absorber, a piston is attached to the end of the piston rod and works against hydraulic fluid to control spring and suspension movement. Secondly, unlike shock absorbers, struts provide structural support for the vehicle’s suspension, support the spring, and hold the tire in an aligned position.They also bear a lot of the side load of the vehicle’s suspension. So, struts affect riding comfort and handling as well as vehicle control, braking, steering, wheel alignment, and wear.

If you would like to know more, contact the experts at Performance Auto Repair at (334) 245-6600 today.

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