The shocks and struts in your vehicle are integral parts of your suspension. While you may think of them as interchangeable terms, the two play different, and important parts in the overall function of your vehicle.
The Difference Between a Shock and Strut
Even though shocks and struts are both responsible for the weight transfer when you are accelerating, braking, or turning, shocks are not a component of the vehicle’s suspension essential for baseline function – though we heavily recommend them to protect your car. Shocks are there to absorb and dampen the terrain of the road so that you have a smoother ride. Though you can still drive without shocks, you will want them for a more comfortable ride!
On the other hand, struts are crucial to your vehicle’s suspension. They are a connection point between your wheels and the body of your vehicle that supports the weight of your vehicle while assisting the shocks in absorbing bumps in the road. If you are driving with bad struts, you are accelerating the wear on your tires as well as the wear on other suspension components.
How Can You Tell They aren’t Working Properly?
When your shocks aren’t working properly, you will notice that your drive is bumpier than usual. It may take longer for your vehicle to stop bouncing after hitting a bump or dip in the road, but it won’t have any effect on the structural stability of your vehicle. As for struts, you may find yourself taking longer to stop when you are braking. Or you may feel more out of control when you are steering and/or accelerating as your suspension is unable to redistribute the weight.
You can also check your shocks or struts to see if there is any fluid coming out. This fluid is pushed through little holes in the shocks and struts while you are driving to dampen and absorb what’s on the road. If this fluid is leaking, your shocks or struts aren’t functioning properly.
It is recommended that you get your shocks and struts checked every 50,000 miles or so. But if you consistently drive on uneven, bumpy terrain, you may want to check them more frequently. If you believe there is something wrong with your shocks or struts, don’t wait to get them checked. The longer you wait, the more damage that could occur to other parts of your vehicle’s suspension. If you find that there is something wrong, feel free to bring your vehicle to Houska Automotive.