Shocks and Struts Replaced
The Purpose or Function of a Cars Shocks and Struts
Shocks and struts serve the same purpose. The primary purpose of the shock absorber or strut is to control spring and suspension movement. They prevent bottoming out of the suspension, that is to slow down the compression of the spring and create a lifting force on the wheel. They’re main function is to keep the vehicle from bouncing. A vehicle has front and rear springs to cushion the vehicle over various road conditions. If there were no shocks or struts, the vehicle would continue to bounce excessively. The shocks and struts prevent the vehicle from bouncing by damping the springs.
What is the Difference Between Shocks and Struts?
Shocks are typically used to dampen leaf springs, where as a strut is normally used to dampen coil springs. Shocks are usually a single cylinder out in the open where as a strut is usually surrounded by a coil spring and are larger and a little more complicated. This is the reason struts normally cost a lot more to replace than shocks.
On a car the front suspension usually has struts and the rear usually has shocks. Many trucks have shocks on the front and rear. Other than those distinctions, shocks and struts serve exactly the same purpose.
When Should You Replace Your Car’s Shocks or Struts?
Keeping in mind that the purpose of shocks and struts is to keep the vehicle from bouncing, the following are some reasons why they should be replaced.
- The vehicle bounces excessively causing an uncomfortable driving experience.
- The vehicle seems to be hard to control leading to a potentially unsafe condition.
- Excessive strain and wear can be put on other vehicle components causing premature failure.
- Bad shocks or struts will cause the tires to bounce and create spotty or choppy wear on the vehicles tires.
How to Tell if a Cars Shocks or Struts are Bad.
- Shocks and struts are usually either oil or air filled. If they are leaking oil or air, they need to be replaced.
- Another method to determine if your shock or struts need to be replaced is the bounce test. Put all your weight on the front or rear of the vehicle and push down on the vehicle. Let go of the vehicle and see of it bounces. If the vehicle comes back up without bouncing, the shocks are probably in good shape. If the vehicle continues to bounces a few times, chances are the shocks or struts need to be replaced.
Shocks and struts wear out depending on several different factors. They are not maintenance items. There is no set mileage or time limit when they should be replaced. If your tires seem to have a choppy wear pattern or the vehicle bounces excessively over bumps, the shocks need to be checked.
Replacing your vehicle’s shocks and struts when they’re bad will create a safer and more comfortable driving experience, not to mention saving you some money in the long run.