Differences between struts and shocks

Shocks and struts, an essential component of your car’s suspension system, keep the tires on the ground, that now brings us to the question “What are the differences between struts and shocks”. The phrases “shock absorber” and “strut” are sometimes confused, however, they are two distinct parts with distinct purposes.

Both shocks and struts aid in maintaining the car’s tire’s contact with the ground. If not, steering, handling, and braking may be compromised. A car’s suspension system aids in maintaining wheel alignment and saving tire wear by reducing sway and body roll-around turns. Thus, in this article, we’ll be discussing the differences between struts and shocks as the meaning, functions, components, diagram will be discussed.

Differences between struts and shocks

So, let’s dive in!



Struts are utilized on almost every front-wheel-drive vehicle’s front end as the structural component of the suspension system. A strut unifies a variety of suspension components into a small assembly.

In many independent suspension, front-wheel-drive, and some rear-wheel-drive automobiles of today, the strut is a typical type of damper. Struts are a crucial component of a suspension’s structural design. Upper control arms and upper ball joints utilized in traditional suspensions are replaced by it. In comparison to shock absorbers in conventional suspension systems, struts are lighter and take up less room due to their design.

Struts has two primary functions Like shock absorbers, struts first serve as a dampening mechanism. Shock absorbers are similar to struts internally. To control spring and suspension movement, a piston that is attached to the end of the piston rod engages hydraulic fluid.

The valving produces resistance to the forces produced by the suspension’s up-and-down motion, much like shock absorbers do. A strut is velocity-sensitive, which means that it has valves so that the degree of resistance can change based on how quickly the suspension moves, just like shock absorbers do.

Struts also functions  as opposed to shock absorbers, support the spring, retain the tire in alignment, and provide structural support for the vehicle suspension. They also support a large portion of the side loads put on the suspension of the car. Struts consequently have an impact on ride quality and handling as well as vehicle control, braking, steering, wheel alignment, and wear on other suspension components.

Struts typically consist of a strut housing to provide the assembly with strong structural support and a dampening device inside the housing to control spring and suspension movement. On the majority of struts, the lower portion of the body is attached to the steering knuckle, which is then joined by a lower ball joint to a lower control arm.

All the parts required for strut replacement are contained in a single, completely built unit known as a complete strut assembly. To sustain the weight of the vehicle, it comprises a coil spring, a dampening unit, and a strut housing.

strut diagram


Shocks, often known as shock absorbers, are an important part of the suspension system. They ensure that the tires of the vehicle always remain in contact with the road by controlling the impact and rebound movement of the springs and suspension of your car.

Contrary to popular belief, standard shock absorbers cannot withstand the weight of a car. Instead, the shock absorber’s main function is to regulate spring and suspension motion. To achieve this, the suspension movement’s kinetic energy is converted into thermal energy, or heat energy, which is then dispersed through the hydraulic fluid.

The number and size of the tiny holes or orifices in the piston, the suspension’s speed, and the amount of resistance a shock absorber creates are all related. All current shock absorbers are velocity-sensitive hydraulic damping systems, which means the more resistance they offer, the faster the suspension moves. This feature allows shock absorbers to adapt to changing driving circumstances and slow down the rate of bounce, Roll, and sway which are caused by worn shocks that can no longer regulate the weight transfer rate. brake dive and squat acceleration.

Fluid displacement is the basis for how shock absorbers operate throughout both the compression and extension cycles. The extension cycle of a typical automobile or light truck will be more resistant than the compression cycle. The motion of a vehicle’s unstrung weight is controlled by the compression cycle, whereas the heavier sprung weight is controlled by the extension cycle.

In essence, shock absorbers are oil pumps. The piston rod’s end is joined to a piston, which pushes hydraulic fluid within the pressure tube. The hydraulic fluid is driven through the orifices inside the piston when the suspension rises and falls. These orifices, however, only allow a tiny amount of fluid to pass through the piston. As a result, the piston moves more slowly, slowing spring and suspension motion.

diagram of a shock absorber

Difference between struts and shocks

You’ll frequently hear people use the terms “shocks” and “struts” interchangeably. Shocks and struts, however, are two separate components with different purposes. Both of these components aim to improve the ride and handling of your car, but they do so in different ways. While struts are a significant structural element of the chassis and suspension system, shocks are discrete parts of the suspension system.

Shocks and struts, an essential component of your car’s suspension system, keep the tires on the ground. Why is this such a big deal? Your car’s steering, handling, and braking can all be impacted if it doesn’t keep solid touch with the road. High-quality ride control products carry out a number of crucial tasks:

They controls the  excessive body and tire movement, help maintain consistent handling and braking by reducing vehicle bounce, roll, and sway, as well as brake dive and acceleration squat. They also assist in minimizing the risk of premature wear on tires and other suspension components.

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Watch the video below to learn more on the difference between struts and shocks:


In conclusion, both car owners and enthusiasts have to understand the difference between struts and shocks. Although both parts are essential to the suspension system of a car, they each have unique properties and uses:

Struts are a more complete suspension component that combines a structural element that supports the weight of the vehicle with a shock absorber. They are frequently found in some rear suspensions as well as the front suspensions of numerous vehicles. Struts add structural rigidity, which may improve control and handling. The complete system must frequently be changed when replacing struts, which can be more expensive than replacing shocks.

Shocks, also referred to as shock absorbers, are suspension parts in charge of managing and damping the movement of the car’s springs. They are often found coupled with separate coil springs in the vehicle’s rear suspension, though this is not always the case. Although they are excellent at improving stability and smoothing the ride. However, shocks do not maintain the vehicle’s structural integrity.
The exact suspension requirements and the design of the vehicle will determine whether to use struts or shocks. When determining whether to install struts or shocks, vehicle owners ought to look to the manufacturer’s recommendations and take cost, handling, and comfort into account.

That is all for this article, where the differences between struts and shocks as the meaning, functions, components, diagram are being discussed. I hope it was helpful, if so, kindly share with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!

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