Shocks vs Struts: Difference and Comparison

The terms shock and struts are referred to parts in a vehicle. Both the terms have similar functions, but the moments differ variedly.

Although the movement of both terms is equal and the terms are used interchangeably, the parts are completely different.

Key Takeaways

  1. Shocks absorb and dissipate energy from road bumps, while struts serve as a structural component of the suspension system.
  2. Vehicle owners need to replace shocks more frequently due to wear and tear, whereas struts have a longer lifespan.
  3. Vehicles with struts have better handling and performance than those with only shocks.

Shocks vs Struts

Shocks are hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders that were created to dampen or reduce vibrations and movements in the suspension system of a vehicle. Struts, are a combination of a shock absorber and a structural support member. They provide both damping and structural support for the suspension system.

Shocks vs Struts

The assembly houses a shock absorber and functions as a vital part of the steering system in the front suspension, rotating as the wheels turn left and right.

The unit’s shock absorber dampens road abnormalities like bumps and potholes. The rear suspension includes the shock absorber that dampens road forces at the back of the vehicle and is not located within a strut assembly in many automobiles. 

The structural suspension system is made up of struts. Depending on the vehicle’s year, manufacture, and model, strut assemblies may be located on the front end or front wheel and rear suspensions.

A rear strut assembly is not part of a steering system because a rear-wheel steering system does not control most vehicles’ direction.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonShocksStruts
What is it?Shocks are also shock absorbers that control the rebound moment of a vehicle.A strut combines a shock absorber and a spring into a single element.
What do they do?They are present in your vehicle to control spring and suspension movement.Functions dampening just like shocks to give upper control in conventional suspensions.
ComponentsThe front end of the wheel is underpinning at the top of the chassis.Struts housing, steering knuckles, and coil spring.
RoleShocks help your vehicle tires to keep in touch with the road.Controls excessive tire movement to help maintain handling and braking.
Where is it?It is located at an integral part of suspensions.The front end of the wheel underpinning at the top of the chassis.

What is Shocks?

A shock absorber, commonly known as the car’s suspension, is the spring that absorbs the jerks in the vehicle. It does nothing but lengthens the time it takes for the force to reach the car, hence lessening shock. As a result, it’s known as a shock absorber.

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A mechanical device that smooths out or dampens any rapid shock impulse and scatters kinetic energy; it comprises a spring and a dashpot combination.

Scale automobile oil-filled coil-over shock components in miniature size. Shock absorbers (or shock “dampers”) are mechanical or hydraulic devices that absorb and dampen shock impulses.

This is done by converting the kinetic energy of the shock into another kind of energy (heat), which would then be diffused.

The most prevalent type of shock absorber is a dashpot. Description Cushions and springs are utilized in conjunction with pneumatic and hydraulic shock absorbers.

The flow of oil via an internal piston of an automobile shock absorber is controlled by spring-loaded check valves and orifices. The hydraulic fluid heats up in hydraulic cylinders, whereas heated air is normally vented into the atmosphere in air cylinders.

The dissipated energy can be saved and used later in other forms of shock absorbers, such as electromagnetic ones. Shock absorbers help to cushion automobiles on uneven roads in general.


What is Struts?

The car’s suspension is made up of struts. They act as shock absorbers, mitigating the impact of potholes and irregularities in the road.

The strut is positioned behind the wheel or tire and connects to the “knuckle” at the bottom, which is the fixture that holds the axle or wheel bearing and brake assembly (and, eventually, the wheel and tire), and to the frame or body of the car at the top.

When you raise the hood on a car with struts, the strut towers and top attachment points on either side of the engine compartment are visible about 2/3rd of the way back from the front of the hood.

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Struts are suspension component that combines springs and shock absorbers to adjust for abnormalities in the road surface.

The units are tall and installed higher in the body to allow extra travel to adapt to large bumps. The struts’ tops must also connect to the base of the suspension, where they pivot from the frame on the control arms, which hold the ball joints, and the spindles, which hold the wheel bearing assemblies or hubs.

The struts may be leaking fluid from the outside. This is an indication of a faulty strut. Your tires may be cupping. The strut allows the wheel to move both laterally and longitudinally.

The Mac Pherson strut mechanism consists of a lower wishbone (control arm), a shock absorber, a spring, and an upper spring leg mounting point that connects the damper to the frame or chassis.

Main Differences Between Shocks And Struts

  • Shock absorbers and dampers are the same things. The “damp out” oscillations in a vehicle’s suspension system. They are frequently used in conjunction with springs (coil or leaf type), but unlike struts, they do not employ the coil or damper as a pivot point for vehicle steering.
  • The spring is not integrated into the assembly of a shock but into the full assembly of a strut.
  • You can remove shocks from a car and still find the car resting on its springs. But the car cannot rest on its springs if the struts are removed. 
  • Large trucks use shocks in the back. In contrast, passenger cars use struts in the front and back.
  • Shock is not necessarily a strut, but a strut can be a shock. 
Difference Between Shocks And Struts

Last Updated : 13 February, 2024

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8 thoughts on “Shocks vs Struts: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I appreciate the comprehensive explanation of both shocks and struts. It makes it easier to grasp their roles and significance in a vehicle’s suspension system.

  2. The detailed description of what shock absorbers and struts do for a vehicle’s suspension system is very informative. It enhances the understanding of their importance.

  3. The in-depth details about what shock absorbers are and how they operate are very well articulated. It gives a solid understanding of their function.

  4. The information provided about how the struts work and their components is very insightful. It provides a clear picture of their functionality in a vehicle’s suspension system.

  5. The layout of the comparison table is very organized and makes it easier to understand the distinctions between shocks and struts.

  6. This article is an excellent resource for car owners, providing valuable information about shocks and struts. It’s very well-written.


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