Although shocks and struts are used interchangeably, they are two different parts. Struts function differently from shocks and therefore, one cannot replace the other. However, they both work to keep your car from bouncing up and down when you hit a bump or a pothole.
What are struts?
A strut is an auto part that is made up of a coil spring and a shock absorber. In other words, it is a shock absorber that is attached to a coil spring. And its work is to support the weight of your vehicle.
Struts also help in positioning the wheel of your car. They keep the wheel at the right angle, which enables you to have solid control of your wheel while driving.
What are shocks?
A shock absorber is a device designed to keep’s your car from bouncing while you are driving on a rough surface. It ensures that the quality of your ride is smooth and comfortable despite the road condition.
It’s important to know that shocks have nothing to do with the height of the car. All they do is absorb the effects or vibrations while rough road driving.
One big advantage they have over struts is that they enable you to better control your car, especially when driving on a rough road.
Types of shocks
Basically, the two most common types of shocks are twin-tube shocks and monotube shocks.
Twin-tube shocks are the most common shocks and they are used by trucks and passenger cars. As the name suggests, a twin-tube shock has two tubes. An outer cylinder and an inner cylinder. Between the cylinders, there are special valves that control oil flow to control the motion of the wheel. This enables you to have better control of your car.
However, twin-tubes are not designed for rough road driving. This is because they lack a special piston called a free piston, which helps prevent foaming by keeping the oil and gas within the cylinders separate. So when under pressure, the oil overheats and as a result, the shocks are not able to properly control the motion of the wheel.
So generally, they are designed for smooth road driving and for light vehicles.
Monotube shocks have one cylinder. So all its components are housed in one body. And unlike twin-tube shocks, monotube shocks have a free-piston which helps prevent foaming. This is why they are the better option for rough road driving than twin-tubes.
Because when under immense pressure, the oil within the shocks doesn’t overheat thereby preventing fading or shock damage.
For example monotube shocks are the best shocks for towing ford f150.
Should you use struts or shocks in your vehicle?
Struts and shocks do the same thing. They keep your car steady and balanced. But they both function differently to keep your car from bouncing.
While struts keep the wheel motion in control, shocks are designed to absorb shocks or vibrations. So when it comes to keeping your car balanced especially when driving on a rough road, shocks do a better job than struts.
Also, shocks are designed for heavy-duty vehicles and struts are designed for light vehicles. So if you use your car for hauling or towing or drive it often on rough roads, then you should use shocks.
Shocks do well on rough roads than struts. But for smooth road driving, you can use either. You may go for struts because they are cheaper than shocks. But they don’t have a shorter lifespan than shocks.
So you are better off buying shocks even though there are more expensive because they last longer than struts. Plus with shocks, you are not limited to driving on smooth roads alone. You can enjoy off-road driving and not worry about the strength and performance of the shocks.
How often should I replace my shocks or struts?
According to auto experts, you should replace struts or shocks after every 50,000miles. Or when you notice your car is behaving differently. Some of the tale-tell signs that your car needs new shocks include braking problems, steering problems, and cupped tires.
Struts and shocks are important because they keep your car from bouncing by keeping it steady and balanced when driving. And when choosing which ones to install in your car, this may depend on the road condition and type of car.
For heavy-duty vehicles, shocks are the more ideal option. Struts are great for light vehicles. Also, for off-road driving, go with shocks instead of struts because shocks do a better job on rough roads.