Shocks and struts both have an integral role to play in a vehicle’s suspension system. They ensure the feel of a smooth drive. They seem very alike and almost sound as they are one thing, but they are in fact two completely different parts.
Also known as, shock absorbers. They are key in your suspension. Impact and rebound movement of your vehicle’s springs and suspension are controlled by shock absorbers. Shock absorbers assure that the vehicle’s wheels are in contact with the roads surface at all times. They most basic definition of shock absorbers is that they absorb energy. They take the hard knock of impact so you don’t have to. When you don’t have shocks, your wheel tends to bump on the road and frequently lose contact just to make contact again, like bouncing and they will also vibrate erratically on rougher roads.
Shock absorbers are comprised of a piston, hydraulic fluid and a coil. When the wheel finds itself in a bumpy position like in a pothole, etc. the shocks start a compression cycle. So what happens is the piston exerts pressure on the hydraulic fluid (found in the upper chamber of the device), they hydraulic fluid purposes to slow the coil down as it relaxes back into place. This process is what makes the car ride feel smooth.
Struts are found at the front-end of nearly every front-wheel-drive vehicle. Struts integrate many different suspension parts into one assembly. The compact assembly consists of the coil spring, the spring seats, shock absorbers, strut bearing and the steering knuckle. The part of the strut that is the shock absorber is the most commonly serviced part of the strut. The coil spring support the vehicle and adjust to vehicle irregularities, the struts connect the upper bearing to the lower ball joint. This accomplishes that the entire assembly pivot when the vehicle is turned in any direction. Struts are multi-purposed. The internal shock-absorber will dampen the movement of the spring as it constricts and rebounds while vehicle is in motion. With the spring it will support the weight of the vehicle in motion so that it can adapt top road irregularities. Shocks absorb impact, whereas struts serve to support and control the vehicle while it’s moving.
When should you replace them?
You should replace them when you see a fluid leak. You should replace them when they look dented or damaged and when your tyres show unusual wear patterns. If your car ride is bumpy or shaky it could be a shock fault and also if you have poor steering response, stiffness when steering or noises when steering. Another tell-tale sign is in stability when applying your brakes. When your mileage has reached between 80k-160k kilometres with shocks and struts it is also worth checking if they haven’t worn out yet.
Driving without shocks and struts is not particularly safe for your vehicle. You are probably wondering how long would you be able to drive with bad shocks and struts? Well, when you want to replace shocks or struts as a preventive maintenance option which means they function, but have almost reached the end of the lifespan then they are safe to drive with. If your shocks/struts are worn or are weak then they are also safe to drive till you have found a workshop. If your shocks/struts are blown, bent or broken anywhere then they are definitely not safe to drive with
Not replacing shocks/struts when you are supposed to also places pressure on other parts of your suspension which acts as a catalyst to their wear and tear. Such parts include ball joints, steering linkage, springs and CV-joints. You should never use shortcuts when it comes to shocks and struts because having these parts function properly is what allows you the safest driving conditions.
Here at VAG Spec centre we do replacement of suspension parts. If you have been experiencing any of these problems while driving be sure to give us a call and make your booking. Driving should be the most blissful experience.