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Car and Truck Shocks and Struts

Struts and shocks are an essential part of the suspension on every car or truck. Shocks are used to help keep the car from bouncing when going over bumpy roads and terrain. Struts provide the car with better handling, but do not provide as much shock absorption.

What are the struts on a car for?

The struts on a car or truck are a mechanical part that look very similar to a shock absorber. The struts are attached to the chassis of the car and mounts to the back of the tire. Struts have a large metal spring attached to them for shock absorption. Struts are generally more cost effective than shocks and many car manufacturers use these to keep new car prices lower.

When should I replace my struts or shock absorbers on my vehicle?

Most vehicle manufacturers recommend that you replace your struts or shock absorber system at 50,000 miles. However, this may not actually be necessary. It is recommended that you have the suspension system checked at 50,000 miles for any signs of wear, but you may not have to replace anything at that time. After this initial check, you should have your suspension system checked yearly or whenever you replace a tire. Additionally, if you are feeling excessive bouncing or hear loud squeaking noises when you hit a bump, it may be time to have your struts checked.

Can you tell when your shocks or struts are bad?

Shocks and struts both affect the way a vehicle handles the road. A bad shock or spring will not prevent the vehicle from bouncing or banging when the tire hits an obstacle in the road. The vehicle may also be more difficult to keep straight on the road because struts can impact the alignment. If your shocks or struts are bad, they will often make a loud squeaking noise. You may also hear a thumping sound if the mounts have broken or come loose. If there are any questions about the integrity of your suspension system, you should have it checked immediately for your safety.

Does the car suspension include every wheel, or just the front?

The suspension on any vehicle is attached to each wheel. It is normal for the front to have a shock absorber system and the back to have struts. However, you can have shocks on all four wheels if you desire. The reason that the suspension often uses shocks in the front of the car is because they provide a smoother ride and that is where the driver is located. Struts often can handle more weight in the vehicle, which is why they are often placed in the back where the trunk is located.