Posted under Car Suspension

Shocks vs. struts? What’s that? A battle of the bands? A heavyweight boxing match? Shocks and struts are essential components of your vehicle’s suspension system, which smooths the ride and makes it easier to handle by absorbing the impact of road irregularities, reducing the bounce when you drive over bumps, and minimizing body roll during turns. The suspension system needs shocks and/or struts to function properly and keep you rolling along. So, what’s the difference between shocks and struts?

What Are Struts and What Do They Do?

Struts are structural components of the suspension system that are commonly used in four-wheel-drive vehicles. With their more complex design, struts integrate various parts — including a spring and shock absorbers — into one compact, efficient unit. 

Struts serve two primary functions:

●    They compress and decompress to absorb and reduce the impact of road irregularities, such as potholes and bumps, allowing them to adjust to changes in road conditions.
●    They serve as a major suspension component and act to keep the wheels aligned, which is critical for safe, efficient driving.

What Are Shocks and What Do They Do?

Shocks, or shock absorbers, typically consist of pistons, cylinders, and fluid. Their primary function is to absorb and dampen the shock from the road. When a vehicle hits a bump or a pothole, the springs in the suspension system compress. The shocks control the springs' compression and rebound, preventing them from oscillating and causing the vehicle to bounce excessively.

While shocks and struts help absorb road impact, their difference lies primarily in their design and functionality. Shocks are standalone components usually located behind the tires that work alongside a separately mounted spring. On the other hand, struts combine shocks and spring into one unit and are part of the suspension's system structure. Additionally, shocks can't support the vehicle's weight or affect its alignment like struts.

Why Are Struts and Shocks Important?

Worn shocks and struts can affect your vehicle's ride, handling, and safety. So even if you're between scheduled maintenance visits, don't ignore the telltale signs of common suspension problems, including:

●    A persistent rattle that may get worse while/after hitting a bump
●    A very bumpy ride, marked by bouncing and vibrations
●    The vehicle pulling to one side
●    A momentary loss of control, especially when coming out of a turn
●    Uneven tire wear

Jiffy Lube Can Service Your Suspension

As soon as you suspect there’s an issue with your suspension, bring your vehicle to your local Jiffy Lube® for suspension service, where a trained technician will:

●    Ask about your driving style. Finding out if you have been carrying heavy cargo or towing a trailer or boat helps the technician isolate the problem.
●    Inquire about where you have driven lately. Road construction, potholes, and ditches can all be tough on the suspension system.
●    Visually inspect your vehicle’s suspension system, which is standard with every Jiffy Lube Signature Service® Oil Change.
●    Perform further diagnostic tests, if necessary. This will only occur after the technician explains why these tests are needed and with your approval.
●    Examine key components. Shocks, struts, ball joints, and springs are among the parts that may need to be replaced. You can rest assured that any new parts will meet or exceed OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) recommendations.
●    Provide a written estimate of any recommended work. The technician will welcome your questions and await your approval before the work is done.

NOTE: Not all services are offered at all Jiffy Lube service centers. Please call ahead or check to ensure the service is available at the Jiffy Lube location near you.