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Do Cars Have Struts and Shocks?

Do Cars Have Struts and Shocks?

Have you ever hit a bump in the road that shook you more than you were expecting and wonder if your car has struts and shocks? If so, you’re not alone in wondering what these key pieces of your vehicle’s suspension do.

Every car uses struts or shocks for its suspension system, and sometimes even a combination of both. However, each wheel only uses a strut or a shock. A typical combination would involve using struts on the front wheels and shocks for the back wheels.

 Struts tend to be more common than shocks. But, that’s not always the case! Let’s take a deeper look to learn more about how struts and shocks are used in cars.

Do All Cars Have Struts and Shocks?

Struts help to absorb bumps in the road. They do a lot more than just that, though. They also connect to your steering assembly. And, they support the vehicle’s weight.

Shocks only absorb bumps. They don’t have anything to do with your steering. And, they’re not part of the vehicle’s frame. As such, they’re a simpler component overall.

All cars have at least one of these two, but some use a combination of both!

Struts and shocks perform a similar job. They’re meant to dampen bumps in the road.

However, you can’t replace a strut with a shock or vice versa!

A strut is part of your vehicle’s steering system. As such, you can adjust your camber by adjusting the strut. They’ll also have a great impact on your tire alignment.

Struts are where the steering system pivots. They’re its pivot point. Usually, they’ve got a set of springs on them as well.

Struts are integral to your vehicle’s suspension. If you removed them, you’d fall straight to the floor. That’s not true whenever we’re talking about shocks, though.

Shocks help to absorb energy from the road, reducing bumps. They’re not meant to hold the vehicle’s weight.

Shocks are built around an enclosed piston. These usually contain some sort of gas or liquid. When you hit a bump, the piston resists the impact. That minimizes any bumps you feel while driving.

How to Know If Your Car Has Shocks or Struts?

You can tell whether you’ve got shocks or struts by looking at them. Since they’re different components, they use different designs.

Take a look at the absorber on yours. If it connects directly to the steering assembly, you’ve got a strut. If there’s a single bolt, then you’ve got a shock.

You can also look for coil springs. These are part of a loaded strut. Loaded struts contain everything needed for the part’s function. At the top, you’ll see the strut mount. Strut mounts attach the strut to the vehicle’s body.

There’s also a strut bumper. These prevent metal-on-metal contact between strut elements.

Coil springs attach near the top of them, too. It’s a helix wire that wraps around the strut. Shocks have them, too.

Shocks have a lot of the same parts, but they’re not the same. Shocks don’t hold the vehicle’s weight entirely. They won’t attach to the steering assembly. So, if you notice that, you’ve got a shock.

Do Most Cars Have Shocks or Struts?

All cars have one of them at least. A lot of them use one on some wheels and the other for the rest.

Most commonly, you’ll see struts on the front wheels. That’s because they’re an essential part of the steering assembly. Plus, they function as part of the suspension system as well.

If your back wheels don’t turn, they might have shocks. Shocks are simpler components, but they get the job done. They’ll dampen any bumps in the road.

Struts tend to be more common than shocks usually. So, if you’re placing a bet, you’ve probably got struts. An experienced mechanic would be able to tell you for sure, though.

How Many Shocks and Struts Are on a Vehicle?

You’ll have as many of them as there are wheels on the vehicle. For most vehicles, that means you’ve got 4 of them. A motorcycle would only have 2.

They’ll be on each of the wheels. Most of the time, you’ve got 2 struts on the front. And, you’ll have 2 shocks on the rear. However, it’s different for every vehicle.

Some trucks use struts for all 4. So, you’ll have 4 struts. But, you won’t have any shocks at all.

Most of the time, cars have 2 struts on the front wheels. And, they’ll have 2 shocks on the rear ones. That’s not a guaranteed rule, though.

It’s possible for a vehicle to use 4 shocks. But, it’s uncommon. Most of the time, they’ve got at least 2 struts.

What’s the Difference Between Shocks and Struts?

Shocks and struts are used interchangeably a lot. However, they’re completely different components. Struts connect to a vehicle’s steering assembly. And, they’re meant to support the vehicle’s weight.

Shocks only attach to the wheel. They’re not part of the steering assembly. And, they don’t support the vehicle’s weight.

Both parts usually have coil springs to help absorb bumps. But, struts are more complicated overall. They’ve got more components to them in general.

Shocks aren’t an integral part of the vehicle. Without them, you’d still be able to drive. It’d just be rather bumpy. You wouldn’t absorb any of the bumps in the road. So, your car would slam down anytime you’re passive over them.

Struts are essential for an automobile’s function. Without them, you won’t be able to move at all. Your car wouldn’t be able to steer. And, it’d fall on the ground without anything to support it.

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!