Your car’s suspension system consists of three primary components – shock absorbers, springs, and struts. You’ve heard of shocks and struts, but do you really know what they do? They don’t just provide a smooth, comfortable ride – they help the control and handling qualities of your vehicle. Without shocks and struts, a vehicle would bounce down the road, making driving extremely difficult, not to mention dangerous. Shocks and struts are considered critical to the safe operation of your vehicle – they are designed to help keep your tires on the road and you in control of your vehicle.
Shock absorbers control the energy, or absorb the spring, of the springs to prevent bottoming out. So, when you hit a pothole, the bottom of your car doesn’t smash into the ground. The shocks, struts, and springs work together and keep the movement of the car under control as it moves down the road, over bumps, around corners and curves.
The shock absorbers simply keep the car from bouncing. They are designed to absorb the vertical energy of the wheels moving up and down as they react to irregularities in the road surface. What shock absorbers do is allow the car’s frame and body to ride smoothly while the wheels move over the bumps in the road. Basically, the shocks do the vertical moving so the car’s body remains stable.
Struts are a structural part of the suspension system mounted to the chassis of the vehicle to hold the shocks in place. They control spring and suspension movement, which keeps tires in contact with the road. Struts are more expensive, but have a longer life than normal shock absorbers. The McPherson strut suspension system, which is used by most vehicles today, combines coil springs and shocks into one unit.
Shocks, springs, and struts working together serve to absorb energy from bumpy roads and dissipate it without causing a lot of vibration or noise in the vehicle. They minimize the bouncing, swaying, and rocking of the vehicle’s weight up and down, side to side, and front to back. This shifting of weight can reduce tire traction, hamper performance, and become a safety issue. The shocks and struts also help transfer the weight of the car during cornering, keeping the car from tipping too far to one side and keeping the tires on the road.
As with all parts and systems on your car, the shock absorption system and its individual parts wear out and must be replaced. Work shocks and struts not only affect the ride and performance of your car, but can contribute to other problems, such as alignment, tire wear, steering, and braking. If your car rocks, sways, or bounces up and down a lot during normal driving, cornering, and braking it is probably time to schedule an appointment at your local AAMCO Colorado dealership and have your suspension system checked by a certified mechanic. Schedule an appointment with your local AAMCO Colorado location today.
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