Shock absorbers or shocks were built to help absorb the up-and-down shock created by the springs whenever a vehicle hits a bump. Aside from absorbing the impact, they also keep the car or truck easily maneuverable even after a bumpy ride. The absence of shock absorbers would definitely result to a bouncing ride as energy is stored in the spring and then released to the vehicle, oftentimes exceeding the permitted range of suspension movement.
Most spring-based shock absorbers employ coil springs or leaf springs, though torsion bars can be used in torsional shocks as well. Springs alone are not shock absorbers as they only store and do not distribute or absorb energy. Modern vehicles typically use both springs or torsion bars along with hydraulic shock absorbers. With this setup, the shock absorber is reserved specifically for the hydraulic piston that takes in the vibration.
Today's technologically-advanced shock absorbers are fitted with velocity hydraulic damping devices which provide increased speed in the movement of the suspension to attain greater resistance. The result is a versatile shock absorber that can easily adopt to various road conditions. The effects of constant bounce, sway, brake dive and acceleration squat are thus significantly reduced.
Current designs of shock absorbers are either in twin tube designs and mono tube designs. A twin tube shock absorber is made up of an inner and outer tube that work seamlessly together to achieve its intended purpose while a mono tube is made up of one tube mounted in an upside down position to help reduce the load.
Shock Absorber and Strut Kit Buyer's Guide
- The shock absorber is a mechanism that dampens, shakes, and bounces when driving on rough and uneven roads
- The suspension strut is a damping mechanism basically acts as a shock absorber that provides structural support by carrying the weight of the vehicle
- OEM replacement shock absorber and strut kits can cost anywhere between $30 and $3,300
- These kits are available individually, but it is recommended to replace them in sets of two or four.
Shock absorber and strut kits are simple mechanisms that work to provide a smooth ride and handling to a car. As part of the suspension system, they help vehicles adjust to varying road conditions while minimizing unwanted motions.
In a nutshell, this component controls the up and down movement of the wheels so the car’s body doesn’t bounce excessively. Each assembly is made from shock absorbers, struts, and springs. The shock absorber and strut kit combine these three important parts into one easily serviceable component. To understand what this kit is for, let’s take a closer look at what these parts are and how they function in a vehicle.
What are the shock absorbers?
The shock absorber is a component of a vehicle’s suspension system that plays a key part in improving ride quality. As its name suggests, it is a mechanism that dampens, shakes, and bounces when driving on rough and uneven roads. It is commonly confused with springs because they have a similar use yet they function differently.
Springs vs shock absorbers
Springs work by storing energy, while shock absorbers work to dissipate energy. Let’s say you made a quick turn and your car leans on one side. Without the shock absorber, the spring will store the energy and push the car to lean on the opposite side.
Dampening the movement and dissipating the energy keeps your car stable and prevents rolling from one side to the other. The resistance from shock absorbers also depends on the velocity of movement. Quick movements are absorbed more, while slow movements are absorbed less.
How does a shock absorber work?
Over the years, engineers have innovated on the design of shock absorbers and have developed several kinds of valves. However, its basic design has remained unchanged for almost a century.
Shocks are basically hydraulic chambers with an internal perforated piston and rod. This sealed chamber can either be hydraulic or pneumatic. Hydraulic chambers are filled with hydraulic fluid, while pneumatic ones are filled with compressed gas.
When a car drives over uneven surfaces, the shock causes the piston to move into the chamber. This movement is dampened by gas or fluid in the chamber. This resistance controls the movement of the rod as the gas or liquid it is forced to pass through the piston’s tiny holes.
Types of shock absorbers
This type of shock absorber is most commonly found in cars, SUVs, vans, and light trucks. As its name suggests, it is made up of two cylinders: an inner cylinder where the piston moves and an outer cylinder which acts as a reservoir for the hydraulic fluid.
The monotube design is comprised of a single cylinder which is divided into sections. The chamber is split into two separate areas that hold gas and fluid. The internal piston of monotube shock absorbers is wider than that of a twin-tube.
What are Struts?
The suspension strut is a damping mechanism basically acts as a shock absorber that provides structural support by carrying the weight of the vehicle. It is mounted inside a coil spring, combining the spring and shock absorber into one component. The strut also plays a role in the car’s alignment and steering system.
Most of today’s cars are fitted with a MacPherson strut suspension. This type of strut is connected to the body of the vehicle and the hub carrier. It is normally used on the front wheels because it doesn’t take up a lot of space horizontally, unlike a double-wishbone suspension. For such a simple mechanism, it has a significant role in making a car’s ride smooth.
How much do shock absorber and strut kits cost?
OEM replacement shock absorber and strut kits can cost anywhere between $30 and $3,300. These kits are available individually, but it is recommended to replace them in sets.
Advantages of having a good shock absorber and strut kit
The benefits of having a good shock absorber and strut kit can be described by 3 C’s.
Unlike tires that make a certain number of rotations based on mileage, your suspension system will go through countless compressions in a single mile. The condition of your shocks and struts affect its ability to absorb vibration and imperfections of the road. Having a good kit installed gives a car a smoother ride, and lessens bouncing even when driven over bumps and uneven terrain.
One of the functions of a car’s suspension system is to help the tires maintain contact with the road. Shocks and struts maintain vehicle stability by controlling how weight is shifted between the wheels. When a car puts all its weight on one side during cornering, it doesn’t roll over because of the force of the shocks on the other side which pushes the wheel out towards the road’s surface.
Most importantly, good shocks and struts help in improving a vehicle’s handling. This means that the car can brake without the front-end diving onto the pavement.
Important Facts You Need to Know About Shock Absorber and Strut Assembly
The springs, shock absorbers, and struts of your suspension work well as a team. So be sure to keep them together with the help of a Strut Assembly.
Is driving over small humps or bumps on the road making your car bounce like a hyperactive child overdosed with sugar? Then there might be a problem with your suspension system. As you know, the suspension system has many parts, and one of those you need to focus on is your strut assembly.
The strut assembly dampens the up-and-down movement of your car’s suspension spring, much like the shock absorbers. But unlike shock absorbers, strut assemblies are made up of more than just one part like the lower and upper spring seat, the isolated top mount (usually made from rubber), the coil spring, and the coil spring insulator. Aside from ensuring premium ride quality by keeping your travels as smooth and bounce-free as possible, strut assemblies also keep the different parts of your suspension system aligned and separate from each other.
Most cars with strut assemblies have one suspension strut at each wheel. When one of the components in the assembly fails, the entire strut has to be replaced. Common symptoms of a busted strut assembly include excessive auto bouncing and oil leakage. If you experience any of these symptoms, invest in replacement strut assemblies as soon as you can.
How Shocks & Struts Works For Your Car
Hate the bumpy feeling that your car makes you go through when you’re driving on rough roads? Get rid of it by installing a set of Shocks & Struts today.
Is your vehicle too unstable when you drive over bumpy roads? Don’t ignore this problem. Check your vehicle’s suspension system right away. Your vehicle’s shocks and struts might be at fault. As crucial parts of the suspension system, the shocks and struts must always be in top shape. When damaged, these parts can make your ride uncomfortable and dangerous. .
The shocks are responsible for absorbing and dissipating the vibrations caused when your vehicle drives over road irregularities. These suspension parts allow you to enjoy relatively smooth and bump-free driving. The struts, on the other hand, integrate different suspension parts into one compact assembly. The strut assembly performs various tasks. This assembly supports the vehicle’s weight while the vehicle adapts to road irregularities. The strut assembly’s parts also dampen the vibrations caused by coil spring compression. Without the shocks and struts, you might experience a significant loss of vehicle control.
The quality and comfort of your ride greatly depends on the working condition of your vehicle’s adjustable shocks and struts. Hence, you need to replace them when damaged. Replacing damaged parts as soon as you can also prevents other possible suspension problems. Looking for the best replacement auto parts is never a hard task if you shop at the right store. We stock premium shocks and struts for various makes and models. Check them out here!
Shock Absorber and Strut Assembly: What Every Car Owner Should Know
Avoid getting your behind battered and bruised whenever your car goes through rough terrain. Equip your suspension system with a quality Shock Absorber.
Did you know that the Shock Absorber is the central component in your suspension system that helps preserve your vehicle’s ride quality? While it may not be the most vital part of your ride, it does play an important role in keeping you and your passengers comfortable during your travel. Shock absorbers help reduce the up-and-down movement of your vehicle each time you drive off-road or through road irregularities. These components keep your trips generally smooth and bounce-free.
Each Shock Absorber is designed to help dissipate the movement generated by your suspension spring. As you travel, the spring compresses and rebounds, oscillating movements every time you drive on uneven ground. And while we all could enjoy a little bounce in our rides once in a while, it stops being fun when your teeth chatter continuously and your head keeps hitting your car’s roof because your vehicle refuses to quit swaying or bouncing. It also becomes far less amusing the moment you realize how difficult it is to control a bucking ride. This is why it pays to have a great set of shock absorbers installed in your suspension system.
Unfortunately, shock absorbers are pretty much prone to damage caused by the extreme operating temperatures in your suspension system. If you have damaged shock absorbers, your best option is to look for a great set of durable replacement shock absorbers as soon as you can.
Strut Assembly: Just the Facts
It's not the early 1900s, so why are you bouncing around in your ride as if modern suspension equipment hadn't been invented yet? It's probably because you're in need of a new strut assembly. A typical assembly will consist of DOM tubing, piston rods, bushings, shock boots, and pistons, which will aid you in properly installing a new strut. You owe the smooth and comfortable ride that you enjoy so much to your auto's fully-functional strut. Most modern vehicles come with struts in the front and rear, both of which are designed to dampen the impact inflicted by rough terrains. Your front strut assembly is specifically designed to keep your auto cruising smoothly by absorbing the forces caused by road irregularities.
Given the harsh conditions that your struts are faced with everyday, you mustn't be surprised when they end up being pretty worn out after some time. When your struts break, you'll likely experience excessive bouncing, jerking, swerving, and nose-diving whenever you hit the brakes. This can be very uncomfortable for you and your passengers, and that's why you should buy a new strut assembly.
A brand-new strut assembly comes with everything you may need to adequately hook up your new struts to your vehicle. This assembly contains all kinds of useful hardware that are made from solid materials, which guarantees that they'll function properly and for a very long time. An aftermarket assembly is also prepared to match your ride's exact year, make, and model, allowing you to breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to compatibility. In addition to that, with this assembly, you'll be able to install your new strut with tremendous ease and without the need for a mechanic or heavy machinery. So if you want your ride to provide you with a smooth drive, then buy it a new strut assembly ASAP.
The Automobile Basics: Shock Absorber and Strut Assembly
Black and Blue is the title of former boy band Backstreet Boys' album. It was also the title of The Rolling Stones' album that was released way back in 1976. The title is very catchy isn't it? It sounds great when used to refer to a CD. How about hearing those two words applied to a hapless person who got mugged? Not very pleasant now, is it? If a car's Shock Absorber is not working as it should, it won't be long before these adjectives become applicable to the car's occupants. The driver and his passengers may end up with black and blue bruises if the cars shock is unable to control the body's bounce every time it hits a pothole or uneven terrain. Among the suspension system components, the Shock Absorber is the one accountable for absorbing the released energy of the springs. Treading the punishing terrain, the suspension system's spring gets compressed. When it expands, the force or energy is has is automatically transferred to the shock where it is dispersed. Without the Shock Absorber to dissipate the absorbed energy, that car will just continue to bounce out and about until all of it has been used up. Aside from giving bruises to the occupants, a defective shock absorber can also make handling and overall vehicle control very difficult.
The Automobile Basics: Shock Absorber and Strut Assembly - Part II
When suspension comes into mind, there can only be shock absorbers to think of. This is actually just one part of that system but it seems that it is the most important one. An automobile can have a Front Shock Absorber as well as a rear one, depending on the configuration. There are independent suspension systems like the MacPherson strut that uses front suspension along in the assembly. This strut is already the front suspension of the vehicle with all the important parts rolled into one. For example, it already includes the Front Shock Absorber housed with the coil spring and works as a structural assembly under the vehicle-all in one. This is usually the design of more modern and newer vehicles. Whether as part of a strut or just plain and simple shock absorber, it is still designed with piston and cylinder. This absorber smoothes all bumps and road irregularities from being transferred to the body where it can be felt by the passengers. This process is known as dampening, which is why shock absorbers are also dubbed as dampers. Letting all those impacts reach passengers will only expose them to dizzying and uncomfortable rides. But this does not mean that automobiles equipped with one or two will not encounter bumpy rides. When the Front Shock Absorber or the rear is damaged or is just not working perfectly, expect all road irregularities to be felt. On top of that, it can also cause damage to other suspension parts.
Choosing the Right Shock and Strut Assembly for Your Ride
The shock absorber and strut assembly are two of the most important components of your car's suspension system. When both of these components are already damaged, you can expect a tougher time handling your car because the suspension system isn't performing at 100 percent.
Now if you're planning to replace the damaged shocks and strut assembly of your vehicle, here are the things that you have to consider first.
How to shop for a shock absorber
How to shop for a strut assembly
- Most shocks in vehicles have a "twin tube" design while others are "gas charged". On the other hand, some other shocks are "monotube" and they're reserved for high-performance applications. The point is, it's important that you determine the kind of shocks that your car has before you start to buy.
- As a general rule, the OEM manufacturer of the shocks of your car is your best option if you're looking for a replacement. That's because OEM shocks last longer than what their warranty indicates. Now if you plan to bring your vehicle into the race track, brands such as Eibach and Bilstein are solid options as well.
- If in case you're planning to have a mechanic install your brand-new shocks, tell him right away so they he will be able to adjust his service rates.
- When replacing your car's damaged strut assembly, there are two options available for you: a "complete strut assembly" or the "bare strut".
- By replacing the damaged system with a complete strut assembly, you might end up spending more as compared to replacing just one part. Then again, you'll be saving more money in the long run because you won't have to worry about replacing the components individually.
- With a complete strut assembly, you'll be able to replace the worn our springs that you car has been using for a long time.
- With a bare strut, believe it or not, you'll be spending more time during the installation process because you still have to figure out where you put the replacement strut in the entire assembly.
It's important that your car's shocks and strut assembly are in good shape so that handling and steering your vehicle won't be an issue at all. If you really want the best experience as far as your suspension system is concerned, you better be very careful if you're considering buying brand-new shocks and strut assembly.
Shock Absorber Removal and Strut Assembly Installation
Although the shock absorber and strut assembly are pretty reliable components, you still need to carry out a few maintenance procedures in order to prevent them from getting damaged prematurely. Then again, if you no longer have any choice, you better act fast and install a new one right away. Here are a few steps that you can follow when installing brand-new shock absorbers and strut assembly.
Shock absorber installation guide
Difficulty Level: Difficult
- Floor jack
- Flat-head screwdriver
Step 1: Using a floor jack, raise your vehicle so you could easily see the shocks that you intend to replace.
Step 2: Remove the lug nuts using a ratchet, pull the wheel so that you'll be able to see the shocks clearly.
Step 3: Remove the clips in the brake line using a flat-head screwdriver. In some vehicles, you may skip this step.
Step 4: Remove the top nut of the damaged shocks using a wrench and then proceed in detaching the washer and bushing.
Step 5: By removing the nuts below the shocks, you may now detach the damaged absorber from the suspension system.
Step 6:You can now install your brand-new shock absorber by following the instructions in the service manual.
Strut assembly installation guide
Before you can start installing your brand-new strut assembly, removing the damaged one is the first thing that you have to do. The instructions written here are simply general guidelines and they're not applicable to all kinds of vehicle make and model.
Difficulty Level: Difficult
- Nut drivers
- Torque Wrench
- Cordless Drill
- Hole Saw
- Floor Jack
- Spring Compressor
Step 1: Park your vehicle and remove the hub caps before raising it using a floor jack.
Step 2: Use a floor jack to raise your vehicle and then secure it using jack stands.
Step 3: Remove the front wheels, front wheel lugs, and the top nuts.
Step 4: Remove the bolts that hold the secure the strut assembly and that would enable you to remove the strut assembly from your vehicle.
Step 5: Using a spring compressor, compress the spring and proceed to removing the top nut and retainer washer.
Step 6: Install the new strut assembly in place and while doing so, install the retaining washer and the top nut.
Step 7: Torque the top nut by following the specifications of the vehicle's manufacturer. You can find the instructions using the vehicle manual.
Step 8: If there are any clips that you have removed, reattach them to the strut assembly.
Step 9: Test your vehicle and figure out whether the brand-new strut assembly "feels" alright. Inspect the strut assembly once again to ensure that no untoward incidents would happen.
Step 10: Perform a vehicle "alignment" so that all the angles are accurate. If you're not familiar with vehicle alignment procedures, don't hesitate to call a mechanic to help you out.
Choosing a New Strut Assembly: Twin-tube or Monotube?
Is your vehicle showing signs of worn-out struts such as poor ride control and handling, fluid leaks, suspension noise, and a variety of steering problems? If you’ve observed or experienced most of these signs, it’s time to take a look at your vehicle’s struts. Once you’ve confirmed that the culprit behind these car problems is a worn-out strut assembly, replace it as soon as you can. But before you grab the first strut kit you see, you need to know first which type will suit your vehicle and needs best. To help you on this, here’s the lowdown on the two basic types of strut assemblies:Twin tube
As its name suggests, this assembly uses two tubes or cylinders—inner and outer. The inner cylinder, also known as the working cylinder, is where the shaft and piston are located. The outer cylinder, on the other hand, functions as a hydraulic fluid reservoir. This strut design involves several valves that offer additional damping force and control the flow of fluids between the two cylinders. A twin-tube assembly is used on a variety of non-performance vehicles as a factory built kit. So if you’re looking for a replacement strut assembly for your car’s factory struts, a twin tube type is a good choice.Monotube
A monotube assembly features a single tube or cylinder. This cylinder is then divided into two parts: a gas chamber and a fluid chamber. The fluid chamber is similar to a twin tube’s inner cylinder this is where the piston and shaft move up and down. Compared to a twin tube, a monotube has a larger diameter. To separate the monotube’s two parts, a seal and floating piston is used. Because of its design, this type of strut assembly offers a more aggressive movement. This is why this design is included as a factory kit on certain performance and racing vehicles. It’s also the perfect kit if you wish to upgrade a suitable vehicle that originally came with twin tube struts since it offers higher performance capabilities. However, before you upgrade to a monotube assembly, make sure first that your vehicle’s suspension system can handle more aggressive struts.
How to Install a Strut Assembly like a Pro
Your car’s strut assembly offers structural support for the suspension and dampening features, so its components are made to withstand lots of movement, friction, and heavy load. Over time, however, it will wear out. Good thing replacing it is manageable as long as you have the skills and tools. Here’s what to do:Difficult level: ModerateTools required:
- Coil spring compressor
- Jack and jack stands
- Lug wrench
Step 1: Loosen the lug nuts of the front wheels with a lug wrench, but don’t remove these nuts yet. Remove the hub caps if needed. Then jack up your car and support it with jack stands.
Step 2: Remove the lug nuts in order to remove the front wheels. Depending on your car make and model, you might need to remove brake line clips or other parts to get access to the struts.
Step 3: Remove the old strut assembly’s top nuts using a socket or wrench. However, don’t remove the center nut. Mark the lower mounting location of the strut on the hub for easier installation later on.
Step 4: Unscrew the bolts that link the struts to the hub and pull out the strut assembly from the car. Then mark the top mounting location for future reference.
Step 5: While the old strut kit is placed on a work bench, compress the spring with a spring compressor so you could remove the retaining washer and top center nut. Pull out the strut assembly, starting from the lower part of the spring.
Step 6: Slide the new strut kit into the spring and reposition the top mount, using the mark you’ve made as a guide. Then reinstall the top nut and retaining washer. Tighten the top nut by following torque specifications. Carefully loosen the compressor to remove it from the struts.
Step 7: Attach the new assembly to your vehicle, making sure that you follow the old assembly’s exact position. Loosely reattach the top mounting nuts of the assembly to attach it onto the engine compartment frame. Adjust the bottom mount until it’s perfectly aligned with the marks you made earlier. Then torque the bolts and top nuts according to the manufacturer’s torque specifications.
Step 8: Reinstall all the other parts you’ve removed—brake line clips, wheels, and hubcaps. Take the car for a test drive.