You may know of shocks and struts. You may even have an idea of what are shock absorbers which sometimes are just referenced as shocks. However, you may be more perplexed at what are struts. Some people may even think they are the same thing. This is not a good understanding of these things work.
What you need to know
What you need to know is a strut is only one component in the complete setup for a suspension system. The suspension system is the section of the vehicle that connects to the wheel to stabilize the driving performance.
The struts are included in vehicle design for three primary purposes. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle some of these aspects can be more important than others. The first is that the struts are designed to support the vehicle steadily. The second is that the struts are designed to smooth out driving when encountering road imperfections. The third is the steering of a vehicle can be significantly impacted by struts. Many people do not know this, but the steering system can be considered part of the suspension system. It is imperative for stable driving.
The strut can be understood as a grouping of parts. It can mean only the parts of the shock absorber; typically it references an assembly of the spring and shock. The spring looks like a coil. It is this coil that carries the weight of the vehicle. The spring takes the brutal impact of driving on bumpy driving surfaces. The shock absorber works with the spring by dampening the vibration, so the vehicle does not bounce and jerk as much. The combination of the two creates stronger engineering for smoother driving.
While struts are important, some vehicles do not use them. This is for various reasons depending on what may be the intended driving conditions. In some cases, only the front or wheel wheels will have struts. This again is done with consideration for the types of intended driving conditions.
Manufacturers will have these variations for several reasons. The most common is simplifying the design of the vehicle so it can be sold at a lower cost. On the opposite end of the cost spectrum, high-end sports cars will avoid struts to allows for better handling and performance. There is no hard or fast rule as to why struts may or not be used.
Struts are designed to last between 50,000 to 100,000 miles. The actual lifespan is dependent on the manufacturer and the type of driving done. Sometimes even before the intended mileage listed above struts can go bad. This is an important issue as bad struts can lead to hazardous driving with the vehicle having less stability.
What do you need to notice for struts that may be having trouble? Some issues include the feel of tires that are sharking or the wheel vibrating when encountering bumpy road conditions. There may be leaking fluid from the strut. Turning or crosswinds may cause the vehicle body to bounce and sway. There may be sounds in a rhythm that sound like knocks, bangs, and clunks. Nonstop bouncing is another sign that your struts may be in trouble.
When to replace
So, what if your struts need to be replaced, what do you need to do? Well, first you should need to know the costs. According to Mogab, a set of struts cost between $725 to $750 with the installation. Of course, this may be cost more or less depending on the year and model of vehicle. Also, note that only replacing the shock absorbers is noticeably cheaper. A good mechanic should be able to replace your struts within two to three hours.
You may be wondering if you can just replace one strut in a car. That is unlikely that only one has been worn out. Most likely all the struts in the vehicle have suffered the same damage and may need to be replaced.
Remember that is it unwise to driving with damaged struts as if they break, they can send the vehicle out of control, and this could lead to death.
I hope the above article has given you a greater understanding of struts and how they used. Awareness of your vehicle is valuable as you maintain your investment in it. Knowing what can go wrong with them is also valuable information to keep you and your passengers safe. Always be sure to take notice of bouncing and unusual sounds. In the case where you are questioning, seek out a good mechanic and get your vehicle checked.