Shock absorbers, or shocks for short and Macpherson Struts, or struts for short are vital components of your vehicle’s suspension system.
To understand the value of these parts, lets look at how they work. All vehicles have a suspension system, which allows the wheels to move up and down independently from the car’s body and frame. Without suspension, every bump in the road would shake and jar you so harshly that walking would be a better alternative than a ride in your car.
The suspension system starts with your wheels: these are attached to your vehicle’s frame with a steering knuckle and a control arm(s); a spring is incorporated to isolate movement and finally a shock absorber to dampen the spring’s bounce. If you have ever driven in a vehicle with worn out shocks you will experience a sickly feeling that comes from excessive spring bounce.
The Macpherson Strut Suspension is a simplified type of suspension system which eliminates the upper control arm and incorporates the shock absorber inside a long tube (strut) along with the spring. While it reduces the number of components, when it comes time to repair, it costs more due to more expensive parts and a larger labour process.
Shocks and struts perform many other critical functions, and while it is obvious when they are fully worn out, replacing them before that happens is critical for safety and to save your money. Many times worn shocks will cause your tires to wear in unusual ways, often damaging tires with otherwise good tread.
Poor shocks also cause your vehicle to dive when braking and this results in longer stopping distances and premature wear to your front brakes. So while replacing shocks and struts may seem unimportant, there are many good reasons to replace them in order to maximize your safety and save your money.