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Posted on Sep 28, 2020
Shock absorbers and struts are the two components of a suspension system. They keep a vehicle balanced and all four wheels running smoothly on the road. In this article, we will tell you how they work and why they are so important.
Shock absorbers and struts are the two parts of the suspension system that keep a car balanced and all four wheels running smoothly on the road. It is advised that the shock absorbers and struts are maintained on a regular basis. Shock absorbers and struts in poor condition may lead to dangerous situations on public roads. Once checked, tire and car service specialists can repair your worn shock absorbers and struts, so your car will perform like new from the car manufacturer.
The suspension in your car is made up of many components, including a set of springs to absorb shocks and road impacts, a set of struts to support your springs, and a set of shock absorbers that limits the rebound of your car by absorbing the residual movement of the suspension springs.
As well-maintained shock absorbers and struts are important for the safety and ease of steering, we strongly recommend that anyone have his or her shock absorbers and struts regularly checked well in advance of the problem. That said, if you notice any of the following signs while you are in your car or looking under the hood, it may warrant a need to take your vehicle to your local service center immediately:
● Excessive bouncing of the vehicle
● The nose of the vehicle drops, especially when stopping
● Vehicle rocks and tilts when making a turn or changing lanes instead
The primary purpose of the shock absorber is to control spring and suspension movement. This is accomplished by turning the kinetic energy of suspension movement into thermal energy, or heat energy, to be dissipated through the hydraulic fluid.
Shock absorbers are basically oil pumps. The piston is attached to the end of the piston rod and acts on the hydraulic fluid in the pressure tube. As the suspension moves up and down, hydraulic fluid is forced through small holes, called nozzles, inside the piston. However, these holes only let a small amount of fluid pass through the plunger. This slows down the piston, thereby slows down the movement of the springs and suspension.
The amount of resistance a shock absorber produces relies on the speed of the suspension, and the number and size of the holes in the piston. All modern shock absorbers are speed-sensitive hydraulic damping devices - meaning that the faster the suspension moves, the more resistance the shock absorber provides. Thanks to this function, your vehicle is able to adapt to any road conditions. As a result, the shock absorbers reduce the speed:
● Roll or sway
● Brake dive and Acceleration squat
Shock absorbers work on the mechanism of fluid displacement on both the compression and extension cycle. A typical vehicle or light truck will have more resistance during its extension cycle than its compression cycle. The compression cycle controls the motion of a vehicle's unsprung weight, while extension controls the heavier sprung weight. The strut is a common damper device used on many of today's independent suspension, front-wheel drive vehicles, and some rear-wheel-drive vehicles. A strut is a major structural component of a suspension. It takes the place of the upper control arm and upper ball joint used in conventional suspensions. Because of its design, a strut is less and occupies less space than a shock absorber in conventional suspension systems.
Struts perform two major functions. First, they perform a damping function just like shock absorbers. Internally, a strut is similar to a shock absorber, with a piston is attached to the end of the piston rod and works against hydraulic fluid to control spring and suspension movement. The shock absorber piston attaches to the piston rod and acts against the hydraulic fluid to control the spring and suspension. Like shock absorbers, valves resist the forces generated by the up and down movement of the suspension. Like shock absorbers, the strut is velocity-sensitive, which means it is equipped with valves so that resistance can increase or decrease depending on the speed of the suspension movement.
:: Read More: How to Pick the Best Shock Absorbers for your Vehicle
What struts also do is to provide structural support to the vehicle's suspension and the spring, and keep the tire in an even position. Additionally, they carry a significant part of the side load placed on the vehicle suspension. They affect ride comfort and handling, vehicle control, braking, steering, wheel alignment, and wear of other suspension parts. Typically, the struts consist of a coil spring that supports the weight of the vehicle, providing housing for the damper rigid structural support for the assembly and a damping unit in the shock absorber strut housing to control spring and suspension movement. The lower part of the damper body is attached to the steering knuckle, which in turn connects to the lower arm via the lower ball joint.
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