Shocks and struts are two terms that are often used interchangeably. A strut is actually a type of shock absorber, one that is found inside the coil spring of a wheel of a vehicle. Beyond this, there is a difference between Volvo shocks and struts and these will be discussed further below.
Functions of a Shock and a Strut
Both share the common function. They have that basic job of damping the spring movement while also taking charge of stopping a car from bouncing during a bump, as well as getting rid of oscillation. While they do the same thing, they are completely different from each other.
Replacing Shocks and Struts
One major point of difference between these car components is the fact that a shock can never be used to replace a strut. The same goes when replacing a shock. You cannot use a strut to replace it. Note that each wheel can have either a shock or a strut but never both components. A vehicle's suspension can never be changed using the other component to replace the other.
Major Difference Between the Two
The major difference between a strut and a shock boils down to the fact that a strut is considered a structural part of a car's suspension system, whereas, a shock is not. Also, the strut is crucial in the functioning of the vehicle's steering system, as it can have a great effect on alignment angles. Note too that caster and camber angles are being adjusted right on to the strut. Containing a coil spring, it is important to have an alignment when replacing a strut. This same reason makes struts more expensive when compared to shocks.
In the car world, only a few know that there are differences between shocks and struts. Therefore, if a neighbor or a friend tells you that you need shocks and struts, it is always best to ask a car expert about that. It is not enough to say that your friend has a knowledge about suspensions for you to believe what he or she is saying.
Also adding to the confusion is the fact that in some vehicle setups, the strut is commonly found on the front axle while the rear axle carries the shock. The good thing is that you can always rely on car experts to tell you what you really need – whether it is a shock or a strut.
The Bottom Line
One of the best things you can do is to understand the basics of shocks and struts. When you do, it will be easier to tell these two components apart. Do not end up confusing yourself with what other people say, especially if that person is not really an expert when it comes to cars. You cannot just assume that a strut and a shock can be used interchangeably, because replacing one with the other can cause more trouble than you expect. When you are unsure, always feel free to ask car experts. There is someone out there who is ready to explain things to you.