What Are Shocks and Struts and Why Are They Important?

When it comes to your Nissan's handling and ride quality, the shocks and struts are among the most important parts to maintain. These parts don't require much maintenance, but they will need to be replaced eventually.

As a car owner, you might want to know a thing or two about the shocks and struts on your car in order to keep an eye on them and replace them when needed. We got you covered. Read on to learn all about shocks and struts.

What are Shocks?

Shocks are elongated hydraulic dampers installed behind the wheels. The top of a shock is attached to the car frame or body, and the bottom of the shock is mounted to the axle or control arm.

Sentra shock

The shock design varies between models. This shock is specifically designed for the 2004-06 Nissan Sentra (part #56210-6Z625)

A shock absorber contains several main components:

  • Top mount
  • Bottom mount
  • Pressure tube
  • Piston rod
  • Hydraulic fluid

When your car drives over a bump on the road, the shocks compress and absorb most of the impact. Having shocks on your car prevents the tires from bouncing all over the place. Shocks maintain your car's ride quality, as well.

What are Struts?

In a sense, struts are more "beefed up" versions of shocks. Struts function like shocks, but they're actually a structural component of your Nissan's suspension system. The top of a strut is mounted to the chassis, and the bottom is mounted to the steering knuckle (in most cases). While shocks work alongside the springs on a car, most struts have the spring assembly built in along with the strut assembly.

Struts

The strut design varies between models. The coil spring is not shown in this illustration. This strut is specifically designed for the 2011-14 Nissan 370Z (part #E6110-1A30B)

Struts not only help handling and ride comfort (like shocks do), but they also support the vehicle's weight and assist with braking, steering, and wheel alignment.

A strut consists of:

  • A shock
  • A spring (in most cases)
  • All the brackets and mounts necessary

How Often Should I Replace My Shocks or Struts?

There's no specific mileage or time interval indicator for replacing your shocks and struts. It depends on your driving habits and the quality of the roads you drive on regularly. The general rule of thumb is to replace your shocks and struts every 50K-100K miles. However, the best way to determine whether your shocks and struts have gone bad is to perform the bounce test. Here's a handy guide on how to do the bounce test. 

When your shocks or struts go bad, you can save a lot of money by ordering a set of shocks or struts from us at wholesale pricing and then taking care of the replacement yourself.