Difference Between Shocks and Struts (and Replacement Cost)

(Updated on July 28, 2022)

People often get confused about the difference between shocks and struts. This is understandable because shocks and struts are very similar in the way they function. It can be easy to use the terms interchangeably because each component helps offset the coil spring’s motion. As you may know, the coil spring is what keeps the vehicle’s height sustained. If you didn’t have shocks and structs to assist the coil spring in maintaining the height, then your vehicle would bounce around and change height whenever you drive over a bump in the road. Shocks and struts help the suspension system by absorbing these bumps and not letting it alter the alignment of the car whatsoever.


The big difference between struts and shocks is that shocks do not support the vehicle’s weight. Shocks serve the function of managing the movement of the suspension and coil spring. In other words, shocks serve the primary purpose of preventing your vehicle from bouncing when it drives over bumps and potholes. Shocks are often referred to as “shock absorbers” because they are absorbing the shock which is inflicted upon the vehicle when you drive over these rough things.


The strut is associated with the suspension assembly of the vehicle. Struts are what make the steering system and suspension function properly. There are two components included in the strut assembly; the shock absorber and coil spring. As previously mentioned, the coil spring absorbs the motion of driving over bumps. It also supports all the heavy weight of the vehicle by keeping it upright. The main thing you need to know is that the body of the vehicle remains stable because the strut assembly allows the suspension to freely move up and down without affecting the body.

Replacement Cost

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The shocks and struts will need to be purchased and replaced together because the shocks are part of the strut assembly. When you need to replace your shocks and struts, it will cost anywhere from $490 to $600. The labor costs will be anywhere from $300 to $370 while the parts costs will be anywhere from $200 to $230. Of course, you will also need to pay additional fees and taxes on top of this amount.

Read also: 5 Symptoms of a Bad Intake Manifold Gasket and Replacement Cost

When to Replace

You may be wondering when the appropriate time to replace your shocks and struts may be. Well, there will be some easy warning signs that will present themselves as you are driving. Below are the top 5 symptoms that you can watch out for.

1) Fluid Leaking – If your shocks or struts have fluid leaking from them, then they are obviously damaged and need to be replaced immediately.

2) Nose Dive – If you are in a situation while driving where you need to slam on the brakes, you will experience a nose dive if your shocks or struts are bad.

3) Swaying – If you drive around corners or in the middle of tough crosswinds and the body of your vehicle begins swaying, then you have a problem with your shocks and struts.

4) Bouncing – The most obvious symptom will be a bouncy vehicle. Since struts and shocks both try to prevent bouncing, then a bouncy vehicle will mean something is wrong with those components because they aren’t doing their job properly.

5) Tire Vibrations – If your tires shake while you’re driving and vibration profusely after you drive over a bump, then you need to be concerned. Shocks and struts are supposed to keep your entire suspension stable so that your tires can remain in one place. If your tires are shaking, then you must have a problem with your struts and shocks somewhere.

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