Automotive shocks are hydraulically or mechanically pressurized pumps that utilize oil to control the reflexes of a car’s springs and suspension. A limited amount of oil is forced through openings of a pressurized tube, governing the springing momentum of a vehicle. Shocks keep the rubber on the road, allowing the driver better handling. The steering wheel response, the weight of the automobile, the load the car is carrying and the effect on the tires all come into play during the operation of shocks.
Types of Shock Absorbers
Air shocks – can be adjusted to change the height of a vehicle. Because this can affect the handling, the more recent systems provide a dual air control system that allows the driver to modify the height of the automobile and the quality of the ride.
Gas shocks – hold pressurized nitrogen gas in addition to hydraulic oil. During a turbulent ride, the hydraulic oil begins to foam diminishing the control the shocks have in maintaining a smooth ride. To prevent the oil from foaming, the gas maintains pressure similar to that of a soda bottle top.
The difference between front and rear shocks is that the front shocks are responsible for turning the wheels and include ball joints, tie rods and control arms, etc. and the back customarily encompasses struts, shocks or springs.
A Bit of History
Shock absorbers as they are known today were not included in the earliest inventions of the automobile. Interestingly, before 1900 lubricated leather sandwiched between bronze discs, then pressurized by cone-shaped springs were used as shocks. In the early 1900’s trains and carriages used the friction of leaf springs as shock absorbers which cars still use today. In 1902 Emile Mors incorporated pneumatic shock absorbers in his Grand Prix cars. Henri Fournier won the important Paris-Berlin race with this newly designed automobile. Motorcycles employed coil spring Druid forks in the early 1900’s and in the 1920’s vehicles incorporated rotary friction dampers. One of the challenges manufacturers faced in correcting the defects of shocks was that a person could be thrown from his seat when shocks didn’t do their job.
People Involved in the Invention of Shocks: Claude Foster, Gabrial Snubber, C.L. Horock, Maurice Houdaille
What Are Automotive Struts?
Struts, positioned in the back or front of a vehicle are basically a shock absorber situated inside a coiled spring. They provide a fundamental structural support for a vehicle’s suspension system, lifting the automobile off the ground and are responsible for diminishing the bumps over a road’s uneven terrain. They also govern the transfer of weight in a vehicle and determine the safety features of braking and handling. Incorporated in their design are providing pivot points for the steering and reinforcement to the suspension system. If the coiled spring deteriorates, it can puncture the tire. Similar to shocks, if an excessive amount of oil escapes, it will affect the springing motion of the vehicle. Struts like shocks, generally need to be replaced every 50,000 – 100,000 miles.
A Bit of History
The MacPherson strut is an automobile suspension system that utilizes a telescopic structure as an upper steering pivot. It is popular for front end suspensions in current vehicles and is named after its inventor Earle S. MacPherson.
The Chapman strut was designed for independent rear suspension especially for racing and sports cars. It includes a coiled spring and shock absorber and is combined with a universal-jointed drive shaft. The drive shaft establishes the lower link of the suspension.
Strut assemblies are connected to the front wheels of a car. The majority of automobiles created after 1995 have strut assemblies in the front suspension and shock absorbers in the back.
People Involved in the Invention of Struts: Earle S. MacPherson, William Stout, Guido Fornaca
If you are looking for OEM, aftermarket shocks or struts, performance or used shocks or struts, please call the InterAmerican team. We are happy to answer any of your questions and help you find the part needed for your car, truck, trailer, motorcycle or heavy machinery.
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