What is a Vehicle Strut?

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Do you love to strut around in your car, but don’t know exactly what a strut is?

A vehicle strut, short for “macpherson strut,” is a vital component of a vehicle’s suspension system. It is a combination of a shock absorber and a coil spring that serves as a structural component, connecting the wheel to the chassis of the car. Struts are typically found on the front wheels of most vehicles, although some rear-wheel-drive vehicles may also have them on the rear wheels.  The experts at In and Out Tire Pros in Millsboro on Betts Pond Road explore what a vehicle strut is, its purpose, and why it’s an integral part of your car’s overall performance.

The Purpose of a Vehicle Strut

  1. Support and Stability: One of the primary functions of a vehicle strut is to support the weight of the vehicle. The coil spring within the strut helps maintain ride height and support the vehicle’s body, preventing it from sagging or bouncing excessively while driving.
  2. Shock Absorption: Struts play a critical role in absorbing and dampening shocks and vibrations from the road. This enhances the ride quality and ensures that passengers and cargo inside the vehicle experience a smoother and more comfortable journey. The shock absorber component of the strut does this by converting kinetic energy from road irregularities into heat energy, effectively dampening the jolts and vibrations.
  3. Steering and Handling: Struts also impact a vehicle’s steering and handling characteristics. They contribute to stability during cornering and help maintain tire-to-road contact for improved traction. Well-maintained struts can significantly enhance a vehicle’s overall control and handling, which is particularly crucial in emergency situations or during adverse weather conditions.
  4. Alignment and Tire Wear: Struts play a role in preserving proper wheel alignment. When struts wear out, they can lead to misalignment, causing uneven tire wear and potentially affecting the safety and performance of the vehicle.

Why Strut Maintenance Matters

Like many other vehicle components, struts have a finite lifespan and will wear out over time. It’s essential to recognize the signs of worn or damaged struts and to maintain or replace them when necessary. Some common signs of failing struts include:

  1. Reduced Ride Comfort: If your vehicle’s ride becomes noticeably rougher, and you feel more bumps and vibrations from the road, it might be a sign that your struts are no longer effectively dampening shocks.
  2. Excessive Bouncing: If your vehicle bounces excessively after hitting a bump or pothole, it could be due to worn struts.
  3. Vehicle Nose Dives or Squats: When braking or accelerating, if your vehicle’s nose dives or the rear end squats, it may indicate a problem with the struts.
  4. Uneven Tire Wear: Misaligned wheels caused by worn struts can lead to uneven tire wear, which can be expensive to correct and compromise safety.

So why is it called “macpherson” struts? Good questions. Click here to find the answer.

Regular maintenance and prompt replacement of worn struts are essential for preserving your vehicle’s performance and safety. So, the next time you hit the road, remember the unsung heroes beneath your car that make your journey as smooth as possible – your trusty struts.

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