What Are Shocks and Struts And Why Are They Important?

Every Volkswagen has a set of shocks or struts (or both). The purpose of having shocks and/or struts on your car is to keep the tires firmly planted on the road and to maintain your car’s ride quality.

If you want to learn more about the shocks and/or struts on your car, you came to the right place. By answering the most common questions VW owners have about shocks/struts, we will cover what shocks are, how shocks work, how they differ from struts, and more.

1. What do Shocks Look Like?

VW Shocks

If you remove a rear wheel on your Volkswagen, you'll see a metal tube installed vertically behind the wheel. That's one of the shocks on your car. Essentially, a shock is a hollow metal tube with bracket on both ends. The top part of a shock is mounted to the chassis, and the bottom part is mounted to the axle or suspension arm.

A Volkswagen shock has several main components:

  • Piston rod
  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Reserve cylinder
  • Pressure tube
  • Base valve

2. How do Shocks Work?

When the tires go over a bump, the shocks compresses and in doing so, they absorb the impact of the bump. The hollow tube gets pushed up and "swallows up" the piston rod. The more the piston rod is pushed into the hollow tube, the more resistant the hydraulic fluid gets. With the assistance of little holes and valves, the hydraulic fluid creates enough resistance to dampen the ride. This creates better control, stability, and comfort.

Credit: Wikipedia user TEy~commonswiki under this license

3. How are Shocks Different From Struts?

Some people use the terms "shocks" and "struts" interchangeably. They're actually two similar parts that serve slightly different purposes. Struts are also tubes filled with hydraulic fluid. However, struts also have a coil spring wrapped around their upper portion. The strut helps support the weight of the vehicle. Shocks do not support any weight.

4. How Often do You Need to Replace Your Shocks and Struts?

The general rule of thumb is to replace your shocks and struts every 50K-100K miles. Your shocks’ or struts’ longevity depends on the quality of the roads you drive on, though. Bumpy roads and adverse road conditions wear out your shocks faster.

Replacement shocks can be quite expensive. That’s why we offer wholesale prices for genuine OEM shocks. Instead of visiting a Volkswagen dealership and paying about 30% more for shocks and about $100 per hour for labor, you can order OEM shocks from us at wholesale pricing and replace the shocks yourself.