Shocks and Struts

Shocks and Struts with Rice Tire

Shocks and struts and springs are the components that make a car ride softly like a luxury family sedan,  more firmly and planted on the road like a sports car, or have high ground clearance and maximum wheel travel for four wheel drive applications. 

Additionally, shocks and struts are sub-components of and effect the larger systems of:

Generally speaking, there are two types of shock absorbers, gas filled and oil filed and essentially they work the same way. Both control wheel movement and rebound induced by spring loads and uneven road surfaces.

Again, generally speaking there are two type of suspension system shock absorbers, traditional shocks and strut type shocks.  We explain more detail below.

Shocks and Struts

Rice Tire examples of shocks and struts
Rice tire shocks vs struts

Differences between shocks and struts

  • While a shock assists the overall suspension system, the strut is an “integral part of the suspension system”  (see the images below)
  • The shock itself is meant to allow the wheel to lift to the bumps in the road (with the spring controlling the impact and upward force) with the piston and fluid inside the shock controlling the rebound of the wheel on the downward cycle.
  • A shock cannot operate by itself and must accompany a spring loaded into the a-arm spring bucket.
  • The strut integrates numerous different suspension components into one compact assembly thus eliminating a significant amount of unsprung weight and improving overall suspension performance.
  • Helps to support the weight of the vehicle.
  • Struts help adapt to road irregularities.


Conventional Suspension System

Rice Tire Conventional Suspension diagram
Car Shock Absorber and Spring assembly representing a conventional suspension system.

Strut Suspension System

Rice Tire Strut Suspension diagram
Strut Suspension System example

Rice Tire is #1 place to go if you need tire or wheel needs, automobile maintenance, and repairs in the mid-Atlantic region.  We have 11 locations throughout Washington DC, Baltimore, Maryland, and Virginia. We are in, or near your neighborhood making us your best local tire shop.  Give us a call, we are happy to schedule an appointment to check your wheel alignment.

How can I tell if I need new shocks? 

Here are five telltale signs that you may need to bring your car in to the shop.

  • Wear on your tires.  (Notice a pattern here?  Your tires are the first thing to look at when your car is acting funny.  Our techs are trained to see and quickly diagnose this evidence).  We don’t mean normal wear.  We are talking about abnormal.  Do your tires show wear on just the inside of the tire?  Or outside? Is there any scalloping of the tire? What about feathering?  All of these are signs of a problem.
  • Does your car handle loosely when driving?  Does your car feel like it is wandering on the road or sloppy in the curves?  Does it feel like it’s “floating”? These are symptoms that you could have bad shocks.  
  • Does your steering wheel vibrate or shimmy?  
  • Does it take longer for your car to stop?
  • Does your car swerve or dip when you apply the brakes?

Pro Tip:

With your car parked, press down on the front end of the vehicle with the full weight of your body and release.  If more than a couple of bounces are required for the car to stop moving, you probably need new shocks.  Repeat the test with the rear of the car.  If the bouncing does not subside quickly, you need new shocks.

Have your Car Checked

Rice Tire is here to help answer any questions and to schedule any service.  We are your full-service stop for tires, tire rotations, suspension, brakes, wheel alignments, and more.  Our technicians are trained to look for potential problems and have the experience to fix them.   Rice Tire has 11 locations throughout the mid-Atlantic area. We are in your neighborhood. We are in your city.

Rice Tire for your oil change needs, and more……

Not only is Rice Tire the largest tire dealer in the area, but we also offer vehicle maintenance services to help keep your vehicle in top running shape.  We have been servicing our client’s vehicles for more than 60 years. We pride ourselves on the relationships we have built over the years. Making us your go-to local tire shop for all your vehicle needs. 


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