Although shocks and struts are a lot alike in function, they are very different in design. A shock is designed to control spring motion as is the strut, but the strut acts as a suspension part and sometimes replaces other suspension parts. Sometimes used as pivot points for the steering and as an adjustment tool for alignment purposes, struts can absorb side loads where shocks do not. Shocks are typically more expensive, but struts are not always as good as shocks depending on the vehicle. The shocks and/or struts that work best for you will depend on whether your vehicle is for racing, offroading, or just for the family car. Talk to your mechanic about the best options for struts and shocks.
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