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How to Choose Shocks and Struts for a Vehicle

Cruising down a bump-filled road never seemed to bother your Land Rover before, but now, it feels like you're about to fly out of your car and hit the ground. This could mean that it's time to replace your shocks, struts, or both. These vehicle components work as your car's suspension system, keeping your ride smooth and even and keeping your car working as it should to provide the most comfortable ride.

What's the Difference Between Shocks and Struts?

Shocks and struts typically get lumped together when people talk about these car parts, but the truth is, they are very different; however, these parts do work together to improve the quality of your ride. They also keep your tires on the road, improve steering wheel response, and create stable braking capabilities.

  • Shocks are essentially shock absorbers, which means that they absorb all the bumps in the road, so your car doesn't roll around or sway as you ride over them. They are components of your car's overall suspension system and increase the quality of your car's handling, as well as reduce wear on your tires. 
  • When you're talking about struts, you're talking about the overall structural suspension system of your vehicle. The struts hold it all together, and shocks are a part of that system. Struts are mounted to your Land Rover's chassis.
  • When do you replace these parts? Most experts recommend that you replace them every 50,000 miles, but there are other symptoms of failing shocks and struts, such as your car bouncing too much over potholes in the road or your steering wheel not responding the way it usually does. You can also do a visual inspection to see if shocks or struts are worn or look for leaking fluids.

What is an Air Suspension Compressor?

As you're looking at shocks and struts, you'll notice air-suspension parts. What do they do? They are also suspension components, but they work differently than traditional spring shocks and struts do.

  • They're powered by an air compressor that inflates airbags.
  • These airbags keep your vehicle suspended and lifted for a smooth ride.
  • When the compressor wears out or breaks, it's no longer able to fill the airbags and therefore, the suspension system is compromised. If you have an air suspension system, you'll know your system requires replacement if your car is riding lower or you hear strange noises, such as grinding or clicking.

Which Brands Offer Shocks, Struts, and Suspension Kits?

After you know which type of system your Land Rover has, it's time to shop for shocks, struts, and other components of your vehicle's suspension system. You can also consider a few brands as you make your decision.

  • Bilstein shocks come for the front or rear of your vehicle, or you can buy a set that comes with included hardware.
  • Check Monroe for products to replace shocks, including bellows.
  • Arnott is a manufacturer of front and rear coil spring kits as well as shock and strut assemblies for complete replacement of your system.