Another common dampening structure is the strut -- basically a shock absorber mounted
inside a coil spring. Struts perform two jobs: They provide a dampening function like shock
absorbers, and they provide structural support for the vehicle suspension. That means struts
deliver a bit more than shock absorbers, which don't support vehicle weight -- they only
control the speed at which weight is transferred in a car, not the weight itself.
- Because shocks and struts have so much to do with the handling of a car, they can be considered critical safety features. Worn shocks and struts can allow excessive vehicle-weight transfer from side to side and front to back. This reduces the tire's ability to grip the road, as well as handling and braking performance.
• Anti-Sway Bars
- Anti-sway bars (also known as anti-roll bars) are used along with shock absorbers or struts to give a moving automobile additional stability. An anti-sway bar is a metal rod that spans the entire axle and effectively joins each side of the suspension together.
- When the suspension at one wheel moves up and down, the anti-sway bar transfers movement to the other wheel. This creates a more level ride and reduces vehicle sway. In particular, it combats the roll of a car on its suspension as it corners. For this reason, almost all cars today are fitted with anti-sway bars as standard equipment, although if they're not, kits make it easy to install the bars at any time.