Shock Absorber Parts Name and Short Description

Shock absorbers, also called dampers, are an essential part of a car’s suspension and come in handy in improving ride quality. Its job is to absorb shock or vibration when driving on rough or bumpy roads. It does this by converting kinetic energy to heat energy which is then dispersed afterward.

Shock absorbers also help keep your tires in contact with the road, resulting in balance and better handling. This component, however, comprises several parts that allow it to function effectively. So in this article, I will outline shock absorber parts and their functions. But before proceeding, let’s first talk about the types of shock absorbers.

front shock absorber parts name

Shock absorber types

Shock absorbers are utilized in different applications. So how they are designed depends on the application they are to be fitted to, hence, the different types. Basically, which shock type is fitted into your car depends on the suspension’s design. Here are the most common types of shock absorbers.

Conventional telescopic shock absorber

This is the most common type of shock absorber found in most cars. And are usually fitted to the front and rear suspension system. Conventional telescopic shock absorbers are very affordable. However, at the end of its service life, rather than repair, you must replace them instead.

Strut shock absorbers

Strut shock absorber designs are much stronger than others because of its dual functions. Basically, while it acts as a shock absorber, it also works as part of the suspension system. Because it features a strong design, it doesn’t wear out quickly.

These types of shock absorbers were commonly used on the front and rear suspension of small and medium cars but are now very common in larger vehicles. And comes in two classes; they include the repairable and sealed strut shock absorbers.

While the repairable unit comes with replacement strut cartridges which can be replaced to keep it working, the sealed ones will need to be totally replaced.

Spring seat shock absorbers

The spring seat shock absorbers have the features of the other two types of shock absorbers discussed above. Like the strut, the spring seat shock absorber acts as a shock absorber and a suspension component. But can’t withstand heavy loads and stress like struts shock absorbers.

Spring seat shock absorbers, like conventional telescopic ones, cannot be repaired at the end of their lifespan. Instead, the whole component would need to be replaced.

front shock absorber parts name

Shock absorber parts name and short description

While the shock absorber parts diagram will reveal many parts, here are the major shock absorber parts and their function.

Shock mounts

The mounts help hold the shock to the vehicle’s body and suspension. Shocks have two mounts of the same design—lower and upper. The lower and upper mounts feature a hole on the surface through which bolts and bushings can be inserted to keep the mount secure to the vehicle.

If this mount is faulty, you will experience lots of vibration during bumpy rides since the shock isn’t grabbing the car as it should.


The bushings in a shock absorber are either made of urethane or rubber and are found on the mounts. This component helps absorb shocks to avert sound or wear.

Coil spring

The coil spring, also called spring coil or coil over shock absorber, helps absorb the energy generated when a car hits a porthole. However, this spring is not found in all shock absorbers. They basically work to reduce jerking and also act as part of a car’s suspension


Shock absorber pistons have small holes and are found inside the shock absorber cylinder together with pressurized fluid. It features valves that allow it to rotate in the fluid’s passageway.

It is the movement of the piston inside the pressurized oil that helps convert kinetic energy to heat energy. The shock absorber has completed its duty of absorbing shock when this heat is dispersed.

Piston rods

The piston rod is attached to the piston and guides the piston found inside the cylinder. It basically directs the movement of the piston.


The cylinder in a shock absorber functions as the shock absorber’s body. The cylinder houses the piston and pressurized fluid.


Bolts serve as fasteners in a shock absorber. They are used to secure the shock absorber to one end of the car and the suspension to the other end. These bolts are just as crucial as the mounts since they help secure the mounts that support your vehicle. If they are not torqued correctly, they will become loose, leading to excess vibration during bumpy drives.

Oil seal

The oil seals prevent compression fluid from leaking out of the cylinder. It also ensures no foreign element enters the cylinder. This oil inside the tube allows for the free movement of the piston. A broken oil seal will not only contaminate the oil but also result in oil shortage, leading to inadequate piston lubrication and causing failure.

Oil guide

The oil guide is more like a passageway. It is where the oil flows through to ensure the shock absorber works smoothly.

Rod guide

Rod guide assist the piston so the piston rod can move smoothly

Nitrogen gas and gas chamber

The gas chamber is found inside the shock cylinder. And houses nitrogen gas that help prevent the formation of bubbles in the compression oil.

Washer and plates

These components demarcate other shock absorber components from one another. They are also called spacers.

Frequently Asked Questions—FAQs

Q: Can you drive with a bad shock absorber?

You can drive with a faulty shock absorber; your vehicle will start and stop. However, drivability will be compromised. A shock absorber anatomy is simple—absorb vibration, which makes a journey comfortable.

A damaged shock absorber will cause your car to bounce and roll excessively, and make noises, invariably making a journey very uncomfortable. You will also experience a longer braking time. Hence a need for replacement.

It’s worth noting that it’s best to replace shock absorbers in pairs so both will have the same working capacity. Moreover, the good one may get faulty in a short while,  prompting you to go back to do the same job, you could have done once.

Q: What are the 4 components of a suspension system?

The four components of the suspension system are the tires, coil springs, shock absorbers, and joints, and bushings. While the tires are the suspension part that comes in contact with the ground, the coil spring absorbs and stores the energy created when a car hits a porthole.

The shock absorbers support the coil to reduce the impact by absorbing the kinetic energy stored by the spring and converting it to heat energy which is then expelled. The joints, bearings, and bushings work collectively to allow certain suspension parts to glide effortlessly. And, of course, some linkages help connect different parts of the suspension.

Q: What are the 3 types of suspension?

The three common types of suspension are dependent, independent, and air. The dependent suspension has two wheels on the same axle depending on each other. It has a solid axle that connects both wheels, so they work as a team. Since they depend on each other; as one side of your car bends in a specific direction, the other side follows suit.

Independent suspension works independently; here, each wheel on the same axle moves independently. Hence the action of the suspension on one side of the car does not affect the other. There are rear independent suspensions found in most vehicles, and independent front suspensions good at reducing unsprung vehicle weight.

However, independent suspension is expensive to buy and maintain.

Air suspension, on the other hand, features an air spring instead of the usual mechanical spring. Technically, air springs can withstand heavier loads than mechanical springs and also adjust air pressure which is impossible with mechanical spring

Q: Which suspension type is the best?

Suspensions have vehicles they are designed for. So which is the best depends on the purpose of your car. For example, air suspensions have a high capacity to withstand heavy loads, and that’s why they are fitted to many high-end vehicles. Their load-carrying capacity also makes them fit for buses and trucks. However, air suspension may be a bad choice for off-road driving.

Q: What is a shock absorber assembly?

A shock absorber assembly is a collective name for every component that makes up a shock absorber. This includes springs, mounts, piston, piston rods, cylinder, etc. You should understand this better by looking at the shock absorber diagram, which has all the parts labeled down to the pins.

Q: What type of shock absorber is the best?

All shock absorbers are designed for specific vehicles. So basically, one can’t say which is the best as the one you purchase is determined by your suspension design. However, of the three mentioned above, the strut shock absorber is more versatile and stronger.

Final words

Knowing Shock absorber parts is a great way to understand how the shock absorber functions to reduce jerking on bumpy roads. Each part contributes immensely to the functionality of these components, so you can tell the role each of them plays by learning about them.

Importantly, while craving for the best type of shock absorber, consider your suspension design and buy only the ones that match. Depending on your type, a shock absorber can last 75k-150k miles. So ensure you replace it immediately when worn; otherwise, you may experience excessive car jerking, rolling, and noises.


Recent Posts