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Replacing Shocks on my SUV

I can feel the pain of my Mariner Hybrid at 50,000 miles with minimal shock absorption left. I hear many pieces of advice, particularly that Ford shocks don’t last long, and that I should get “after market” replacements. I am not clear on what a shock versus a strut is, or who MacPherson is (I know he is involved somehow!); please advise on where to have such work done and what to request. Thanks much for your help.

Just tell 'em you want four shocks, they’ll get it right.

Since there are NOT multiple choice of type for each location on the car, there’s no need to split hairs over what they’re called.

When a suspension holds itself without the shock in place, and the shock is used for bounce control, it’s just a shock absorber.
BUT a shock absorber which is an integral part of the suspension support ( without it the car falls to the ground ) is a strut.

Replacing struts is more work than shocks costing more labor.
Struts usually cost more than shocks because of thier structural components.

An Escape/Mariner has struts in the front and shocks in the back if the terminology is necessary.

diagram for you to strait with - http://www.autopartslib.com/2010/03/15/car/typical-macpherson-strut-assembly-parts-diagram

You don’t need to worry a lot about this. Ford doesn’t make shocks, they buy them from the same companies that supply the aftermarket, so there’s no guarantee that aftermarket replacements are better. Do you have a good independent shop you use? They should know what to do.