Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Shock or Strut?

How do I find out if I have shocks or struts on the back of my 2002 Kia Sedona. I know I have struts on the front but from the look from what I can see, it looks likes shocks on the back, but not sure.

Based on what I found on the internet you have a torsion beam rear suspension. That would mean you have shocks rather than struts in the rear.

I’m willing to bet on “shocks.”

Why does it matter? Why are you asking? If you go to your local parts store they will look it up and sell you the correct part.

Are you planning to replace them?

A quick look at a few online parts stores ( and for example), shows you have shocks in the rear.

You don’t need to split hairs on terminology.
There isn’t a difference for any given vehicle .
Fronts are fronts. rears are rears.

Struts ARE shock absorbers. They just are an integral part of the suspension when termed “struts”.
The physical structure is completely irrelevant when buying parts for you vehicle as if there’s a choice of one or the other.

I’ve even had customers attemt to argue the correctness of the parts I’m seeling them when I refer to their front “struts” as shocks.
“But I want struts … not shocks !”
“Yesm…these ARE the front shocks for your car.”

The difference is…

Shocks can be replaced pretty simply by almost any back-yard mechanic with a minimum of tools…where as struts you’ll need something to compress the spring (SAFELY). I won’t do struts…Seen the aftermath of a back-yard mechanic doing it and the cheap spring compressor he bought didn’t hold and the strut went flying…hit a wall and bounce off the wall hitting him in the face…knocking out a couple of teeth, broken nose and two black eyes.

Ken, I agree with your post, and I agree that it’s unproductive to get hung up on the terminology. Too many people do.

Besides, while my rear end technically has shocks rather than struts (the suspension dynamics are controlled via a double wishbone), it’s a “coil-over” arrangement and the shock/spring assembly has to be entirely removed to change the shocks anyway. The process is the same as changing a strut, except of course that one can technically skip the realignment is one chooses to.

However it will make a difference on the OP’s car. Since it’s a tortion bar suspension, he/she should not have to remove an assembly, just a shock. Less labor=less cost. And it can be done in the driveway without any special tools.

Mountainbike has strocks on his car. To make a car look younger, strutox treatments. To get cheap struts, avoid Macpherson struts and get McDonald’s struts.

MB: “…my rear end technically has shocks rather than struts…”

My rear end doesn’t have shocks or struts, and I am willing to bet MB’s doesn’t either. The rear ends of our cars, on the other hand… :slight_smile:

On the other hand, some rear ends do shock and some do strut. But not mine.