A question that comes up occasionally is “What does a strut do for a car?” The really simple answer to that question is that it is part of the suspension, but it does not tell you a thing about what a “Macpherson strut” is or what it does. Most vehicles on the road today use the Macpherson strut in one form or another, for both front and rear suspensions.

Earlier vehicles typically used a double “control arm” or “A-Arm suspension” design in the front and, with rear wheel drive, used a leaf or coil spring with a separate “shock absorber” in the rear suspension. But like most parts of a vehicle, if you ignore them for too long, your suspension will likely fail. Let’s take a look at a typical suspension set up: