Commonly Located: ATV shocks are located at the front and rear of the ATV. In the front of the ATV, there will be at least two shocks. The shocks will be mounted to the frame and normally to the lower control arm as well. The rear shocks will depend on the suspension type. An independent suspension will have two shocks in the rear, while a solid axle will have only one shock in addition to swing arms. The rear shocks on an ATV with an independent suspension will be very similar to the shocks at the front of the ATV, in that they are mounted from the lower control arm to the frame. The swing arm/solid rear axle type will have the top of the shock attached to the frame, normally around the seat area, and the bottom of the shock attached at a rearward angle to the swing arm in front of the axle.
Physical Description: The shock is normally a cylindrical shape with a spring around the outside. There is usually a hole at both ends of the shock, where it attaches. Some shocks will have another cylinder shape attached to the top of the shock or will be attached via hose; these are adjustable gas shocks. In the photo below, the shock on the right is an adjustable gas shock.
Note that the front of utility ATVs will have a strut. Although a struts and shocks are similar in appearance, they are not actually the same.
Function: The shock allows the suspension to flex both up and down, giving the ATV its ride quality and handling. The shocks also give contribute to the ATV's weight carrying ability.
Maintenance Costs: The ATV shock is normally not a common wear item and is generally safe to purchase used; however, if the ATV is abused through an abundance of racing, jumping, or regular heavy loads, it is generally recommended to purchase new shocks.