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Shocks on a vehicle provide damping resistance to road forces transmitted up through the wheels.  The shocks are opposed by springs that extend the wheel downward.  When the car hits a pot hole, the sprung wheel is forced upward.  Those upward movements are dampend or slowed by a shock.  The shocks operate by their resistance to fluid rapidly moving through cavities inside the shock.  Valving through shim stacks or other orifices prevent the fluid from rapidly moving through the shock body.  This slows the rate at which the wheel can move.  The valving is adjusted for ride conditions, vehicle weight, and desired performance.