The replacement for the shock absorber and spring on front wheel drive vehicles is the Buick Strut. This is still a closed loop hydraulic system like the shock absorbers, but is more compact so there is room for the drive component of the vehicle.
Another common reference to this suspension component is the MacPherson strut. Immaterial of what it is called, the strut will still reduce the vertical movement of the vehicle when an obstacle is encountered on the road or during a maneuver by the driver of the Buick.
The danger of riding on a set of worn struts is more than just an uncomfortable ride for the occupants of the vehicle. The many electrical and mechanical devices on your Buick will also feel the negative effects of this extra vertical movement of the body. This can cause then to malfunction or break from the excessive jarring they will encounter.
The Buick strut is tested just like the shock absorbers have been tested in the past. This is accomplished by depressing one of the corners of the vehicle and the releasing of the pressure on it. This will cause the body of the Buick to move vertically. If the suspension components are in proper working condition, the body of the vehicle will move up once then back to a resting position. If the vertical movement of the body proceeds more than just one time up then down, then wear exists on the suspension components. The more movement that is observed, the greater the wear on the struts exists.
Another indication that the suspension components are worn is when there is a wave pattern on the tires. This is from excessive bouncing of the vehicle as it is traveling down the road.