Can I Use Two Different Shocks On My Car?

Using two different shocks or struts on your car or truck can be done safely. The most common problem our customers face is trouble controlling trailers with soft factory shocks, so many truck owners choose to upgrade their rear shocks first and then upgrade the front shocks later.

Trucks with aftermarket bumpers in the front or heavy tools in the back may need more damping strength in the front or rear, cars with heavier engines swapped in will want stiffer shocks in the front, and vehicles that sag under heavy loads may want extra carrying capacity (see our FAQ: What Shocks Will Lift My Truck's Sagging Rear? for more information), or you may just want to save money and update your suspension over time.

Yes, you can use two different shocks on your car or truck, as long as you follow a couple simple rules:

  1. Always Replace Shocks In Pairs - If you need to replace one shock, you should always replace its match on the other side, even if the other shock appears fine. Shocks play an integral role in how your car handles, steers and brakes, and since they are designed to wear over time, a used shock will give your car different handling characteristics than a brand new one. Unless you're a NASCAR driver only making left turns, you don't want one side of your car's suspension to perform differently than the other.

  2. Have A Plan - Don't just throw whatever you can find (or whatever's cheapest) onto your car and hope for the best. Shocks are specifically engineered by the manufacturers to work best as a set of four. Even similar shocks will not perform optimally with another brand. For example, a Monroe OESpectrum and a KYB Excel-G are very similar, but a car running an OESpectrum front shock with an Excel-G rear shock may not ride or handle as well as the same car running all four of the same brand shocks. As long as you have a reason for installing different shocks front and rear you can do so safely.

  3. Never Install Used Shocks - You should never install used shocks on your car or truck. We know you can get a great deal on Craigslist or Ebay or at a junkyard on some used shocks that the seller swears work perfectly, but the simple fact is that shocks are too important to your car's handling and braking to rely on used parts. A shock has a typical lifespan of 50,000 miles, but rougher roads, aggressive driving or towing can drastically reduce that. Installing a shock that you don't know the history of is asking for trouble.

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