The sheer number of shock options for popular cars and trucks can sometimes be overwhelming. This guide to shock buying aims to help you understand what each shock does best to find the ideal fit for your car or truck.
Whether you're a high-performance enthusiast, off-road adventurer, or simply looking to improve your daily commute, this comprehensive guide aims to simplify the process and help you make an informed decision.
By understanding your specific vehicle usage, such as towing, off-roading, or daily driving, you can narrow down the options and find the ideal shocks for your vehicle. From high-performance options that prioritize handling and safety, to comfort-oriented shocks for everyday commuting, this guide covers a wide range of choices to suit various needs.
The most important consideration for finding the best shocks is what YOU use your vehicle for. If your truck sees more starlight than stoplights, you need a stronger shock than the soft squishy factory dampers. At the same time, if you spend all day in your SUV you don't want your teeth jarred out on every manhole cover.
The best shocks for getting your pickup to the camp site through mud and over rocks will be stiffer and able to resist overheating. The most comfortable shock for getting your mom to church and the quilting circle will be soft and forgiving, but if your mom tends to run late to the quilting circle and likes to make up time on the road, we're back to looking at performance shocks.
So whether you're in search of stiff valving for precise cornering, a durable shock that can handle rugged terrains, or a comfortable ride for your daily commute, this guide will provide the information you need to make the right choice.
The Importance of the Perfect Shocks
Understanding the Basics: Shocks and Struts
Shocks and struts are key components in your vehicle's suspension system, playing a pivotal role in ride comfort, handling, and safety. They work by absorbing the bumps and vibrations from the road, providing passengers with a smoother ride. More importantly, they keep your tires in constant contact with the road surface, enhancing control and braking efficiency.
While the terms shocks and struts are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. Shocks, short for shock absorbers, are standalone components that don't support any weight. They're primarily designed to control the movement of the springs and suspension.
Struts, on the other hand, are a structural part of the suspension system, supporting the weight of the vehicle and providing a mounting place for the coil spring. They perform two jobs: damping, like a shock, and providing structural support to the vehicle's suspension.
Choosing the right shocks or struts for your vehicle is crucial. It can significantly impact your vehicle's performance, comfort, and safety. Therefore, understanding your vehicle's specific needs is the first step in the shock buying guide.
Buying the Perfect Shocks for Your Lifestyle
Choosing the perfect shocks for your vehicle is not just about the make and model. It's also about matching the shocks with your lifestyle and driving habits. If you're an off-road enthusiast who regularly navigates rough terrains, you'll need heavy-duty shocks that can withstand the rigors of such environments.
On the other hand, if you use your vehicle mainly for commuting on well-maintained roads, comfort-oriented shocks would be more suitable. These are designed to provide a smooth ride, absorbing bumps and road imperfections with ease.
For performance enthusiasts who engage in high-speed driving or racing, high-performance shocks are the go-to choice. These shocks offer superior handling and responsiveness, allowing for precise control at high speeds.
In essence, the perfect shocks for your vehicle should align with your driving needs and lifestyle. By considering your driving habits and the conditions you frequently encounter, you can narrow down your options and find the perfect shocks. Remember, the right shocks can transform your driving experience, providing the right balance of comfort, control, and performance. Read on in our guide to shock buying.
Guide to Shock Buying: High Performance Shocks
High performance shocks and struts (in this guide we'll use the terms interchangeably, click here to learn more about the difference between shocks and struts) are designed to give your car or truck the best handling possible. For drivers who push their vehicles to the limits, an extra inch or two of grip can mean everything, so they are willing to sacrifice a bit of road comfort for a lot of safety. These shocks and struts will keep your car glued to the corners and help your truck stay on the trail. For towing applications, these shocks will keep your truck and trailer driving straight and true, no matter how windy or bumpy the road gets.
Bilstein Sport (B8)
Bilstein Sport (B8) High pressure monotube shocks and struts available for trucks and sports cars. Bilstein B8 Sport shocks will have a stiffer valving than the B6 Heavy Duty, giving you the most precise handling possible. The Bilstein Sport is specially designed to work with lowering springs up to 2" lower than stock. Only available for select sports cars and sporty sedans.
Recommended in our shock buying guide for: High Performance Driving, Lowered Cars.
Bilstein Sport (B8) shocks are a popular choice among performance-oriented drivers, and for good reason. These shocks are specifically engineered for enhanced handling and control, making them ideal for high-speed driving and performance applications.
The magic of the Bilstein Sport (B8) lies in its superior damping capabilities. The shocks take advantage of Bilstein's innovative gas pressure technology, which provides consistent damping power under any load. This results in improved stability, better handling, and enhanced cornering ability, even under demanding driving conditions.
Another significant feature of the Bilstein Sport (B8) is its high-performance construction. Made with high-strength materials, these shocks are robust and durable, ensuring long-lasting performance. They also feature a monotube design, which facilitates better heat dissipation to prolong the life of the shocks.
In essence, the Bilstein Sport (B8) gives performance drivers the control and precision they desire. Whether you're navigating sharp corners or navigating high-speed straightaways, these shocks ensure a responsive and balanced ride, pushing the boundaries of what's possible in vehicle performance.
KYB AGX Adjustable
KYB AGX Adjustable shocks and struts give you the option to dial in your sports car's handling performance. The KYB AGX's adjustable damping is the best way to tune your car's damping short of a full coilover kit. Ride around all week with a soft, cushioned ride and then crank up the performance for the weekend or tune your ride at the autocross for perfect performance. Designed to work with lowering springs up to 2" lower than stock. Only available for select sports cars.
Recommended in our guide to shock buying for: High Performance Driving, Lowered Cars.
The KYB AGX Adjustable shocks bring a unique feature to the high-performance shocks category: the power of customization. With their adjustable damping, these shocks allow drivers to tailor the ride to their specific needs, offering an unprecedented level of control and flexibility.
The damping adjustment can be easily made by turning a knob or a screw on the shock body. This allows drivers to fine-tune the ride characteristics, making it firmer for high-speed driving or softer for regular commuting. This ability to adapt to different driving conditions and preferences sets the KYB AGX Adjustable apart from many other shocks on the market.
But the customization doesn't compromise on performance. The KYB AGX Adjustable shocks are built with the same commitment to quality and durability that KYB is known for. They feature a robust construction, with high-strength materials and a monotube design for superior heat dissipation and long-lasting performance.
In essence, the KYB AGX Adjustable shocks offer the best of both worlds: the power of customization and high-performance reliability. Whether you're an enthusiast looking for superior handling or a commuter seeking comfort, these adjustable shocks can adapt to match your lifestyle.
Bilstein 5160 Remote Reservoir
Bilstein 5160 Remote Reservoir Offroad Shocks for lifted trucks and SUVs. The Bilstein 5160 Series uses high pressure monotube technology and a remote oil reservoir to prevent overheating even in the toughest situations. Remote Reservoir Bilstein 5160 shocks are available for stock height and lifted trucks. Built to withstand the intense heat and abuse of Baja Mexico, the Bilstein 5160 will keep your truck handling like a go kart through the toughest dirt, mud, silt, and rocks in the world.
Recommended in our shock buying guide for: High Performance Offroad Driving, Lifted Trucks, Offroad Towing.
When it comes to extreme performance and off-road capabilities, the Bilstein 5160 Remote Reservoir shocks are a force to be reckoned with. These shocks are designed for the toughest terrains, making them a preferred choice for off-road enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
The standout feature of the Bilstein 5160 is its remote reservoir, which significantly increases shock oil capacity for better heat dissipation. This results in sustained damping performance, even under harsh and prolonged off-road conditions.
But the benefits don't stop at performance. The Bilstein 5160 Remote Reservoir shocks also provide remarkable ride comfort, thanks to their digressive valving. This technology adjusts to changing road surfaces for a smooth ride, whether you're cruising on a highway or navigating rugged trails.
In terms of construction, the Bilstein 5160 shocks are built to last. They feature a monotube design for robustness and durability, and their high-quality materials are resistant to wear and tear.
In essence, the Bilstein 5160 Remote Reservoir shocks are unbeatable when it comes to extreme off-road performance. They deliver consistent, reliable performance in the toughest conditions, making them a top choice for those who push their vehicles to the limit.
Fox Performance Series
Fox Performance Series shocks are designed for extreme offroad use and abuse. Our Fox Performance monotube shocks use an internal floating piston to deliver reliable offroad performance in a bolt-in package.
All Fox Performance Series shocks are built from corrosion resistant clear anodized aluminum to guarantee years of use even in the toughest conditions and are fully rebuildable. Built with high performance offroading in mind, the Fox Performance Series is available for lifted or stock height trucks and with a standard shock body or a remote reservoir body depending on application.
Recommended in our shock buying guide for: Lifted Trucks, High Performance Offroad Driving (remote reservoir models), Towing.
The Fox Performance Series shocks are a testament to toughness and reliability. These shocks are built for high-performance applications, making them a popular choice among racers and off-road enthusiasts.
What sets the Fox Performance Series apart is its advanced shock technology. These shocks feature race-proven damping control to provide a comfortable ride and exceptional handling, no matter the terrain. They are designed to withstand extreme conditions, delivering consistent performance even in the most challenging environments.
The strength of the Fox Performance Series lies in its robust construction. With high-quality materials and precision engineering, these shocks offer unmatched durability. They are built to resist wear and tear, ensuring long-lasting performance and reliability.
In addition, the Fox Performance Series shocks are easy to install, offering a straightforward solution for those looking to upgrade their vehicle's suspension system. They provide an instant improvement in ride quality and handling, making them a worthwhile investment for high-performance applications.
In essence, the Fox Performance Series shocks are tough, reliable, and built to perform. They offer unparalleled performance and durability, making them a robust choice for those who demand the best from their vehicle.
Guide to Shock Buying: Performance Daily Driver Shocks
Performance daily driver shocks for drivers who use their car or truck as their primary means of transportation but also sometimes push their vehicle harder than the average person. Most drivers shopping for performance shocks fall into this category. If you use your truck for your daily commute but also tow a trailer a few times a week or need to get down unpaved trails, or if you like to open your car up when the road allows it, these are the shocks for you.
Bilstein Heavy Duty (B6)
Bilstein Heavy Duty (B6) shocks and struts are engineered for the perfect blend of comfort and performance. Bilstein's B6 Heavy Duty shocks and struts use a high pressure monotube design to prevent overheating along with valving designed for performance while towing or driving on rough roads without being too stiff for daily use.
Recommended in our guide to buying shocks for: Towing, Rough Roads, Light Offroading, Aggressive Performance Driving, Work Trucks, Plowing, Diesel Trucks.
Bilstein Heavy Duty (B6) shocks are a harmonious mixture of performance and comfort, making them an ideal choice for daily drivers who also value performance. They are designed to enhance stability and handling, without compromising on ride comfort, creating a well-rounded driving experience.
The Bilstein Heavy Duty (B6) shocks feature Bilstein's proprietary gas pressure technology, which provides consistent damping power for improved stability and handling. This technology ensures that the shocks perform optimally under different load conditions, enhancing vehicle control and safety.
At the same time, the Bilstein Heavy Duty (B6) shocks provide a comfortable ride, thanks to their superior vibration damping and shock absorption capabilities. These shocks efficiently absorb road imperfections, delivering a smooth and comfortable ride for everyday commuting.
In terms of durability, the Bilstein Heavy Duty (B6) shocks are built to last. They feature robust construction and high-quality materials, ensuring long-lasting performance.
In essence, the Bilstein Heavy Duty (B6) shocks offer a balanced driving experience, providing the right blend of performance and comfort. They are a worthwhile investment for daily drivers who also value performance.
Buying KYB Monomax Shocks
KYB Monomax truck shocks are KYB's answer to the need for a heavy duty monotube shock. Built only for trucks and the tough use they see towing, offroad, and driving everywhere with heavy loads. Monomax is an ideal performance upgrade work trucks, vans and SUVs with a 40% stiffer valving than original equipment units.
Recommended in our shock buying guide for: Towing, Rough Roads, Light Offroading, Work Trucks, Plowing, Diesel Trucks.
KYB Monomax shocks are the reliable choice in shock absorber for trucks, offering an ideal mix of performance and durability for heavier vehicles. These shocks are tailored for trucks, SUVs, and 4x4s, delivering outstanding performance under demanding conditions.
The KYB Monomax shocks feature a monotube design, providing consistent performance even under heavy load conditions. They are built to handle the increased demands of larger, heavier vehicles, making them a top choice for truck owners.
Aside from their robust performance, the KYB Monomax shocks also offer superior durability. They feature a tough, zinc-coated, stainless steel piston ring and a robust construction, ensuring long-lasting performance and reliability. Such durability makes them a trusted choice for those who rely on their vehicles for heavy-duty tasks.
The KYB Monomax shocks also prioritize ride comfort, effectively absorbing road imperfections for a smoother ride. This makes them a well-rounded choice, offering the perfect balance of performance, durability, and comfort for heavier vehicles.
In essence, the KYB Monomax shocks are the stalwarts of trucks, providing reliable performance and durability. They are a solid investment for those who demand the most from their heavier vehicles.
Buying KYB Gas-a-Just Shocks
KYB Gas-a-just is KYB's monotube shock for trucks, SUVs and performance cars. The KYB Gas-a-just uses a speed sensitive valving to adjust to road conditions on the fly and give your car or truck an excellent upgrade over factory shocks. Valved 30% stiffer than original equipment shocks, the Gas-a-just is a good halfway point between factory comfort and an all-out performance shock.
Recommended in our guide to buying shocks for: Aggressive Street Driving, Rough Roads, Muscle Cars, Commuting, Worn Suspensions.
The KYB Gas-a-just shocks are the smart choice for your daily commute, offering a blend of performance and comfort that perfectly suits the needs of daily drivers. These shocks are designed to deliver superior handling and stability, while also ensuring a comfortable ride.
One of the standout features of the KYB Gas-a-just is its gas-adjust technology. This innovative technology automatically adjusts the shocks according to road conditions, ensuring optimal damping for improved stability and handling. This feature is particularly beneficial for daily commuting, where varying road conditions are common.
Despite their performance-oriented design, the KYB Gas-a-just shocks do not compromise on comfort. They are engineered to absorb road imperfections efficiently, delivering a smooth and comfortable ride. This makes them an ideal choice for drivers who prioritize comfort in their daily commute.
In terms of durability, the KYB Gas-a-just shocks are built to last. They feature a robust construction and high-quality materials, ensuring long-lasting performance.
In essence, the KYB Gas-a-just shocks offer a smart blend of performance and comfort. They are a wise investment for daily drivers who want to enhance their commuting experience.
Guide to Shock Buying: Comfortable Daily Driver Shocks
Comfortable daily driver shocks for vehicles used primarily on normal roads for every day driving and only occasionally used for towing or aggressive driving. Drivers not looking for performance upgrades should use these shocks for the best ride possible, slightly better handling and a longer shock life than original equipment units.
Buying KYB Excel-G Shocks
KYB Excel-G shocks and struts are available for most passenger cars, SUVs, and light trucks. KYB Excel-G shocks use a low pressure twin tube design for years of dependable and comfortable performance. The Excel-G is typically valved 10% stiffer than original shocks to make up for wear on the car's suspension and return the vehicle to factory performance.
Recommended in our shock buying guide for: Daily Driven Cars, Commuting, Worn Suspensions.
KYB Excel-G shocks are all about providing dependable comfort for years. Designed with daily drivers in mind, these shocks offer a smooth and comfortable ride, making them an ideal choice for those who prioritize comfort in their vehicle.
The KYB Excel-G shocks feature KYB's patented valving system, which optimizes comfort by efficiently absorbing road imperfections. This means a smoother and more comfortable ride, regardless of the road conditions.
Aside from comfort, the KYB Excel-G shocks also offer robust performance. They are engineered to restore the original handling and control characteristics of your vehicle, ensuring a safe and stable ride.
When it comes to durability, the KYB Excel-G shocks are built to last. They feature a robust construction and high-quality materials, ensuring long-lasting performance. These shocks are also designed for easy installation, making them a convenient choice for vehicle owners.
In essence, the KYB Excel-G shocks offer dependable comfort for years. They are a reliable choice for daily drivers who value ride comfort and want a durable, high-quality shock for their vehicle.
Buying Bilstein B4 Touring Class Shocks
Bilstein B4 Touring Class shocks offer the legendary reliability of Bilstein shocks without the rougher ride of a high performance monotube. With a low pressure twin tube design and a soft comfortable valving, the Bilstein Touring Class shocks are the best factory replacement units for everyday driven cars.
Recommended in our shock buying guide for: Daily Driven Cars, Commuting.
The Bilstein B4 Touring Class shocks offer an easy-going journey for daily drivers who prioritize comfort. These shocks are engineered to provide superior ride comfort, making them an ideal choice for everyday commuting.
The Bilstein B4 Touring Class shocks feature Bilstein's gas pressure technology, which enhances shock damping capabilities to deliver a smooth ride. This technology efficiently absorbs road imperfections, ensuring a comfortable and easy-going journey, regardless of the road conditions.
While comfort is paramount, the Bilstein B4 Touring Class shocks also deliver reliable performance. They are designed to restore the original handling and control characteristics of your vehicle, ensuring a safe and stable ride.
In terms of durability, the Bilstein B4 Touring Class shocks are built to last. They feature a robust construction and high-quality materials, ensuring long-lasting performance. These shocks are also easy to install, making them a convenient choice for daily drivers.
In essence, the Bilstein B4 Touring Class shocks offer an easy-going journey for daily drivers. They provide superior ride comfort without compromising on performance or durability, making them an excellent choice for those who prioritize comfort in their vehicle.
Buying Monroe OESpectrum Shocks
Monroe OESpectrum shocks and struts are low pressure twin tube replacement units built for imported cars. Using the Sensatrac's road sensing technology for the best ride possible, the OESpectrum shocks and struts are direct bolt-in replacements for worn out factory struts and shocks.
Recommended in our shock buying guide for: Daily Driven Cars, Commuting.
Monroe OESpectrum shocks represent imported excellence, offering superior ride comfort and performance. These shocks are designed to provide a high level of comfort for everyday commuting, making them a popular choice among daily drivers.
The Monroe OESpectrum shocks feature Monroe's proprietary OESpectrum technology, which offers exceptional shock control for a smooth, comfortable ride. This technology automatically adjusts to road conditions, enhancing ride comfort and vehicle control.
In addition to comfort, the Monroe OESpectrum shocks also deliver reliable performance. They are designed to restore the original handling and control characteristics of your vehicle, ensuring a safe and stable ride.
The Monroe OESpectrum shocks also shine in terms of durability. They feature a robust construction and high-quality materials, ensuring long-lasting performance. These shocks are also designed for easy installation, making them a convenient choice for daily drivers.
In essence, the Monroe OESpectrum shocks represent imported excellence in the daily driver shocks category. They offer superior ride comfort, reliable performance, and durable construction, making them an excellent choice for those who value ride comfort in their daily commute.