Best Shocks for Trucks – Reviews From a Longtime Trucker!
Your vehicle is likely to undergo different types of roads that usually bring about bumps, shaking, and, ultimately, an uncomfortable ride. Shock absorbers were created to absorb the shock or reduce the effect of the bumps or vibrations to provide the riders with a more comfortable ride.
Choosing the ideal shock absorber for your vehicle may turn out to be a head-scratcher, so to help you out, we have compiled and reviewed the best shocks for trucks that are currently being offered in the market.
If you want to find out more about them and choose the ideal shock absorber for your vehicle, do continue reading!
Bilstein 5100 Series Rear Shock Absorber
Bilstein 5100 Series Front Shock Absorber
Monroe Air Adjust Shock Absorber
Gabriel Air Shocks
ACDelco Spring Assisted Shock Absorber
Best Truck Shocks Reviews for a Smooth Ride
There are lots of different makes and models of truck shock absorbers available on the market, after digging deep, we have come up with a top quality products list.
All the products that we have selected for our review are all of the superior quality and build to ensure that you choose the best truck shock for your vehicle.
Continue reading if you are interested to learn more about these amazing shocks. Also we’ve even gathered some common truck shock frequently asked questions bottom of the article.
1. Bilstein (24-186742) 5100 Series Rear Shock Absorber
The first product we wanted to review is the Bilstein 5100 Series Rear Shock Absorber. This shock absorber was designed specifically, keeping raised trucks, jeeps, and SUVs in mind.
Crafted using the highest quality of materials, the Bilstein (24-186742) 5100 delivers superior control and great handling capability, which is precisely why it is considered to be the best shocks for Ford f150 4x4.
Once you start using this shock, you will notice that this shock absorber is the ideal one for heavy-hauling activities thanks to their excellent dampening quality. In fact, this shock absorber is perfect for almost any off-road activities or normal day-to-day driving.
Furthermore, the product sports a mono-tube design that delivers smooth rides as it has the ability to automatically adjust itself to the surface of the roads. The best part of this shock absorber is certainly the fact that you will not feel any difference in the terrains.
Incredibly, you will also notice an improvement in your seating arrangements so that you remain comfortable even during long-distance drives.
You will love how quick and simple it is to install thanks to the direct bolt-on method. Moreover, the large thick body that has a finishing made up of multiple layers of zinc guarantees a long-lasting life without withering away.
Therefore, if you are looking for the ideal shock absorbers that will offer you excellent service and experience, then you can count on this without a doubt.
Another great shock absorber by Bilstein’s 5100 Series is their Front Shock for Dodge Ram. This shock absorber is a game-changer for any truck, and you will notice the difference from the very beginning.
The first thing that we noticed about these shocks is that it allows you to lift the front of your truck up to 2.75 inches, depending on how much you want to lift it. You can also modify the heights of various terrains, which will guarantee you a smoother and more precise ride.
Since this absorber provides you with the prospect of lifting your truck, it thereby ensures the ability to cruise over any sort of challenges with intense power. The additional lift also guarantees to keep the vehicle sturdy for an extended period of time.
In addition to these amazing features, this absorber also works to enhance your seating arrangement to provide you with a comfortable ride even during long hours. Furthermore, you will notice drastic improvements in handling with increased wheel travel that will deliver smoother rides even under tough terrains.
All these features collectively work towards providing you with a smooth ride for any given situation, making it one of the best truck shocks that you can purchase at this time.
3. Monroe MA822 Max-Air Adjust Shock Absorber
Monroe is one of the oldest and most reliable shock absorber brands, which is why they have perfected the art of producing great shock absorbers. The Monroe MA822 is nothing but a work of art.
The MA822 is a mono-tube shock absorber that includes an air modifiable interior design that will allow you to deflate or inflate the shock as required by the vehicle’s load.
Thanks to their fully displaced valving technology, this shock absorber provides an enhanced valving range on behalf of both the extension cycles and the compression. This guarantees a much smoother and comfortable ride despite the condition of the roads.
But, that’s not even the best part about these shock absorbers. The highlight of these shocks is, without a doubt, the fact that it features an all-weather fluid that includes special modifiers, which help to decrease friction. At the same time, it also ensures a smoother rod reaction.
What is really admirable about these shock absorbers is that it is compatible with most vehicles that have an automatic leveling system. Moreover, since they were designed to deliver proper ride stature even if a lot of extra weight is added, it works great for heavy vehicles.
One thing that you need to know is that retainer nuts or lower bolts are not included in the shock absorber. As a result, you will need to go to your local workshop in case your bolt gets broken. Despite this small setback, it is still one of the best shocks for lifted trucks.
One of America’s leading shock absorber producers, Gabriel, was actually the first company that inverted the original shock absorber. Since then, they have created most of the variations we now find in the market and excel in creating each of them.
If you are looking for a sturdy shock absorber that is ideal for heavy loads, then the Gabriel 49235 Hijackers Air Shocks is just the right product for you. The Gabriel Hijackers will provide you with an exceptional lifting power of up to an astounding 1100 pounds a pair.
Apart from the lifting capabilities, this shock absorber also improves handling and considerably decreases the possibility of bottoming-out. This, in turn, also helps to improve the overall driving experience despite the type of road you need to use.
Now, to come up with a durable product, the Gabriel Hijackers features a super-finished chromed piston road that helps to avoid corrosion, certifies accurate seal lubrication, and provides the user with a dependable wear surface.
You may be happy with these incredible features, but Gabriel wasn’t. Hence, to extend the durability of the shock absorber, even more, it sports a leak-proof piston seal.
All of these great features collectively produced a shock absorber that is extraordinarily smooth and amazing to use and will require minimum to almost no maintenance; it doesn’t get any better than this, does it?
ACDelco has created some great shock absorbers amongst which we picked the 519-2 Specialty Spring Assisted Shock Absorber to be the best. We selected this shock absorber for all the great features that the unit is created with.
The first thing you will notice about the ACDelco 519-2 is the sturdy spring that is spiraled around the mono-tube shock absorber.
This spring helps to improve the vehicle’s stability while also maintaining the overall height of the vehicle. Moreover, the continuous front coil springs help to deliver a greater level of stability.
The best part about this shock absorber is that it combines the benefits of both shock technologies along with a standard spring. Thanks to this feature, it can stop the truck from going significantly lower when it is heavily loaded.
What was shocking to experience was the creation of 500 pounds worth of combined assisted force, which is achieved due to the absorber’s variable rate of rear coil springs.
This means you can load up your truck as much as you need to without having to worry about the truck’s capability of handling it or the balance and stability of the vehicle.
Furthermore, the use of a cohesive faultless drawn over mandrel tube helps to successfully minimize the possibility of wear and tear; thus, leaves you with a much longer-lasting product. The super-finish chrome piston further helps to prevent the unit from corrosion and stimulates proper seal lubrication along.
6. Bilstein BE5B514HO 6” Rear Lifted Truck Shock Absorber
If you are looking for a shock absorber that will enhance the performance of your vehicle even while confronting rough terrains, then you should definitely check out the Bilstein BE5B514HO. This shock absorber was designed to be a straight fit for your truck, which means installing this product is super easy.
This shock absorber is unlike any other that is being offered at the moment. It has a unique piston feature, which is digressive, which makes the absorber velocity-sensitive.
Furthermore, this astonishing feature will allow your vehicle to sense any change in the road conditions and react accordingly to provide you with a smooth and comfortable ride.
What you will love about this shock absorber is that it wasn’t just designed to lift your car or give you better control over tough terrains. No, it was crafted to give you overall great experience.
That means not only will you get amazingly comfortable seats, but you will also notice a significant improvement in your vehicle’s performance.
In addition to that, the absorber was built to be durable. It was built with high-quality zinc to prevent corrosion and give it a tough built. But, the best part about it is that it comes with a lifetime warranty, making it one of the best shock absorbers you can get your hands on.
7. Monroe 58640 Load Adjusting Shock Absorber
Another great air shocks by Monroe is their 58640 Load Adjusting Shock Absorber. This excellent absorber comes in a pair, which is great because you will always have an extra spare in case of any emergencies.
These absorbers sport an eye-catching spring-like design. The purpose of this design was to create an absorber that will adapt to the changes in the road conditions along with the weight to ensure that your comfort remains uncompromised.
Once you start using them for your truck, you will instantly feel the change in the performance and comfortability of your truck for the better. With these shock absorbers installed, you will have better control over your vehicle even in the toughest conditions.
Another great feature of these absorbers is that the valving adjusts on its own so that the vehicle is able to conserve an equal height throughout the way, even if the road conditions become extreme.
Finally, this unit has an all-weather fluid integrated, which means you will face reduced friction. This also guarantees that only minimal maintenance is required to keep the absorber fresh and new.
Additionally, these shock absorbers also feature a Fluon banded piston. It allows the sealing between the pressure tube and the piston to remain intact, making the unit even more durable.
8. KYB 565102 MonoMax Gas Shock
The MonoMax Gas Shock by KYB is truly one of the best truck shocks to have been created. This unit is honestly all that you require if you are looking to give your truck the ultimate turning point.
Now, the shock absorber has a convenient design, which makes adjusting and installing it super easy. Once you have it installed and you start using your truck, you will notice a massive difference compared to any standard shock absorber.
It is capable of producing up to 40% additional damping performance if compared to any standard gas shocks, which guarantees a smoother ride and improved controls. Additionally, the mono-tube design further assists you to get proper power over the vehicle, while it takes care of the technicalities.
Now, what we really loved about this shock absorber is its ability to provide the vehicle with an unfailingly consistent center of gravity. This means you will not have to worry about your truck’s stability while driving through rough conditions and especially while carrying a heavy load.
We loved that the absorbers were also designed to enhance the overall comfort of the vehicle’s seats. The use of zinc-coated steel helps to make the unit durable, while the off-road dust boot feature promises a long sustainable performance.
9. Bilstein 24191203 Shock Absorber
Here’s one more great shock absorber by Bilstein that we simply had to include in our review list. The Bilstein 24191203 has been designed to provide its users with a better quality ride.
This shock absorber has been featured with a unique velocity along with a sensitive digressive piston that allows it to react instantly and adjust the vehicle to meet the conditions of the road.
These features promise a much smoother transition when switching amongst different road conditions. Furthermore, these attributes are especially great for when you go out for any adventures up the hills.
What you will really admire about this shock absorber is the fact that it has been carefully tuned for each specific application to deliver the optimal performance. Furthermore, this shock comes with 360 PSI inert nitrogen gas that helps to limit shock fades and to resist the creation of shock fluid foaming.
This helps to keep the vehicle stable even if the vehicle has to face extremely difficult road conditions.
The custom-fit design of the shock absorber makes it compatible with almost all types of trucks. It also helps to make the installation process fast and simple. This genuinely makes this shock absorber one of the best shocks for semi-trucks currently available in the market.
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10. Rancho RS999254 RS9000XL Series Shock
The Rancho RS9000XL is an adjustable shock absorber that will provide you with an exclusive performance. It features a unique tuning technology that delivers you with nine different levels of performance.
This product will provide your vehicle with a considerable seamless lift while also maintaining if not improving the quality of the ride. It is also globally recognized as the first-ever 9 position shock absorber that can be manually adjusted.
Incredibly, if you purchase this shock absorber, you know for sure that you are getting a heavy-duty one that is a lot more affordable compared to other high-quality, heavy-duty absorbers. This shock is ideal for towing, hauling, off-road use, and so much more.
The 9 position shocks of the RS9000XL will help and allow the driver to adjust how soft or firm they would want the quality of the ride to be. And the extra-large shock body that the shock is housed inside helps to keep a cooler and more consistent performance despite the condition of the roads or the truckload.
Moreover, the design of this shock further helps it to be durable and increases the strength of the performance. The premium liquid metallic finish assists to give it a long lifespan, so you get the most out of your investment.
What to Look for When Buying The Best Shock Absorbers?
Here are some of the factors that you must be aware of and must consider before setting your eyes on a particular shock absorber. Failing to properly consider any one of them might result in you wasting your money, so continue reading to find more!
The Condition of the Road You Drive Through
The type of roads that you are planning on exposing your shock absorber to will help you determine which will be the best one for you and how long it will last. If you are someone that frequently goes on off-road adventures, then you should not opt for the standard shocks as it will not give you the service required.
Light duty shock absorbers are ideal for better overall performance for the vehicle. However, heavy-duty shock absorbers will be the ideal one for roads that are full of gravel or are muddy; in which case we will recommend getting the mono-tube shocks.
Ease of Installation
You need to make up your mind on whether you want to install the absorber yourself, or you want to go to a professional. If you do not wish to spend the extra cash on installation, then we will suggest you go for a shock absorber that requires no modifications and has a good design that will allow you to install it with ease.
On the other hand, if you choose a shock absorber that requires customization, then you need to go to a professional to ensure that the absorber is fitted correctly.
Material and Durability
Different brands or versions of shocks are made using different types of materials. Most shock absorbers are usually made out of steel or aluminum.
Getting a shock absorber that will make out of steel will save you money; however, it’s a nightmare to install. On the other hand, aluminum shocks are generally lighter and adjustable.
However, you should be very considerate while choosing the type of material you want to be used as it will determine how durable your shock absorber is going to be.
Moreover, you should also check out the construction to check if it is sturdy enough to handle a lot of pressure that comes from the load of the truck or the conditions of the road.
While quality, performance, and compatibility of the shock absorbers are the chief factors to consider, you should not overlook the price. So, before you board on making your purchase, you should definitely try to make a realistic budget and stick to it.
Now, the size of your truck, along with the brand you want to buy from, will have the most impact on determining how much you need to spend on getting yourself a new shock absorber. At the same time, in case you require a heavy-duty shock absorber, you will have to be willing to pay a lot more.
Types of Shock Absorbers
The first thing you need to learn about shock absorbers is that it comes in two main configurations – the twin-tube and mono-tube. Let’s learn a bit more about these two designs.
1. Twin Tube
A twin-tube shock absorber is designed to have an inner working tube as well as an external working tube, which basically carries the hydraulic fluid. Now, the twin-tube has its own variations and designs.
i. Gas Charged
For gas-charged twin tubes, the main purpose is to prevent hydraulic fluid from getting aerated. It does so by letting the nitrogen gas compress any bubbles that form in the liquid. This, in turn, helps to keep the air from mingling with the oil and, as a result, keeps it from creating foam.
This allows the shock absorber to react and respond a lot faster and more predictably.
Benefits of using gas-charged shocks:
ii. Position Sensitive Damping (PSD)
The position sensitive damping shock absorbers were created to bring about the perfect balance amongst ride comfort and handling capabilities. It does so by not only regulating the velocity of the hydraulic fluid but also by allowing you to take control of the valving system.
Thanks to the addition of precision-shaped grooves in the pressure tubes, the rider has the opportunity to open the orifice controls of the valves as needed to switch back and forth between soft and firm valving.
Benefits of using PSD
iii. Acceleration Sensitive Damping (ASD)
Similar to the PSD absorbers, the acceleration sensitive damping shock absorbers were also created to provide the users with control and comfort. This is achieved by focusing on the impact instead of just focusing on the velocity-sensitive damping.
A new compression valve has been designed and added to the ASD shock absorber to help to properly focus on the impact. This thereby provides the user with a smoother ride.
Benefits of using ASD:
Unlike the twin-tube shock absorbers that come in a pair, the mono-tube shock absorber is comprised of only one tube that is the pressure tube. These high-pressure gas shocks come with a couple of working and diving pistons inside the tube.
Now, the mono-tube shock absorber will allow the vehicle to mount upside down or right side up as it is compatible with different types of mounting. It does not come with a base valve since the control is done in the piston.
Benefits of using Mono-Tube:
Allows upside-down mounting which reduces the un-sprung weight
As the tube is always exposed to air, you will experience a more relaxed ride
What Type of Shock Absorber Does Your Vehicle Need?
The type of shock absorber that your vehicle will require depends on a variety of factors. And the most important factors that will determine the kind of shock absorber you will require are the size of your vehicle along with the conditions of road you will be exposing your vehicle to.
Now, if you want a durable shock absorber, then you should choose one in accordance with the type of road conditions you will expose your vehicle to. For instance, if you are someone who often goes on off-road adventures, then you need to get a heavy-duty shock absorber irrespective of the size of your truck.
If you own a standard-sized vehicle, you will require a standard shock absorber, but for a larger vehicle such as an SUV, you will require a heavy-duty shock absorber. But, if you only expose your vehicle to the standard road, then a standard shock absorber will do.
Here’s a standard list of what type of shocks you may require depending on the type of vehicle you own.
Vehicle Type: SUV (heavy-duty)
Shock absorber type: Air springs and mono-tube gas shock
Vehicle Type: Van (full-size)
Shock absorber type: Monotube shock
Vehicle Type: off-road truck (raised)
Shock absorber type: Monotube gas shock.
Vehicle Type: pick up (standard)
Shock absorber type: Original equipment replacement shock
Vehicle Type: SUV (standard)
Shock absorber type: Twin tube shock
Vehicle Type: Off-road Truck
Shock absorber type: external reservoir shock absorber
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Shocks Really Make a Difference?
The difference of riding with and without a shock absorber can be felt even by people who don’t drive as it is that evident. Without a shock absorber, your ride is likely to be uncomfortable, and your vehicle is likely to not have the proper stability as it would require.
What Do Shocks Do On a Truck?
The best shocks will help to dampen the bouncing movement of the vehicle when it encounters any sort of uneven roads. It also will help to maintain the balance and stability of the truck.
What’s The Difference Between a Shock And a Strut?
Shocks and struts essentially provide the same type of service. However, you cannot use one to replace them either.
The main difference amongst the two is that struts are a structural part of a vehicle’s suspension, whereas a shock isn’t. Additionally, a strut is also a vital part of a vehicle’s steering structure and plays an effect on the alignment angles.
Will My Shock Absorber Work If I Mount it Upside Down?
If you own a mono-tube shock absorber, it will support upside-down mounting; however, you won’t be getting the same service if you own a twin-tube shock absorber.
When to Replace Shocks on The Truck?
It is hard to determine how often you need to replace the shocks of your truck. Generally, a good shock absorber should be giving you a good five years of service; however, it will depend on the type of roads you have exposed your truck to.
One solid sign that your shocks have to be replaced is if there’s any oil leakage in your truck.
Are Bilstein shocks better than KYB?
Bilstein shocks are more durable and more smoother for off road driving where KYB shocks are a bit better with cornering.
How Long Do Shock Absorbers Last?
Above listed shocks can last considerably longer than the pre-installed ones. They last around 50000 miles in all vehicles, while the after-market ones can be used for up to 100000 miles, considerably more than the stock ones.
While it is possible to drive a truck without shocks or with worn-out shocks, it is not something that you should actively practice. A best shock absorbers play an integral part in achieving a smooth and comfortable ride.
We hope we have cleared out any confusion that you might have had regarding shock absorbers and helped you choose the ideal shock absorber for your vehicle. Good luck with your next purchase!