If you drive a truck, whether on smooth, on-road terrains or on rough, off-road ones, you definitely require a shock absorber if you are to thoroughly enjoy and get the utmost benefit possible from your truck.
This is especially true if you will be doing some heavy tasks with the truck. These heavy-duty tasks can be anything from hauling large loads to towing other trucks.
No matter the purpose to which you apply your truck, the right shock absorber will help ensure that you fulfill it well.
The kind of shock absorber that you choose for your truck is dependent on several factors. These factors include the purpose to which you will use your truck as well as the terrain on which you will drive it.
In this article, we have provided you with ten (10) top rated shocks for trucks that are available in the market today.
Followed by this is a guide to help you in choosing the best shock absorber for your vehicle, whether it is a suburban, a towing trailer, a semi-truck, a pickup truck, or any other vehicle you have.
The shock absorbers in this article are suitable for a wide range of trucks, including but not limited to the following: different types of Chevy trucks and sub-urban (Chevy 1500, Chevy 2500, Chevy 3500, Chevy Colorado, Chevy S10, Chevy Silverado, and so on), different types of Dodge vehicles (Dodge 2500 Diesel, Dodge 3500 Diesel, Dodge Ram 1500, Dodge Ram 2500, and so on), different types of Ford (Ford Ranger, Ford F150, Ford F350, and so on), and several GMC models (GMC Sierra 1500 and GMC Sierra Z71, among others), and so many others.
This article is the product of tons of research, and we implore you to take it as such. It will be of great help to you and will help you in choosing the best shock for a smooth ride.
10 Best Shocks for Trucks For Smooth Ride Comparision Table
|~ Weight (lbs.)
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|Bilstein 24191203 5100
|Light trucks, tow trucks, SUVs
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|Bilstein (24-186742) 5100
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|Light trucks, tow trucks
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|Bilstein 24-187367 5100
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|Minivans, light trucks, tow trucks
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|SUV, light trucks
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10 Best Shocks for Trucks For Smooth Ride Reviews:
The Monroe 586400 Load Adjusting Shock Absorber will be an excellent addition to your vehicle due to its excellence and low need for maintenance. The device rapidly adapts to different weight and road conditions, which ensures that your comfort and safety during the ride are not compromised.
Under specific road conditions, this shock absorber provides you with the chance to feel the beauty of driving by improving your comfortability during rides.
Should these conditions change and become more demanding, the device will provide increased control so as to ensure improved maneuverability.
As already mentioned, the shock requires minimal maintenance as a result of the weather fluid it uses, which helps to reduce friction and ensure a smooth rod reaction.
The valves on this shock absorber adjust independently to ensure the passenger has the same height, no matter the terrain and its state.
The Monroe 58640 shock absorber features a fluon banded piston that helps ensure that the sealing between the piston and the pressure tube is consistent.
This leads to increased durability. It also makes use of a heavy gauge calibrated spring that provides additional control and comfort while driving.
The Bilstein brand is most likely the first name that will pop into your head when you are thinking of quality replacement shock absorbers. This is due to their long history of manufacturing quality shock products.
This Bilstein shock uses a monotube design that ensures fade-free performance. The shock is designed using top-notch materials that ensure its durability as well as efficient performance. This also ensures a smooth and comfortable ride when driving on comfortable terrains, whether loaded or otherwise.
The pistons of the device employ a velocity-sensitive technique that allows the user to adjust to the changes that occur in road conditions at a rapid rate.
This helps to maintain equal height across different terrains. The dividing piston also aids the elimination of foaming, as well as viscosity loss by permitting oil expansion in all heating conditions.
The Bilstein Monotube shock absorber considers the large wheelbase of lifted vehicles, which is why it is built with more damping capability.
In addition, the device features a high gas pressure that allows it to create a more efficient form of heat dissipation from the body.
Note that this model of shocks is not compatible with trucks alone, it also works well with SUVs, tow trailers and most lightweight trucks.
The Bilstein 5100 Series Rear Shock Absorber is ideal for use as a truck shock absorber and a majority of heavy stock vehicles such as SUVs, Jeeps, etc.
The device uses gas pressure technology that renders it capable of delivering excellent handling on both off-road and on-road terrains. It also helps to ensure a smooth and comfortable ride.
The shock absorber is filled with inert nitrogen gas at 360 PSI. This renders it capable of limiting fade and also of resisting shock fluid foaming.
The device is produced from a sturdy and durable metal, which ensures its durability as it is able to function at an impressive level across several years.
It uses top-notch technologies such as the 46mm monotube design that ensure consistent and fade-free performance in a wide range of driving terrain and conditions.
It also features a patented digressive valving that can react to changes in driving surfaces instantly and still provide smooth and consistent rides.
The device is constructed in such a way as to render the shock stiffer so as to eliminate wear resistance.
The Monroe MA822 Max-Air Shock Absorber is the ideal shock for vehicles that are used to tow trucks or haul heavy loads, as they are designed to provide proper ride height even when there is extra weight.
It features half-inch piston rods that are hardened and precision grounded in order to provide top-notch performance, across a long lifetime. It also features a weather fluid that has been carefully blended to reduce friction and ensure consistent, smooth rod reaction.
The compression cycle and extension cycle have been improved on each unit, through the fully displaced valving in order to make driving smoother and more comfortable.
This model of shock absorbers can be adapted for use in the majority of the vehicles that use an automatic leveling system. It can be adjusted to 150 PSI during normal driving.
The Monroe MA822 Max Air Adjust Shock Absorber uses a monotube design which makes its components hard wearing and suitable for a varied number of terrains.
The Bilstein (24-187374) Monotube Shock Absorber is a top-quality shock absorber designed to provide consistent and fade-free performance.
This rear shock absorber features a monotube design that makes it sturdy and durable through gas pressure technology. Each component of the shock has a multi-layer zinc finishing that renders it resistant to corrosion.
It is designed in such a way as to improve the performance of Jeeps, lifted trucks, or SUVs. As a result of its heavy-duty nature, it is quite stiff, although this does not affect the quality of the rides attainable.
The Bilstein (24-187374) Monotube Shock Absorber is easy to install, as all that is required is screwing bolts on and off, without any need for modification. Unlike some models of shock absorbers, it comes with all the supplies necessary for installation when it is purchased.
It also features velocity-sensitive digressive pistons that have been designed to respond instantly to changes in road conditions. This is in an attempt to facilitate smooth and consistent rides. Each shock absorber undergoes an application specific tuning so as to ensure optimal performance.
When you have the Bilstein 5100 shock absorber installed, you will be able to experience comfort and confidence as a part of your driving experience. This shock absorber assists you by adjusting the height of your vehicle in several road conditions in order for you to enjoy smooth and precise driving experiences.
It is guaranteed to provide your truck with a front lift of up to 2.75 inches, which is an easy way of leveling your vehicle. Leveling out your vehicle is an efficient way of preparing it for any kind of terrain, which allows you to drive through any road condition without letting go of the handling, comfort, and quality of the ride.
The extra lift also ensures your vehicle remains sturdy for an extended period of time.
This model of shock absorber ensures you are in charge of every situation you encounter on the road and that your passengers remain comfortable and undisturbed throughout the journey.
Additionally, it does not require the use of a lift kit, it requires that you fit the shock and adjust the height according to your choice.
The Monroe 58620 Load Adjust Shock Absorber features a full displacement valving that automatically adjust to every form of road condition, including the extremely bad ones.
It helps to ensure the truck drives smoothly and conveniently on any terrain. The shock absorber features an all-weather fluid, which ensures the reduction of friction in the system in order to facilitate a smooth rod reaction.
Also, it employs fluon banded pistons to seal the piston itself and the pressure tube in a bid to improve the handling, control, and durability of the shock absorber.
The device uses heavy gauge calibrated springs that allow it to maintain their ride height even when the vehicle has up to 1,100 pounds of cargo on board, in the form of towing, heavy truck bed loads, etc. It can be said that this shock absorber provides excellent value for the money.
The Monroe 911262 reflex truck shock absorber utilizes ASD technology, which is an innovative valving design that provides greater control and improves the comfort and handling of trucks through sense acceleration.
It features fluon banded pistons, which provide a consistent seal between the piston and pressure tube, thereby ensuring maximum durability and improved control. It also uses an all-weather fluid that is designed to reduce friction and, at the same time, ensure smooth rod reaction.
The Monroe 911262 shock absorber is able to adjust according to the condition of the surface on which the truck drives, ranging from potholes, bumps, etc., and ultimately improve handling.
It is relatively easy to install these shock absorbers even without prior experience.
The Monroe 911506 reflex monotube shock absorber is designed to produce better handling, performance, and control of light trucks and SUVs. It features a high-pressure gas charge that helps to improve damping efficiency and control by separating the internal oil and nitrogen of the shock.
This results in an additional spring rate and improved handling of the system, which further ensures a more cushioned ride. It also uses a unique hydraulic lockout that helps to cushion the impact on the vehicle when its suspension is extended.
The device features specially modified all-weather fluid that guarantees a reduction in the friction within the system which further ensure a smooth rod reaction
#10 ACDelco 530-301
The ACDelco is a brand known to produce top-quality shock absorbers that are perfect for SUVs, cars, and trucks. The ACDelco 530-301 front shock absorber is a heavy-duty shock that features a hardened chrome piston rod with small cracks that produces an extremely smooth, and self-lubricating surface that is able to resist both corrosion and scratch, across a long service life.
It also features a Drawn Over Mandrel (DOM) pressure cylinder that helps to reduce internal friction and improve sealing properties in order to ensure a long service life for the shock absorber.
This gas charged design helps to minimize fluid aeration that ensures better response and consistent control of the system.
Dirt and other contaminants are carefully eliminated from the internal rod through the multi-lip piston seal of the device that is permanently lubricated. It also features the O-ring hydraulic piston seal which provide more consistent control.
Notable mentions include Oredy shocks, Rancho easy shocks, Gabriel shocks, and Monomax shocks.
Shocks for Trucks Buyer’s Guide
Choosing the best shock absorber for your truck will be easy if you have the know-how. In choosing our list of the ten best shock absorbers to buy for your truck, the following are the criteria which we considered.
They will be of great help should you have the need to pick a shock absorber for your truck outside of the ones we have provided for you. You should not take this list lightly, as it is a result of tons of research into what goes into choosing shock absorbers of the best quality.
And if you use it correctly, we are sure you will find that it points you in the right direction.
The different types of shock absorbers
One of the most important information to have at hand when seeking to buy a shock absorber for your truck is the different types that exist. Having this knowledge will help you choose the type that is best suited for your particular truck, no matter the make.
This is especially important because purchasing the wrong shock absorber can result in a worsening of the condition of your vehicle as opposed to improvement.
The following are the different types of shock absorbers that exist from which you can decide which is best suited for your truck.
You will find that shock absorbers are classified in one of two ways. One of these is by configuration or design.
Classification based on configuration
There are basically two configurations that shock for trucks come in; the monotube configuration and the twin-tube configuration. Buying a shock absorber of one particular configuration will be dependent on the type of driving style you prefer, as well as on the quality of ride that you desire.
It is for this reason that you should understand what each configuration is and what it offers you and your truck.
#1 Monotube shock absorbers
Monotube shock absorbers are just as the name suggests; shock absorbers with just one tube although with two different chambers – the pressure tube. This singular tube is a high-pressure tube with the pressure being delivered by gas.
Within the monotube configuration shock absorber for trucks, you will find working and dividing pistons, which are responsible for the behavior of the shock absorber.
The major distinguishing factor between monotube shock absorbers and twin-tube shock absorbers is the fact that twin-tube shocks have the ability to enable upside down or right side up mounting without suffering any loss in function as opposed to monotube shock absorbers which cannot.
Besides, the piston of mono-tube shocks is where every control that occurs during the extension and compression of the shock while on the move due to its not possessing a base valve.
As a result of this, the rod and piston of this particular shock engage in an upward and downward motion, which is how they operate properly. How effectively monotube shock absorbers balance power is dependent on several features, including the size, shape, and number of washers present on its piston.
Monotube shock absorbers are very responsive, and as such, are the type you should go for if you will like your truck to have a higher degree of responsiveness than the manufacturer imbued it with.
#2 Twin-tube shock absorbers
The twin-tube shock absorber type has two different tubes, just as the name suggests. There is an internal working tube and an external one that has a hydraulic fluid reservoir, which enhances the working of the shock absorber.
Twin-tube shock absorbers can be further subdivided into three different types, which are; gas-charged twin-tube shock absorber, position-sensitive damping twin-tube shock absorber, and acceleration sensitive damping twin-tube shock absorber. Each of these is further examined below.
Gas-charged twin-tube shock absorbers: this particular type of shock absorber utilizes pressure provided by nitrogen gas situated within it to repress air bubbles present within the hydraulic fluid, thereby eliminating the remote possibility of air and oil mixing together, which would otherwise result in the generation of foam.
As such, this type of shock effectively inhibits the aeration of its hydraulic fluid.
The foam that would otherwise be created if aeration of the hydraulic fluid wasn’t inhibited will dampen the effectiveness of the shock absorber, and so, its elimination will result in the shock absorber being able to respond faster and quicker when it is in action.
Acceleration sensitive damping twin-tube shock absorbers: this particular type of truck shock absorbers is designed to provide the truck’s occupants with as much control and comfort as possible.
That is to say; it is designed to provide the best balance possible between control of the shock absorber and the comfort of the occupants. This balance is achieved by placing focus on the impact that occurs when using this particular shock absorber as opposed to the velocity-sensitive damping.
And this increased focus on impact is possible through a compression valve design that is different from the usual.
Positive sensitive damping: just like the acceleration sensitive damping shocks, positive, sensitive damping shocks are designed with the purpose of achieving a perfect balance between comfort and control.
Positive sensitive damping twin-tube shock absorbers accomplish this goal through the utilization of a particular technology, which instead of focusing solely on the velocity of the hydraulic fluid present within the shock, also takes into consideration the position of the valve that is present on the pressure tube of the shock.
Attaining this balance requires a high level of precision and attention to detail. This type of shock absorber basically has two different zones of action, one of which ensures comfort during normal driving situations and a second, which ensures improved and heightened control when driving in tough and demanding conditions.
Classification based on style
Shock absorbers for trucks are also classified based on their style. The following are those categories within which they fall when classified thus.
Gas shocks: Gas shocks are basically gas-filled shock absorbers. They are the most comfortable shock absorbers for light trucks and are sometimes referred to as light-duty shocks.
They are manufactured using oil and nitrogen gas, which are the substances responsible for the comfort that can be felt when trucks with this type of shocks are driven.
Gas shocks for trucks are better suited for roads that inadvertently lead to them (the trucks) bouncing around, which is the reason why they are more durable for smaller trucks than standard shocks.
One of the several benefits of this type of shock absorber is the fact that they are affordable and quite versatile.
#1 Heavy duty shocks
Heavy-duty shock absorbers are designed especially for heavy-duty trucks. That is to say that heavy-duty struts are the best shocks for towing trucks, trucks meant to be driven off-road, and those meant to be used in lifting and transporting heavy cargo.
Shocks that fall in this class have a center shaft that is bigger than those on gas shocks and standard shocks. Driving a truck that has a heavy-duty shock is usually a stiff and rigid experience, at least until it is transporting a heavy load.
They are best suited for trucks, SUVs, vans, and other such vehicles. Fitting sedans or coupes with this type of shocks will, however, be a very big mistake.
#2 Air shocks
Air shock absorbers can either be a blessing or a curse depending on your skill with them. This type of shock needs to be filled with air through an air inlet that they possess.
Without the inflow of air, air shocks will lack the pressure required to lift vehicles and provide their shock-absorbing features. They require manual adjustments, however, and will constitute a huge headache for someone who is not familiar with their handling.
One of the huge advantages of using air ride shocks for trucks is the fact that they help distribute the weight of the truck evenly.
Automatic level-control shocks: shocks in this category utilize an air pump system for use in ensuring equal distribution of the vehicle’s weight, which is responsible for the smooth ride that can be attributed to vehicles that use this shock absorber type. Automatic level-control shocks are not cheap, however, and can only be found on expensive vehicles.
#3 Overload shocks
Overload shock absorbers are sometimes also referred to as coil-over shocks. This shock absorber type comes with a spring coil wrapped around the external area of the shock cylinder.
The purpose of this spring coil is to ensure that the shock has a stiffer reflex action and, as such, isn’t very jarring when being driven on harsh terrain.
Overload shocks are great off-road truck shock absorbers as they are best suited for use by vehicles destined for off-road terrains such as rock climbers and dune buggies. Overload shocks are the best for Chevy trucks.
#4 Standard shocks
Standard shocks are exactly like the name suggests. They are the basic model of shock absorbers without any enhancement whatsoever. This type of shock absorber is what you should expect to find on new vehicles that are fresh out of the factory.
And what’s more, they hardly go farther than 100,000 miles before they are rendered unusable.
Choosing a shock absorber to buy
Now that you have such an in-depth knowledge of shock absorbers, it is necessary to know what to look for when in the market for one. Simply knowing about the different types of shock absorbers that exist for you to choose from isn’t enough.
It is important to know how to use this information in choosing the best shock absorber for your own truck. As you will have inferred (and as has been mentioned), the type of shock you buy for your truck should be compatible with that particular truck; else you will be doing more harm than good.
The durability of the material used
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing an automobile shock absorber is the type of material that is used in manufacturing it.
No matter the comfort and control that a shock absorber offers, without durability, which is the ability for it to last for a long while, it is useless.
One of the reasons for this is the stress involved in changing the shock every now and then, as well as the cost that will be incurred doing such.
As a result of this, it is absolutely crucial that you purchase a shock absorber that is made with highly durable and material. Shocks are made using a variety of materials, including steel and aluminum (which are the most common).
Steel shock absorbers cost less than aluminum shocks do, although installing them can constitute a bit of an issue. Aluminum shocks are, however, easier to install, although they are more expensive.
Buying a shock that is made from either of these materials is fine, although you will be better off going for one made with aluminum.
Intended terrain of use
When shopping for a shock absorber to buy, be certain to have in mind the terrain upon which you will be driving your truck the most. This will help inform the type of shock absorber you purchase.
If you are doing most of your driving on off-road terrains, you will require sturdier and tougher shock absorbers with the ability to withstand the kind of shocks that come with driving on such terrains.
If you will, however, be driving on roads that are more or less smooth, purchasing very sturdy shock absorbers will constitute a bit of an overkill as shocks of lesser toughness will do just fine.
What the reviews are
One of the most important steps to take when purchasing any product whatsoever, including shock absorbers, is to check for what people who have bought and used them to say about them.
This is very important because reviews will give an insight into what can reasonably be expected from a particular shock absorber in terms of performance, durability, comfort, and so on.
Shock absorbers made from even the best of materials can have issues. This can be the result of a mistake during manufacturing or other things. Reading reviews will help you avoid purchasing faulty products that you thought were of very high quality.
Yet another very important factor to consider when choosing a shock absorber for your truck is the price it goes for. While more expensive products usually have higher qualities, they are not always the best for a particular need.
That is to say; you do not have to break the bank for a shock absorber unless it is absolutely necessary. That is one way to save cost when buying a shock absorber: instead of going for the highest-priced product, go for that which fulfills your needs.
That is, however, not to say that you should choose a cheap truck absorber as a large majority of those who do not provide value for the money paid for them. Go for struts that are a good combination of value and price, along with those attributes mentioned above.
It is quite essential that you stick to a well-known and established brand when buying a shock absorber. One of the reasons for this is that well-established shock brands are quite concerned with their reputation, and as such, will do all within their power to ensure that their product is not only top-notch but also to provide premium after-sales services.
As such, it is best you consider a tested and trusted manufacturer first, before any other, except you aren’t particularly interested in buying a good shock.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly do shock absorbers do?
I come across the word, damper, a lot, how is it different from a shock absorber?
When should I change my shock absorber?
Seeing as most trucks come with standard shocks, you can reasonably expect the shocks to last for as long as 100,000 miles before they require changing. If the terrain on which you drive is very rugged, you will be better off changing your shock absorber after about 50,000 miles. Or, you can usually change your vehicle’s shock absorber every five years.
How will I know if my shock absorber is faulty?
- Your truck vibrates in an unnatural manner when you drive
- There are cracks in the shock absorber
- You do not have as much control on the vehicle when you brake as you used to
- The vehicle takes longer to stop than is usual
- You notice that fluid is leaking from the shock absorber
My new shock absorber feels stiff, what do I do?
Which is easier to fit; the monotube or the twin-tube shock absorber?
In Conclusion To
A good auto shock absorber is essential for two basic reasons. One is the fact that it helps achieve comfort while driving. The other is that it is directly tied to the amount of control a driver has while driving.
In other words, a large percentage of comfort and safety can be attributed to shocks. As you will have inferred, different types of shock are best suited for different scenarios.
This is why it is essential that you have the right knowledge required on how to match shock absorbers to your needs, and thus, choose the right ones. And we are certain that after reading this article, you will have gained this knowledge.
Thus, you will be prepared to pick the best possible shock for your needs. Besides, we have provided you with some of the best-rated shocks on the market for you to choose from.
It, once again, bears mentioning that you should avoid cheap shock absorbers/struts as much as possible, as they very probably won’t provide the best service possible.