Some drivers still think that it is hard to call even the best shock absorbers as one of the essential elements in their vehicles. Although those spare parts can save the cars’ capabilities and prevent premature wear of other details as they are designed to reduce the suspension’s fluctuations when the vehicle is on the road.
How to choose the best shock absorbers considering that the low-quality products make the stopping distance 20%–40% longer, the ride bumpier and as a result, a car loses its stability on the rough road? The shock absorbers reviews below include the reliable parts that save their tightness for a long time and they’re not prone to corrosion or sealing ring’s wear.
One can find out the appropriate type of shock to stabilize the ride or haul extra heavy loads. The following absorbers are suitable for either heavy-duty or light trucks. They’re able to provide good adhesion between tire and surface and stable car’s track on the roughest road.
Shock Absorbers Reviews
When looking for the best shocks and struts for smooth ride, start with the ACDelco 580-435 dampers. The item with the magnetic ride is designed for Cadillac Escalade Magnetic ride suspension, but it also fits the whole array of the General Motors trucks/SUVs, as well as Chevy models. It will work well as long as the plugs are into the top of the strut.
The shocks can be installed in half an hour, but still, a spring compressor is required to install them. They fit both left and right, so it’s necessary to order two items at once, as It’s recommended to replace the shocks in pairs. In other words, if one goes out, you should replace the other side at the same time. The stud or T bracket with two bolts is required for upper or lower mounting respectively.
They don’t leak and totally fix the hard ride. The dampers are hydraulic, meaning that it’s possible to check the internal pressure and temperature and avoid the hydraulic oil overheating. They are also resistant to over-pressuring but demonstrate a stable damping force.
- It’s a mono-tube construction that allows withstanding intense pressure and fast movement as the fluid doesn’t start foaming.
- The product is highly responsive when adapting to the environment and maintaining efficiency.
- It might not be compatible with the clamp-on spring compressors. Check this to avoid removing the whole strut/spring assembly.
- The damper comes without a dust shield.
When thinking of the best shock absorbers for smooth ride, bear in mind the Monroe 58620. It fits the rear of a wide range of Chrysler vans. Note that the replacement is possible if the whole pattern in the shocks is the same. To bolt the damper correctly, two jacks (one is under the axle and another is necessary to jack up the body) are required. In this case, it’s possible to adjust everything to fit them, remove a wheel at a time and be sure to have an 18 mm socket and breaker bar.
The heavy-duty dampers are easy to mount with the aid of electric impact wrench that removes the nuts and bolts. If installing the shocks on the long-base van, they raise the rear at 1.5 inches that is a great result to get rid of bottoming out. Consider that the shocks are produced as helper springs for larger loads and towing and won’t replace the factory springs.
There is no height adjustment on this shock/spring combo. The back of the car will lift to whatever height that it’s gas pressure and spring force will counter. If normal leaf/coil spring is sagging, it will prop it back to near normal height. The term “adjustable” refers to the hydraulic valving and the level of damping depends on load/rate change.
- There’s no need to use a self-leveling system to make the shocks work.
- The product handles heavy loads as the car rides perfectly even when hooking it up to a trailer.
- The product isn’t applicable to any motorbike.
The list of the best shock absorbers for light trucks and heavy-duty vehicles would be incomplete without this product –a gas-charged OEM rear damper that is designed as a shock and strut part. It’s produced for such vehicles as 1999-2006 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4×4, GMC Sierra 1500 4×4 pickup trucks, 2001-2010 Silverado, Sierra 2500HD 2wd, and 4×4 trucks.
The shock is based on the brand tech of digressive valving that allows any vehicle to adapt to the surface – whether a car is on the road or while off-road driving. The dampers feature prominently on smooth highways and bumpy roads, they really cope with the truck empty, loaded, or hauling a 6,500 lb trailer. After the shocks have been installed, it becomes easier to control the truck and keep it going in a straight line instead of moving around all over the place.
The unit has sturdy construction as it’s made as a seamless extruded tube that is covered with case-hardened, chromed, and well-polished rod.
- Large piston diameter for better performance.
- It’s a bit longer than the OEM shock that allows it to work safely on trucks that are equipped with up to a 1.50-inch rear lift.
- The unit comes with a boot for its greater look and for protection its shafts against flying rocks, dirt, and mud.
- The dampers are too stiff for a light car or truck that’s why they make them rough.
When looking for the good shock absorbers, give attention to the Gabriel 43162. It is the mix of spring and shock techs. The unit features a leak-proof piston that makes its consumable for a long period. Besides, it comes with a chromed piston rod that prevents corrosion and provides rigorous seal lubrication.
The shocks aren’t adjustable so no valving positions are possible. They are also too stiff at first, but then they loosen up and enhance the ride quality significantly. The unit doesn’t increase the ride height, but it makes a smoother ride. It helps carry more of a load without bottoming out.
The installation of the dampers is slightly more difficult than standard shocks as the spring makes them harder to compress. If having a jack and jack stands, it should not be a problem. Just jack up the rear of the vehicle to allow axle getting as far from the frame as possible. Then, with a bit of hand pressure, push the shocks into place for bolting.
- The 43162 adds almost 450 lbs to the weight capacity of the bed.
- The truck doesn’t break loose while riding the mountain road with the frequent corners.
- The shocks come as a pair.
- The product doesn’t come with mounting hardware.
When wondering where to get the best truck shock absorbers, look at the Monroe MA822, these are rear air adjustable shocks for towing trailers and carrying heavy loads up to 1100 lbs. They are self-leveling and aren’t fitted with embedded electronics. The MA822 are sold as a pair and the air pressure intake ports provide push-on connections on each shock.
The model has a durable building since it features monotube construction and comes with the sintered iron piston and hardened piston rod.
The shocks connect directly to the automatic air leveling systems on some GM models and other vehicles with FE1 suspension (Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac). The direct replacement of air fittings makes the installation easier.
The Monroe MA822 can raise the vehicle with the right tubing and fittings, but they are designed to be a factory replacement for GM automatic load leveling. The valving inside the shock isn’t designed for the front end of the vehicle that’s why it’s not recommended to put the dampers on the front even if it fits and works in some situations.
The unit provides good stability over road imperfections, improved braking distance, high ride quality that is smooth and features good response with a reasonable amount of cushion. However, a cloud-like feel can’t be expected from such a budget product.
- The product fits Harley Davidson motorbike.
- The shocks come with new upper washers.
- No air line fittings included, it’s necessary to buy the kit separately.
- It lacks the extended hydraulic lockout that usually serves to prevent air bags from damages in extreme situations.
This KYB 554384 is among the most popular car shock absorbers as this a premium gas-filled shock works well if driving ½-ton or smaller trucks. However, this model isn’t designed for hauling or towing stuff (those tasks require a heavy duty shock).
The gas-adjust model outperforms the average twin-tube design and it has a unique ability to deliver more performance. Since some vehicles come from the factory already equipped with a higher-performing monotube design, the model can be a direct replacement to restore the vehicles’ originally designed performance.
However, it’s also suitable for increasing the performance of vehicles equipped with standard twin-tube shocks as it features a larger single-working cylinder that keeps the hydraulic fluid to make valving respond faster. So, the shocks deliver great improvement in the ride, meaning much less rear end hop and crashing noises over bumps on the highway, less stepping sideways, and quieter inside.
The installation is easy: just isolate the side, unbolt, slip the new one in, and bolt it up. However, it’s necessary to be extremely careful when threading top bolt back in. The nut is in a cage and it can move, so it’s not a problem to cross-thread but could be awkward to identify whether it’s started right or not.
- It’s a reliable product as fluid and gas are separated to prevent aeration.
- Perfect wheel alignment is provided.
- The product lacks the rubber seal that fits between the lower shock head and the control arm. Note that it’s integral to the shock and cannot be bought separately.
- The shocks have too narrow bolt holes.
If looking for the most comfortable shock absorbers, take into consideration this rear left hydraulic shock. It is sold separately and is installed as rear shock absorbers. They will fit both a stock truck and trucks with up to a 9- inch lift. A pair of these tools provides less body roll, handles potholes, and other road imperfections, as well as consistent contact between the tires and the road.
A reliable twin-tube part comes with a boot and polyurethane bushing material. It’s based on the cutting-edge foam-cell tech that ensures compression during oil expansion and makes the vehicle suitable for high heat environments. Chrome-plated shaft adds considerable durability. The unit’s orifice disk allows controlling the flow of fluid between the upper and lower working chambers.
- The high-quality paint finish of the mirror housing.
- It doesn’t fit the autoride models.
Working Principle of Shock Absorbers
As a car spring absorbs energy from the bump it should be controlled to dampen the load for safe vehicle handling at any speed and on any type of road. Shock absorbers (dampers, snubbers) fulfill the function of dampening to control spring oscillations.
If lacking the absorber, the suspension starts dancing around and it never settles. This fundamental element of the vehicle suspension system assumes the unwanted motion, and use their hydraulic, oil or gas fluid to turn the suspension movement’s kinetic energy into heat one. How the shocks manage to make such transformations?
They work on the basis of oil that flows through calibrated valves that provide compression and rebound forces to be adjusted by controlling the fluid flow in different driving situations. A piston inside a shock pushes the fluid through valves and thus, determines the necessary amount of resistance to movement. Actually, that amount can be always the same as some of them aren’t adjustable.
The nuances of the dampers’ work depend on their type. The majority of parts are hydraulic and telescopic. They are made with 1 or 2 cylindrical tubes and are called monotube or twintube shocks respectively. Strut units and spring seat shocks are developed for extremely heavy loads, but the latter cannot be restored.
How to Replace Shock Absorbers
The shock absorber replacement is easy if having the necessary kit of tools that includes floor jack, jack stands, breaker bar, sockets (17mm, 19mm, and 21mm), and torque wrench (optional). Then, follow the instructions below:
- Jack up the rear end and install jack stands under the axle.
- Put the tires out.
- Remove upper shock mounting bolts and then, lower shock ones.
- Mount lower side of shock first without tightening all the way.
- Place the jack on the body frame and raise the body to match the upper mounting holes.
- Install upper mounting bolts and tighten to the specified torque.
- Re-tighten lower mounting bolts.
- Re-install tires.
- Remove jack stands.
Let’s reveal how to attach air lines to shocks. As a rule, factory lines have a steel clip on each line. Pry them off with a small flat-blade screwdriver and pull the air line out. If the line is stuck, use some water-displacing spray and work it back and forth (it is always helpful to have a penetrating lubricant to help loosen rusty bolts, especially on the underframe attachment.). If it doesn’t help, move the black 90-degree boot down the line and use a small screwdriver to budge the O-ring. Move the 90-degree boot back up to the end of the line and put the clip back in the slots it came out. If you add a shot of spray, it should pop right back onto the shock.
Shock Absorber Lifespan
Even the best shock absorbers can wear down over time and require either restoration or replacement. The latter variant is more rational as some types of dampers aren’t designed to be restored or it’s just too expensive. The maximal shelf life of the absorbers reaches 5 years according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Sometimes, the dampers’ lifespan car mileage is measured by car mileage. In this case, it’s considered to ride for 50,000 miles before a replacement.
This term can be either reduced or prolonged considering the product’s quality and road conditions. For example, smooth driving can provide the absorbers with 10 years of work or up to 80,000 mileage. That’s why it’s crucial not to rely on formal rules but monitor the state of the absorbers.