When it comes to the various systems in place on every vehicle, shock absorbers tend to be the most impactful yet least recognized. While talking about shock absorption may not be as exciting as talking about horsepower, it should still be a huge consideration in the quality of your vehicle. Many cite that the shock absorbers are some of the most important components for the safe operation of any vehicle. As a result, it can be quite a difficult and anxiety-inducing choice when it comes time to choose your replacement shocks for your vehicle. In an effort to reduce some of that stress for you, here are some tips to help you choose the right shocks for your truck. This article will cover:
- What are truck shocks?
- How do shock absorbers work?
- Signs it is time to replace your shock absorbers
- How long shock absorbers typically last
- Main types of shock absorbers
- How to know what shocks are perfect for you
What Are Truck Shocks?
Truck shocks are one of the biggest systems of prevention that keeps your car from being harmed from any rough conditions that may be present on the road. The shocks sit right above the wheels in all vehicles, firmly holding them to the pavement to provide traction for forward motion. At the same time, shocks are responsible for ensuring that any upward energy caused by road bumps, divots, or potholes does not get a chance to reach the body of the car where it could do some damage to the vehicle frame.
How Do Shock Absorbers Work?
Whenever you hit a dip or bump in the road, a vehicle's suspension and shock springs move in a way that ensures that the tire maintains contact with the road. While the wheels move up and down with the road, the shock absorbers will dampen the movement of the springs. They do this by converting the kinetic energy that the spring is producing into thermal heat energy. This thermal heat energy is then transformed into hydraulic fluid. Because shock absorbers are oil-filled cylinders, this up and down movement is further slowed through the hydraulic action of the shock absorber and the piston within the shock absorber. This system will work to dampen any and all severe bumps in the road while simultaneously ensuring that the system does its best to prevent you from bottoming out on your shocks.
When Do You Need To Replace Your Shock Absorbers?
Because shock absorbers are such a critical system in any vehicle's suspension that directly impacts the quality of driving, you will usually be able to tell that your shock absorbers are failing before it becomes too much of a problem. Some of the most common side effects of failing shocks that you can expect can include:
- Unnecessary dipping when braking
- Uneven tire wear
- Unexpected swerving or wandering when wheels are straight
- Loud and jarring vibrations upon acceleration
- Steering wheel shakes while on a smooth road
- Vehicle sways in the wind easily
- Longer stopping distance than expected
How Long Do Shock Absorbers Typically Last
Under most circumstances, you will typically be able to expect your shocks to last up to 10 years. However, under some circumstances, you will typically expect shocks to last for around 5-7 years, depending on the amount of use that the vehicle has received. No matter the circumstance, please be aware of the main activities that will lead to accelerated shock absorber wear. The most common of these activities include:
- Deep water crossing and mudding
- Harsh and hefty impacts on the shocks
- Excessive bottoming out
The Main Types of Shock Absorbers
In the realm of automobile shocks, there are four main types of shock absorbers for you to choose from. These will vary widely in the intended purpose and their best-use scenarios. The main types of shock absorbers are:
- Original-equipment replacement shocks: These are the replacement shocks that are typically the cheapest. In most cases, these will be the exact same design as your original shocks, and as such, will give you comparable performance.
- Mono-tube gas shocks: These are the types of shocks most often seen on off-roading-oriented trucks. This is because they reduce the ride height while still providing the same shock absorption, making rollover a much less common occurrence.
- Short aftermarket shocks: Short aftermarket shocks are mainly seen in pickup trucks with lower suspensions. They are most commonly lowered to reduce wind drag and improve fuel efficiency, while still providing a full range of movement for your truck wheels.
- External reservoir shocks: These shocks are typically seen in racing off-road trucks. These have a high range of motion and deal with high temperatures exceptionally easily. Even so, these are by far the most expensive types of shocks you can get.
How To Know Which Shock Absorbers Are Perfect for You
When it comes to shock absorbers, it can be hard to know for sure which shocks are perfect for your automobile. In reality, every single automotive body is different, just as drivers' intentions vary. For this reason, it is impossible to say for sure which shock absorbers are right for you. However, there are some metrics that you can utilize to give you the best idea of which shocks are the best for your situation. Some of the most important metrics to look at include:
- Intended ride height
- Chassis clearance when fully compressed
- Intended usage of vehicle
If you go by these metrics, you are sure to find a shock system that is perfect for both your vehicle and your applications.
We hope this article has been helpful in helping you choose the right shocks for your truck. If you are looking to purchase shocks and struts for lifted trucks, be sure to check out Supreme Suspensions. We have an amazing selection of all lift kits and lift kit accessories for you to choose from!