Shock Absorber Selection: What to Know Before You Buy

Are you thinking about getting new shock absorbers for your car, truck or SUV because it’s getting on in years, or considering replacing the shocks to get a different feel on the road?  In either case, this is a good place to start, especially if you’re new to the topic. We’re going to go over the different types of shocks there are, give you an idea of what kind might be best for your car or truck—or the way you drive—and help you get on the road with the control and confidence you want.  

Buy a new set of shocks with confidence. Here’s how.

Let’s get you started on the road to a new ride. First thing to know is that there’s a lot of terminology and a range of products out there, and you’re going to want to know what’s being talked about.
For instance, you’ve no doubt already come across the terms: shocks, struts and coilovers. And while they could all be part of a vehicle’s suspension system, you need to know that they are not the same. So, we’ll help you understand the differences between them.
When it comes to shock absorbers specifically, we’ll give you valuable and useful information about original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement shocks, adjustable shocks, and performance shocks.

Types of Shocks…and more.

Shocks vs. Struts vs. Coilovers (here are the differences!)
Being clear on the difference between shocks, struts and coilovers puts you ahead of the game. Every car has a suspension system to support the weight of the vehicle and help cushion the ride. The system can be a spring and a separate shock absorber for each wheel. (If you’re looking to replace your shock absorbers, that’s what we’re talking about here!)  There’s also a very common suspension system that uses struts instead of shock absorbers and springs. A strut is a combination of a spring and a built-in shock-absorbing component. Struts and shock absorbers are NOT interchangeable, so you need to be sure what your vehicle is using.
So, what’s a coilover? It’s simply the best of both worlds; a one-unit piece that can replace either a vehicle’s struts, or it’s spring-and-shock setup. Just so you know, coilovers have mega-adjustability built into them that allow you to adjust the height or “stance” of the vehicle, as well as greater tuning capabilities vs. a standard shock.
But let’s get back to shocks. Your shock absorbers’ main duties are to keep your tires in contact with the road at all times and absorb (dampen and lessen) the effect that bumps and road irregularities on your springs. New shocks will help with that better than ever.
Now, you get to decide if you want more from a new set of shocks. Let’s look at some possible options.

  • OEM Replacement Shocks. From old to new
    If you’re thinking it’s simply time for new shocks, you can switch out the old ones with new ones. OEM replacement shocks are made precisely for the model and make of your vehicle. These new shocks would be the exact same type that were installed at the factory. They’re sure to be good quality and the perfect fit for your car or truck. Your car will handle like it did when it was new! But what if you wanted more than just the same?
  • Adjustable Shocks. Ready for action.
    Adjustable shocks can give your car or truck a totally different feel when it comes to handling and control. Shocks that are adjustable can be adjusted for improved handling and traction. Shock adjustment is made possible by a built-in adjustment knob located on the side of the shock. This adjustment knob can be turned to allow a firmer or softer ride depending on the shock setting that is selected.
  • Performance Shocks. For the racing enthusiast in you.
    Performance shocks are higher quality shock absorbers made of high-quality performance-grade material that will outlast the standard shock absorber. But more than that, they’re designed for drivers who want more driving control and performance from their car or truck.

Choose What’s Right for Your Car/Truck, but also for You!

As they say, a little knowledge goes a long way. So, knowing the different types of shocks—and that you have options—what’s next? Do you simply want new replacement shocks, or do you want a set of high-quality adjustable or performance shocks that’ll put the horsepower to the ground?
Once you’ve decided what you want, selecting the perfect new shocks for your vehicle will be easy. With a little research, you can find the OEM part number online, or on the shock itself, and get a new set of shocks in your hands, ready to install and be put to work!