So, you’re planning on lifting your truck pretty soon. More power to you because that kind of modification can really add some aesthetic appeal and enhanced control to your ride. But before you start this kind of modification, you need to know that it might require other parts of your truck to be replaced. Specifically, you’re going to need to look at getting new shocks for your lifted truck.
A lifted truck, by definition, rides higher than the original suspension allowed for. As such, there’s more space that needs to be properly dampened when your truck rolls over an obstacle. A post-lift shock absorber can do the trick, given that they are all longer than standard shock absorbers to account for the added suspension height.
As you might expect, though, not every post-lift shock absorber is compatible with every type of truck. That’s why in this guide, you’ll learn to spot a post-lift shock absorber that fits your needs and your budget. Better yet, I’ve reviewed 7 of this year’s best shock absorbers for a lifted truck so you can make your purchasing decision without further delay.
How Shock Absorbers Work on a Lifted Truck
Typically, a truck that has been lifted by 3 or more inches requires new shock absorbers. This is because the increased ride height causes more pressure to be placed on the stock suspension when your truck rolls over a rock or a pothole. These shock absorbers work much like your stock units, save for the fact that they are longer and typically can handle a greater amount of weight per pair.
New shocks are necessary for most lifted trucks. Otherwise, you’ll immediately notice your ride becoming much more bumpy and rugged when traveling over anything but a smooth paved road. Adding this kind of specialized shocks can also save your suspension from sustaining undue wear, which would cause its structural integrity to degrade far faster.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Lifted Truck Shocks
Vehicle Year, Make & Model
As with many components of your truck, its shock absorbers have been specifically crafted to account for the vehicle's dimensions and weight. The same goes for post-lift shocks, which should always be purchased to match your truck's specific year, make, and model. Many post-lift shock sets specify which models they are compatible with, so always check their manufacturer’s listing information if you are unsure.
Lift Height and Type
Post-lift shocks are usually categorized upon their length, or in other words, their compatibility with certain lift heights. As such, you should always ensure that your chosen shock set is long enough to cover full height from your truck’s suspension to its new ride height.
Also, be sure to check if your chosen shock set is designed to replace body or suspension shocks. This can make a difference regarding how those new shocks perform, so it is crucial that you only choose post-lift shocks that are appropriate to the type of lift you performed or plan to perform.
Though all post-lift shocks can bear hundreds of pounds of pressure, some are only made to handle certain kinds of driving conditions. As such, a driver who regularly takes their truck off-road for work or recreation should be sure to pick up an off-road style set of post-lift shocks. Meanwhile, a driver whose truck mainly operates on paved roads or is involved in hauling should get highway or towing style post-lift shocks, respectively.
When it comes to lifting a truck, you may find that only certain shocks on your truck need to be replaced post-lift. As such, you should only pick out shock sets that are designed to serve as front or rear shock absorbers. Some kits will include both kinds, though, so be sure not to mix the two up if you plan on performing this modification on your own.
Naturally, you should pick out the most durable shock absorber set you can afford. Ideally, your chosen set should be built from sturdy materials and assembled in the US. However, because you won't be able to test your shocks out in advance, you should look to other user's reviews to gauge each set's performance in the field.
Ease of Installation
If you plan to install your own post-lift shock absorbers, be sure to get a kit that does not require professional knowledge or tools to install properly. In order to gauge a given kit's difficulty on this front, be sure to read other user's reviews. You can pay close attention to reviews from known amateurs, as their skills most likely match your own.
7 Best Shock Absorbers for Lifted Trucks Reviewed
1. Bilstein 33-238319
First up, I'd like to tell you about the Bilstein 33-238319, which I considered to be one of the best shocks for a lifted truck. As my top pick, it should be no surprise that this monotube gas shock set can accommodate most basic lift heights of 3 inches or less. While this height limitation may be an issue for truckers with 4 inch+ lifts, this shock’s height is more than enough to serve most trucker’s needs.
In terms of performance, you can expect this model's working piston to provide a more significant amount of dampening than previous models from this line. That's because the Bilstein 33-238319 has a larger working piston than before, which is a worthwhile upgrade. This model’s self-adjusting deflecting disc valving also makes a major difference on that front by allowing for reliable fad-free performance.You'll be able to count on these shocks to withstand what the road has to throw at it. In fact, the Bilstein 33-238319’s zinc-plated and chromed finish should help extend its productive lifespan well beyond other competitors in its price class. Though it is unclear precisely how far its “lifetime warranty” extends, it is clear that this is still a worthwhile shock set to invest in for your truck.
2. Bilstein BE5B514H0
Best Shocks for Rear Lifted Trucks
Vehicle Service Type
Chevy Silverado 1999-2016
Lift Height Compatibility
Next up, I want you to take a look at the Bilstein BE5B514H0. It’s considered one of the best shocks for rear lifted trucks on the market today, not least because of its impressive extension and compression lengths at 29.92 and 18.17 inches, respectively. This shock set is also compatible with trucks lifted up to 6 inches, making it a worthwhile option for anyone with a Chevy Silverado built between 1999 and 2016.
Bilstein has engineered the BE5B514H0 model such that it can ideally bolt right on to any compatible truck’s lifted suspension. Indeed, in most cases I’ve seen, these shocks attach without complaint or delay. However, it seems that some models within this kit’s compatibility range are not an ideal fit. As such, some brushing grinding may be warranted to get these shocks into a snug fit.
But if the installation goes well, you'll immediately notice the Bilstein BE5B514H0's top-quality performance. Specifically, you'll see how this model's self-adjusting monotube design allows for each shock to rebound and compress independently. You might even notice this model's multi-layer zinc finish, but only after it protects your entire shock from corrosion over its extended lifespan.
3. Rancho RS5000X
Best Shocks for 6 Inch Lifted Trucks
Vehicle Service Type
1999-2006 Chevy Silverado
Twin tube gas
Lift Height Compatibility
Yes, “limited lifetime”
If you’re in the market for the best shocks for a 6-inch lifted truck, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Rancho RS5000X. Like other shock sets from Rancho, you’ll get a great deal of value in this kit. That’s because it includes two front and two rear shocks for one flat price. Those shocks are compatible with a 6-inch lifted 1999-2006 Chevy Silverado, too, so drivers of those older truck models can be sure they have a perfect fit.
Here’s something I hadn’t seen until these shocks came around - nitrogen gas-pressurized twin tubes. While these have become a bit more common in recent years, I'm still thoroughly impressed at the Rancho RS5000X's ability to minimize fade using this gas pressurization system. I'm also fully impressed by this set's shim-stacked valving. They really do manage to synchronize motions between the shock and the vehicle nicely.
As for durability, the Rancho RS5000X is also a top performer. For example, each mounting point in this set includes double-welded loops to ensure that they remain durable over many years of use. This set’s shocks also include red polyvinyl accordion boots that prevent the shock rod from securing to pre-mature corrosion.
4. Rough Country N3
Best Shocks for 8 Inch Lifted Trucks
Vehicle Service Type
2007-2019 Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra
Lift Height Compatibility
Yes, 3 year
I’ve seen firsthand that extra high lifts have become more popular lately. That’s why I want to let 2007 to 2019 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra drivers know about the Rough Country N3. These are the best shocks for an 8 inch lifted truck, and few other models in its class can even compete. After all, with an extension length of 30.08 inches and a compression length of 17.87 inches, it is hard to compete in terms of basic capability.
Beyond the basics, though, the Rough Country N3 set is among the most balanced when it comes to both highway and off-road driving. In fact, this model’s 54mm shock body cools very quickly in either condition and is especially able to resist intense vibrations on bumpy roads. At only $90 for a pair, you can also see that these shocks pay for themselves upfront and over the course of their lifetime.
Speaking of which, you can be sure that the Rough Country N3 shocks will perform for you for at least 3 years after installation. If not, this brand's clear-cut warranty will cover its replacement. I wouldn't expect these shocks to give up the ghost that quickly, however. After all, key components of these shocks (such as the chromed-hardened 18mm piston) have been built with long-term performance and durability in mind.
5. Monroe 58654
Best Shocks for Trucks with Lift Kits
Vehicle Service Type
2000-2018 Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra
Twin tube spring
Lift Height Compatibility
Yes, “limited lifetime”
Here’s another of the best shocks for a truck with a lift kit – the Monroe 58654. This shock set comes as a pair and provides a decent level of performance, both when extended out to 24.830 inches or compressed down to 15.540 inches. It’s also fully compatible with a wide range of popular trucks, meaning that drivers of a 2000 to 2018 Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra can turn to this set with confidence.
Though it might not look like it on the surface, the Monroe 58654's shocks actually utilize twin-tube architecture. But to supplement that, this shock set uses a heavy-gauge calibrated spring. Taken together, these shocks can support a combined 1,100 lbs. of pressure at any given moment. In practice, this means that a lifted truck equipped with these shocks rides much more comfortably than with OEM shocks.
I have noticed that the Monroe 58654 shocks do have one bad tendency as they age. To be specific, they tend to create more noise than most other shocks in this class. This can be an issue if you want to get as much work out of your shocks before replacing them. But as a tradeoff, these shocks do come with a limited lifetime warranty that appears to be pretty easy to activate.
6. Skyjacker B8517 MAX
Finding adjustable shocks for lifted trucks is more complicated than entirely necessary. Even many good auto parts stores don't carry any for most popular truck models. However, if you spot the Skyjacker B8517, you'll know you're in luck. This shock set offers a wide range of compatibilities and can be adjusted. Just how far it can be adjusted isn’t exactly clear, though, given that this model doesn’t include its lift height compatibility in its listing information.
But that aside, you’ll surely be as impressed as I was to learn that this model is among the first to utilize foam-cell technology. As such, little to no air will ever make into these shocks, thus ensuring that they always compress and extend properly. Speaking of which, these shocks offer a pretty solid extension and compression length as well, at 27.07 and 15.95 inches, respectively.
Installing these shocks shouldn't take more than a couple of hours, even if this is your first time changing your own shocks. That’s because this set allows for 180-degree directional mounting that can conform to your truck’s unique lifted architecture. After that, you may not need to change your shocks again thanks to the durability shown in these shocks’ chrome-plated shaft and sintered iron piston.
7. ACDelco 519-2
Finally, if you’re looking for some of the best truck shocks for a smooth ride, the ACDelco 519-2 will be a perfect choice for you. These shocks feature a larger bore size than most other models in its class. As a result, they are better able to react quickly to bumps in the road. This larger internal working area also reduces stress over the entire unit’s length, thus increasing its overall durability long-term.
Speaking of durability, the multi-stage sealing in these shocks minimizes internal temperatures far beyond expectations. As such, I would expect them to maintain their like-new performance for at least a couple of years after installation. To that end, I don't think the ACDelco 519-2 shocks will have any trouble reaching their 20.45-inch extension maximum or 12.62-inch compression maximum any time soon.
But, should a problem arise, the ACDelco 519-2 shocks have one of the best warranties in its class. This warranty covers both shocks for up to 24 months. That coverage remains the same, regardless of how many miles you’ve driven since installing them. As a result, the ACDelco 519-2 can undoubtedly be considered a wise investment.
How to Install Shocks on a Lifted Truck
Installing shocks on a lifted truck is relatively similar to replacing shocks on a standard truck, save for the increased height. Therefore, after picking out and purchasing your new compatible shocks, you’ll need to obtain a car jack that can hold your vehicle.
Once you have your truck securely jacked up, you’ll want to check the current shock mountings. If they are covered in debris, you’ll want to spray them with metal cleaner before attempting to remove them.
There are further steps to this process, most of which can be seen in this helpful video.
Lifted Truck Shocks Maintenance
If you're noticing any issues with how your lifted truck is performing in terms of stability, then that might be a sign that your shock absorbers need replacement.
For example, if you are having any steering or braking problems that cannot be resolved through other means, then your old shocks might be to blame. Similarly, unusual tire wear can be caused by misalignments resulting from one or more faulty shock absorbers.
You can read even more about the most common signs of a worn-down shock absorber here.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What is the best brand of shocks?
There are a variety of trusted strut brands in today's market. For example, many mechanics turn to Bilstein and Rancho brand shocks when looking to replace a lifted truck's shock absorbers. However, Rough Country and SkyJacker are also worthwhile options.
How long do shock absorbers last?
A shock absorber's lifespan depends much on how rigorously they are used regularly. If a truck is generally driven on paved roads, its shocks can be expected to last up to 10 years or more. However, large amounts of wear and tear caused by off-road driving can cause a set of shocks to wear down in as few as 4 years.
How often should I change my shocks?
You should have your shocks checked every year when you go in for routine maintenance at your local auto shop. However, if you regularly utilize your shocks during off-road driving, it may also be prudent to have them checked every 6 months. Your mechanic can advise you when it is time to change your shocks, which may take sooner or later, based upon your truck's normal driving conditions.
How much does it cost to change shock absorbers on a lifted truck?
Individual shocks can cost between $60 and $130 on average, making a set cost between $120 and $260 on average. When combined with the cost of labor, a lifted truck driver can expect their shock replacement to cost between $150 and $300.
How do I measure shock length for my lifted truck?
Shocks should always be measure from their full uncompressed state. However, this may be challenging without removing one of your truck’s existing shocks first. As such, you may be able to check your vehicle’s spec sheet to see if it lists the original shock length.
Once you have that length, add in the length of your lift. That should provide you with the proper length you need to obtain for your new post-lift shocks. This video can show you how to measure a shock length in greater detail.
How long does it take to change truck shocks?
If you have experience replacing your own shocks, this job can be done in a matter of hours. However, first-timers may want to set aside a full afternoon or evening to get the job done correctly. Most mechanics can also replace a set of shocks within a day. However, this kind of professional replacement may take longer if the mechanic needs to order the shocks.
Should I replace all 4 shocks at the same time?
If your budget allows for it, yes, doing so ensures that all of your shocks are in a similar condition throughout their lifespan. However, if your budget is limited, always be sure to at least change your shocks in pairs. Only doing a single shock at a time can lead to front or back end instability.
By now, you should be fully prepared to make arrangements for new shocks on your freshly lifted truck. I hope you now understand the importance of making this change, particularly when it comes to maintaining your favorite truck’s handling and performance.
Before you head off to buy a new set of shocks for your lifted truck, I want to remind you of my top pick in this category. As long as your truck is compatible, the Bilstein 33-238319 is the way to go. Their monotube gas pressure construction and direct fitment make them fairly easy to install on your own. Meanwhile, these shocks always reduce harsh changes in suspension pressure through their built-in high flow pistons and self-adjusting deflecting disc valving.