If you want a smooth ride in your pickup, you need to invest in the best shocks for trucks. Still, it’s not always easy to find the ideal option, which is why we provided these best shocks for trucks reviews. We evaluate the quality, durability, and performance of various options to help you find the best model for your truck.
Shock absorbers reduce vibration and energy created by suspension movements. High-quality absorbers take the kinetic energy created from movement and dissipate it through the hydraulic fluid.
Consider the shock absorber to operate much like an oil pump that’s put between the wheels and the truck frame. Not all vehicles have shocks but instead come with just struts.
Types of Truck Shocks
Monotube Shock Absorbers
Monotube shocks are filled with high-pressure gas but only have one tube. This tube is divided into two chambers: the oil and gas. The rod and piston move to balance force. This type of shock is often found on light trucks, SUVs, and passenger cars.
Twin-tube Shock Absorber
Twin tube shocks come in gas-charged format, acceleration sensitive damping, and position-sensitive damping. In this setup, the air and oil don't mix, which prevents air bubbles in the hydraulic fluid.
Position Sensitive Damping (PSD)
PSD allows riders to open the valves to adjust the ride. It offers superior control between comfort and capability. Essentially, it’s like getting two shocks in one. With this design, you can rapidly adjust based on road and weight conditions.
Acceleration Sensitive Damping (ASD)
The ASD shocks allow for even greater control while reducing a harsh ride. The controls are completely enhanced while never sacrificing the comfort of the driver. The adjustment is automated based on road conditions.
Coil Over Shocks
Coilover shocks have a coil spring located around the shock. These springs support the truck’s weight and allow for a more controlled suspension movement. Many of these are also adjustable for additional performance.
The gas-charged shock is firm and sportier. It contains nitrogen gas that’s injected into the shock under high pressure.
Heavy-duty shocks have a longer life and are built to handle the bumps. The term relates to longevity, not necessarily the performance.
Standard shocks are the basic components that come from the factory on most vehicles, although some have upgraded options on higher trim levels.
Automatic level-control shocks contain an air pump that helps control the weight distribution of a vehicle.
You can increase the ride height with air shocks. This is helpful when you plan to carry a heavier load.
If you regularly carry heavy loads, you need the additional capability. Overload shocks offer more cushioning to handle the weight and provide a safer ride.
Truck Shocks Compared
2001-2010 GM 2500/3500HD 4WD
2002-2008 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD
Lifted 2014-2018 GM 1500 2WD/4WD
Silverado 1500, 1Ram 1500, Ram 2500/3500,GMC Sierra
Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500/HD/2500, Dodge Ram 1500
Avalanche, Silverado 1500 Sierra 1500, Suburban, Tahoe and Yukon SUVs
Avalanche, Silverado/Sierra 1500/2500/3500, Suburban, Yukon and Hummer SUVs
Choosing Quality Shock Absorbers For Your Truck
The type of truck you drive makes a big difference in what type of shock you purchase. After all, the best shocks for lifted trucks aren’t going to be the same as the best shocks for lowered trucks. Make sure you choose an option that’s compatible with your year, make and model of pickup.
Type of Shocks
Choosing the best rated shocks for trucks starts with picking the appropriate type. You can choose from overload, air, automatic, standard, heavy-duty, and gas shocks. The vehicle you drive dictates which of these is the most appropriate. If you attempt to use the wrong type, it will only lead to problems.
Usage or Purpose
The roads you drive on also dictate what type of shocks is best. If you head off-road, you want the best shocks for 4x4 trucks; standard shocks simply won’t cut it. Heavy-duty shocks are also ideal for gravel or muddy roads, while the twin tube shock works well to create a smoother driving experience.
Material & Durability
Several different types of materials are used for shock production. Often, the type of material dictates the longevity. Most shocks are constructed from steel or aluminum. Steel ones cost less, but they are difficult to install and don’t allow for adjustability, while aluminum is lighter and easier to work with.
Not all shocks are adjustable. However, some allow you to adjust how much oil travels through the shocks. When less oil is allowed through, it creates a stiffer shock while allowing more oil through creates a smoother ride. Some shocks are adjustable with a screw or knob, but there are also more advanced systems with sensors.
Ease of Installation
Do you want to pay for a professional installation, or are you hoping to perform the job yourself? Some models require additional customizations that you might not be prepared to handle on your own. Read through the reviews to find out how difficult the installation is for each shock model.
Price & Warranty
While we all want to save money, you can't simply choose the cheapest shocks for trucks, or you will be disappointed. First, you want to pick from a reputable brand. Then, you want to choose an option that offers a decent warranty length. With these two factors in play, you get the best value for your money.
7 Best Truck Shocks Reviewed
1. Bilstein (24-186742) 5100 Series
Our Top Pick!
Brushed aluminum with zinc-plating
Bilstein is one of the top companies to choose when you want the best performance shocks for trucks. This particular model fits the 2001-2010 GM 2500/3500HD 4WD but won’t work with Quadrasteer-equipped trucks. These shocks ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride, no matter what road conditions you travel across. If you plan to head off-road, you will find that these are the best shocks for 4x4 trucks as well.
Plus, the unique construction ensures that this shock lasts longer than most others. That’s precisely why the company throws a limited lifetime warranty on them. The shocks are constructed in the United States with vulcanized rubber bushings for maximum durability. They are also zinc-plated, so you don’t have to worry about the integrity.
The monotube design allows the perfect balance between performance and cost-effectiveness. Plus, the kit comes with OEM certified mounting hardware to make the installation as simple as possible. If you want to save money without sacrificing quality, you can’t go wrong with Bilstein shocks. Even the top performance cars now come with Bilstein equipment for maximum performance. We recommend these shocks for anyone with a 2001-2010 GM truck that seeks a better, more controlled ride at a reasonable price.
2001-2010 GM 2500/3500HD 4WD
2. Monroe 58640 Load Adjusting
Best Monroe Shocks for Trucks
If you own a 2002-2008 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD, you can purchase the best truck shocks for a smooth ride and a reasonable price. This set of load-adjusting shocks contains all-weather fluid with specialized modifiers that further reduce the friction and ensure a smooth ride. Plus, they contain full-displacing valving, tuned to provide a consistent feel every time you hit the road.
When you want suspension equipment for towing, it’s vital that you have access to adjustability, such as with this Monroe option. You can inflate or deflate the absorbers from 20 PSI to 150 PSI, based on your application and what your needs are. It’s ideal when you are towing or hauling heavy equipment. Monroe is a leader in the shock industry. If you aren’t looking for this particular type of shock for the Ram truck, there are plenty of other options available. Monroe even sells standard gas shocks and spring-assist options.
Plus, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get your hands on this pair of Ram shocks. Furthermore, the company provides a limited lifetime warranty, which shows that they stand behind the product. For the price, you will be hard-pressed to find another model that performs the way these Monroe shocks do.
2002-2008 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD
3. Bilstein 33-238319
Best Shocks for Lifted Trucks
If you have a lifted 2014-2018 GM 1500 2WD/4WD, this is the Bilstein shock that’s right for you. It’s a high-pressure monotube shock that’s valved and built for your lifted and leveled truck. It contains high-pressure nitrogen for a smooth ride and enhanced performance. Many customers find that these shocks help with towing, hauling, and off-road travel.
Truck enthusiasts know that this model is the best in its class. Use it to make hunting, towing, fishing, or ranching easier than ever before. Plus, all Bilstein shocks are made in the United States and come with a limited lifetime warranty. Still, you won't need to worry about durability and longevity, because these shocks are made to last. Not only are they created from lightweight aluminum, but they are also zinc-plated to last longer than ever.
Thankfully, you don’t need to spend a fortune to own these Bilstein shocks. On top of that, many of the users agree that the installation didn’t take long at all. Factor in two to three hours for the pair. It isn’t always easy to find the best shocks for lifted trucks, but this model makes the search easier than ever. Trust Bilstein with your truck shocks, and you'll never buy anything else.
Lifted 2014-2018 GM 1500 2WD/4WD
4. Gabriel 49235 Hijackers
Best Truck Shocks for Towing
Gabriel Hijackers might not be the most known brand on the market, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. These air shocks for trucks make towing and hauling heavy loads easier than ever. They won’t just improve the overall handling, but will also reduce the chance that you bottom out. You can expect 1,100 pounds of leveling capacity per pair, as long as you don’t exceed the vehicle GVWR.
Plus, this set is useful for a variety of vehicles. You can use it with your 1996-2006 Silverado 1500, 1994-2001 Ram 1500, 1994-2002 Ram 2500/3500 or the 1996-2006 GMC Sierra, as well as several SUV models. The construction also features chrome-plated piston rods and deluxe wiper seals for superior sealing.
The only downside to this option is the shorter warranty term. Unlike the other options, you only gain a 3-year/36,000 warranty with these air shocks. Still, that should be plenty of time to weed out any defects. However, some customers did complain that parts were missing from their package. Make sure to check yours and reach out to the company if anything isn’t included. Overall, this is a great option for anyone hoping to get more out of towing or hauling with their pickup.
1996-2006 Silverado 1500, 1994-2001 Ram 1500, 1994-2002 Ram 2500/3500 or the 1996-2006 GMC Sierra
5. KYB 565104 MonoMax
Best Performance Shocks for Trucks
If the price is a major factor, you might consider this option from KYB. Yes, they are cheaper, but the quality doesn’t suffer. Just look at those customer reviews for verification. You can achieve up to forty percent more damping performance versus standard shocks on your truck. It’s the ideal component to purchase when you want to start upgrading the suspension.
These monotube shocks are zinc-coated and feature a stainless steel piston ring to create a positive seal even in extreme conditions. Plus, there’s an included rubber boot that further protects the shaft and keeps debris off of the seals. You can use these shocks on your 1999-2004 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 2500 4WD, 2000-07 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 2500HD 4WD, 2001-03, 2007 Silverado/Sierra 1500HD 2WD, 2005-06 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500/HD 2WD or 2002-06 Dodge Ram 1500 2WD/4WD.
If you drive in tough conditions, you won’t be disappointed by these shocks. They are stable, heavy-duty, and provide exceptional performance. Whether you plan to haul heavier loads or tow more, these KYB shocks are sure to provide the stability you desire. While installation is quick, there is one downside. You will only receive a one-year warranty. While that’s a lot less than most companies, the majority of customers don’t seem worried about it.
1999-2004 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 2500 4WD, 2000-07 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 2500HD 4WD, 2001-03, 2007 Silverado/Sierra 1500HD 2WD, 2005-06 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500/HD 2WD or 2002-06 Dodge Ram 1500 2WD/4WD
6. ACDelco 530-301
Best Shocks for Light Trucks
You can get the OEM replacement shocks for your GM truck at a lower price than most. This particular model fits the 2002-2006 Avalanche, 1999-2007 Silverado 1500 and 1999-2007 Sierra 1500, as well as the Suburban, Tahoe and Yukon SUVs. When you replace your shocks with the OEM option, you know that you are getting the same quality that you received from the factory.
The design of these gas-charged front shocks comes with a hardened and chromed piston rod that has micro cracks for an ultra-smooth, corrosion-resistant, self-lubricating, and scratch-resistant surface. Because the seal life is prolonged, you don't need to worry about these shocks wearing out. However, the company backs all of that up with a limited lifetime warranty, which is exceptional considering the price.
Because these are gas-charged, you can expect less fluid aeration. This design offers the best response, more control, and less foaming than other types of shocks. Plus, the O-ring hydraulic piston seal minimizes piston blow-by. While you can't beat the exceptional reviews from customers, some people did mention that the ride was a little stiffer than expected. If this might bother you, you would be better to look at one of the other options instead.
2002-2006 Avalanche, 1999-2007 Silverado 1500 and 1999-2007 Sierra 1500, as well as the Suburban, Tahoe and Yukon SUVs
7. KYB 565102 MonoMax
Best Shocks for Heavy Duty Trucks
Another cost-effective solution comes from KYB. Upgrade the performance of your truck by forty percent over a standard shock. If you are thinking about swapping out some of the suspension components, this shock offers the best place to start. The monotube design outperforms many of the others but isn’t overpriced.
The zinc-coated, stainless steel piston ring offers a positive seal that holds up in harsh conditions. There’s also a rubber boot placed over the shaft to keep debris from harming the seals, thereby extending the life even further. You can use these shocks for your 2002-2006 Avalanche, 2001-2003, 2005-2007 Silverado/Sierra 1500, 1999-2010 Silverado/Sierra 2500, 2001-2010 Silverado/Sierra 3500, as well as Suburban, Yukon and Hummer SUVs.
Overall, the shocks have great reviews, but not quite as good as some of the others selected. Some people did end up with packages that were missing components, but it doesn’t seem to be a common occurrence. Even still, you can take advantage of the lengthy limited lifetime warranty if there turns out to be a defect in the manufacturing. That guarantee offers further peace of mind that makes the purchase worthwhile. We recommend these shocks if you want a reliable brand at a reasonable price.
2002-2006 Avalanche, 2001-2003, 2005-2007 Silverado/Sierra 1500, 1999-2010 Silverado/Sierra 2500, 2001-2010 Silverado/Sierra 3500, as well as Suburban, Yukon and Hummer SUVs
Matching Your Vehicle with the Right Shock Absorbers
There are different types of shock absorbers for a reason. You have to choose the appropriate style for your vehicle. While there’s no right or wrong answer every time, here are some suggestions we have based on the type of vehicle you own.
Ideal Shock Absorber Type
External reservoir shock absorber
Raised off-road truck
Monotube gas shock
Monotube gas shock
Standard pickup truck
OEM replacement shock
Monotube gas shocks or air springs
Twin-tube shock absorber
Signs That Your Shock May Need to Be Replaced
The symptoms of bad shocks include:
How to Install Shocks
It’s not often difficult to replace shocks on your truck with the right equipment. In most cases, you can follow these steps, as long as no further modifications are needed.
- 1Jack up your pickup.
- 2Spray the old shocks with WD-40 to loosen the bolts.
- 3Unfasten the bolts from the shock tower.
- 4Disconnect the shock from the suspension.
- 5Remove the old shock.
- 6Fit the new shock into the suspension bracket.
- 7Tighten everything according to the torque specifications.
- 8Repeat the steps with each shock you are replacing.
Here’s a helpful YouTube video if you need further guidance replacing your shocks.
Truck Shocks Maintenance
There’s nothing you need to do to maintain your truck shocks. All you want to do is watch the performance and replace them as needed. You can take your truck to a secluded parking lot. Then, accelerate to ten mph and hit your brakes.
If the vehicle’s front bobs after coming to a stop, you probably need new shocks. If you neglect to replace the shocks, you could wear out the tires faster and cause damage to other suspension components.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How long do shock absorbers last?
While it depends on road conditions, you can expect to get four to five years out of most shock absorbers.
How often should I change my shocks?
You don’t need to change the shocks on your truck unless they aren’t performing the way they should.
How much does it cost to change shock absorbers?
Shocks cost between $25 and $350 apiece on average. When you factor in the set of four, you could be looking at $1,400 or more for some vehicles. However, you can save yourself money by doing the installation yourself.
How can I tell if my shock absorbers need replacing?
Look for the symptoms of bad shocks listed above, including leaking fluid, a bouncier ride, and uneven tire wear.
How to measure shock length?
Shocks are measured by the collapsed and extended lengths. You want to measure from the center of its loop mount and the base of the stud mount. You might have to remove it from the vehicle to get the extended length.
Do shock absorbers fit all styles of trucks?
Truck shocks might seem like they fit every model, but that’s not true. You need to check the compatibility with the manufacturer before installing them. If you have a lift kit, they might not fit at all.
How long does it take to change shocks?
For each set of shocks, allow yourself two to three hours of work time, although some models may take longer.
How many miles do shocks last?
Your shocks should last a minimum of 50,000 miles, although the actual wear depends on the type of vehicle you drive, the kind of shocks you have, and the driving conditions.
Should I replace all 4 shocks at the same time?
You don’t need to replace all four at the same time, but you should always replace them in pairs. Otherwise, you could create an adverse handling effect that could result in decreased safety.
If you have a 4x4 GMC truck, we can’t recommend the Bilstein (24-186742) 5100 Series enough. The price is right, and they come highly reviewed. The durable design is sure to exceed your expectations.