Informational Guide

Gas Vs Oil Shock Absorber (Which Is Best?)

In this guide, we discuss the differences between gas vs oil shock absorbers & answer which is the best.

The shock absorbers on your vehicle help to create a better ride, especially when traveling over bumps. However, there are different types of shock absorbers you could choose from. Which is the best shock absorber gas or oil?  

We answer your top questions and examine the difference between oil and gas shock absorbers. 

Which is better - gas or oil shock absorbers? Many people would argue that the gas-charged shock is superior to the traditional oil format. The gas shock uses the same design as the oil shock, except that nitrogen gas is injected into the shock while it's under pressure. The result is a sportier ride and less fading over time. For this reason, gas-charged shocks are considered a premium variety.  

You will find that gas shocks are installed the same way hydraulic shocks are. They will be mounted as part of the suspension, offering damping ability as the car handles road imperfections. However, the gas shock is going to provide a large range of control and it keeps vibrations to a minimum. For these added benefits of gas vs oil shocks, you can expect to pay more.  


  • Better handling 
  • Reduced vibrations 
  • Larger range of control 
  • Reduced aeration 
  • Less fade 


  • Higher cost 
  • Harder to rebuild 
internal components of a gas shock absorber

Pros And Cons Of Oil Shock Absorbers 

What's better - gas or oil shocks? Hydraulic shocks were the original types offered, but it doesn't mean they are the best. These are the same shocks found on many classic cars, showing how old the technology is. The oil shock creates a softer ride because there is a lag in the response. However, there are many other downsides to using oil shocks without gas. 

Even under normal circumstances, the oil shock can start to foam. This condition causes the shock to lose some of its function. Unlike the gas shock, the oil pressure can't be kept under control as easily. Whether you are using gas or oil shock absorbers, the mounting location is the same.

With that said, the oil shocks might wear out prematurely, especially if you are pushing them too hard. However, oil shocks might be cheaper, helping you save a little money.  


  • Low cost 
  • Creates a softer ride 
  • Works well with classic cars 
  • Easier to rebuild 


  • Foams under pressure 
  • Response is slower 
oil shock absorber

Gas Vs Oil Shock Absorbers (Differences + Which Is Better?) 

Type Of Vehicle 

Choosing gas or oil filled shock absorbers requires that you look at the vehicle you are driving. If you have a classic car that you are looking to restore, you would do fine to choose oil shocks. However, most modern cars perform better with the gas shocks installed. You will want the latter if you are planning to push your vehicle to extremes.  


Which is better, the oil or gas shock absorber? Looking at the shock absorber oil vs gas, you want to consider how long they will last. Most gas-charged shocks will work for 50,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on how you drive. On the other hand, the oil shocks might wear out a little sooner, causing you to need a replacement more often.  

Road Handling 

When you debate over gas or oil shocks, you want to think about how each will handle. The oil shock provides plenty of control but has a longer response time. For this reason, you can expect better handling and control when you use gas-charged shocks. With a reduction in aeration, there will also be less fade, even when pushed to the limits.  

Bad Road Driving 

Picking gas charged shocks vs oil means you have to be realistic. The oil shocks are fine for casual cruising on good roads, but they will not offer the same level of performance as the gas shocks. If you are regularly driving down a dirt driveway or your local township doesn't fix potholes, you will want to upgrade your shocks for a better ride.  

High Speed Driving 

There's a profound difference between the gas filled shocks vs oil filled when driving at higher speeds. Oil shocks don't have a quick response time, so handling can be a little more challenging. If you want the safest option for your highway travel, we recommend using gas shocks instead. You will have a responsive damping that is easy to control.  

Heavy Load 

With gas filled vs oil filled shock absorbers, neither option is weight-bearing. In weight-bearing situations, struts are used instead. However, if you are expecting more from your suspension because of hauling or towing, you want to upgrade to the gas shocks. These are going to provide a more reliable performance and won't fade out over time.  

Ride Comfortability 

With the gas shock absorber vs oil, the first option is going to provide a sportier ride. You will have optimized control and better handling. However, the oil shock allows for a softer ride, which is preferred by many classic car owners. Depending on which type of ride you are looking for, either one could provide what you desire.  

person driving a ford car on a road

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Do gas shocks have oil in them? 

All shocks have some hydraulic oil in them. However, the difference between gas shocks vs oil shocks is the nitrogen that is added for additional performance. With gas shocks, there is less aeration and a reduction in fading.  

Is KYB better than Bilstein shocks? 

It depends on what you are using them for. KYB gas shocks is highly rated because of how well the shocks handle while cornering, while Bilstein provides a great shocks for off-road travel 

What type of oil is used in shock absorbers? 

All shocks and struts contain hydraulic oil to provide the damping force. However, gas-charged shocks also include pressurized nitrogen for better performance. This gas reduces foaming and provides a firmer ride.   

How long do oil shock absorbers last? What about gas charged ones? 

Most automotive shocks will last between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. However, if you put your suspension through a lot of abuse, you might require shock replacement more frequently. The longevity between the gas vs oil shock absorber isn't much different, except nitrogen shocks might last a little longer.  


Which shocks are better oil or gas? In most cases, drivers prefer the performance of the gas-charged shocks over the traditional oil models. However, there are some instances where it makes more sense to use oil shocks.