When you find yourself needing to swap out your shocks, you may find yourself in a bind. The number of choices available can be overwhelming. Do you go cheap? Or, is it worth finding out which are the best shocks and struts? Even then, are you just being led by someone else’s opinion?
The biggest thing to consider when choosing the best shocks and struts for your particular vehicle is what application you are going to use them for. If you drive your truck off road or get it a little dirty now and then, you will want something stronger than what the OEM standards provide. However, if you just need something for your daily driver, you will want something that provides a more comfortable ride and not something that will jar your teeth every time you hit a less than perfect piece of pavement. This article will attempt to clarify the best shocks and struts options for your particular use.
The best shocks and struts for those who seek better handling and some extra grip because their vehicles see some mud and off-road applications will be in a high-performance category. You will have to sacrifice some comfort in exchange for a higher level of safety, but for off-roaders, it is worth the exchange. The following best shocks and struts will give you some peace of mind when pushing your car or truck to the limit by helping you stay glued to the road and take corners like a boss. For towing, they will hold you and your trailer straight and true.
1. Bilstein Sport
Bilstein offers a line of high-performance shocks that are available for most trucks and sports cars. They are composed of a high-pressure monotube design with stiff valving. The shock stiffness will become higher as the number value on the shock goes up. (B8 will be stiffer than B6). This series gives you the best handling available on the market and is even designed to accommodate vehicles that are lowered up to 2” from stock height.
2. KYB AGX Adjustable
KYB makes the best shocks and struts list because of their ability to adjust the dampening without the need for a full coil over kit. Thus, you can soften them up for driving on the road but crank them up when you need some superior performance handling for a weekend of autocross racing. These can also be used for vehicles with up to 2” of lowered height.
3. Fox Performance Series
Need something that can handle your off road abuse? Then Fox has made these best shocks and struts just for you. Easy to install, these are a bolt on monotube that provides extremely reliable off road performance by using a floating internal piston system. One of the greatest features of this series is that they are fully rebuildable and are specifically made to resist the corrosion that comes along with dirty driving conditions. They are available with a standard or a reservoir body depending on what you need. Fox also supplies this option for most trucks with a lift or stock height.
Performance Every Day Driving
These are the best shocks and struts for those who need a little of both worlds. If you use your vehicle for daily driving and seek the comfort, but also take it out on the weekends or haul a trailer on dirt roads now and then necessitating the need for added safety and performance, then this category is for you.
4. Bilstein B6 Heavy Duty
Bilstein has manufactured these to be a perfect in between mix of comfort and performance. The high-pressure monotube ensures they won’t overheat when taking some abuse. However, they are not so stiff that you have to sacrifice comfort when your vehicle is doing its daily thing. Applications recommended for this shock are: Towing and hauling, non-aggressive off-roading, aggressive performance driving, plowing, diesel and work vehicles.
5. KYB Gasajust
KYB’s best shocks and struts for vehicles that see different driving conditions is their Gasajust line. These shocks have the ability to adjust to road conditions on the fly. The Gasajust has a speed sensitive valve that can give you more comfort or more performance when needed. With a thirty percent stiffer than stock valve, they are a great upgrade that is at a perfect midpoint. Use these for driving aggressively or on rougher roadways, muscle cars, long commutes, or if your suspension is less than perfect.
Not planning on roughing it with your vehicle but instead, you would like some comfort for that long haul into work? Then this category of best shocks and struts is for you. They’re not for aggressive driving but they are still an upgrade that will outlast stock options, will give you slightly better handling, and increase your comfort.
6. Monroe Sensatrac
Monroe made these shocks to give you a better than stock version of comfort. They have a low-pressure twin tube in place to help deliver a safe and reliable ride that has the ability to adjust to different road conditions better than the original manufacturers’ equipment.
7. KYB Excel-G
Available for a wide range of vehicles, the Excel-G is a low-pressure twin tube shock that will give you many years of superior comfort. They have valved these at a ten percent stiffer than stock value so that they balance out the wear and tear your suspension has been inflicted with allowing it to smooth back out to its factory feel.
Shocks and struts come in every shape and size making it hard to navigate through all of the options. Once you get a better sense of what you are seeking from your drive, and what options are available for those applications, you will better understand and be able narrow down exactly what you need in order to get the best ride possible- no matter what roads your tires see.