Shock absorbers are the most crucial part of any automobile as it is responsible to prevent the vehicle's tire from hopping or bouncing on uneven terrain giving stability to the vehicle. The shock absorber springs act as a cushion between the axles and the body, reducing the shock caused due to uneven road conditions and making the ride comfortable.
That’s how important shock absorbers are but they often tend to be the least discussed component especially when it comes to upgrading. In most cases, we have seen truck owners spending huge money on upgrading the engine, tires, and transmission but being reluctant to upgrade the suspension of their trucks.
This is why we have decided to pen down this guide on the importance of shock absorbers on a truck and on how to select the right shocks for your truck.
What are shocks on a truck?
Shocks or shock absorbers are an important component of the suspension system on your trucks. They play a decisive role in the wear & tear of tires, stability, braking performance, vibration, the life of steering parts, and more.
As shown in the image, shocks sit right above the wheels in all vehicles irrespective of their type or brand. They are placed right above the wheels to ensure that the vehicle gets enough traction while damping any shocks caused by road bumps, divots, or potholes. Apart from this, shocks play a pivotal role in preventing damage to the vehicle frame due to the impact of potholes and also offering better driving comfort.
Importance of shock absorbers in trucks
As said, shock absorbers are a crucial component of the suspension system of any automobile that determines its
Ø Driving comfort
Ø Wear & tear of tires
Ø Enhancing turning stability
Ø Preventing rollover accidents
How long do shock absorbers last?
While most brands claim a ten-year life for their shock absorbers, note that the life of shock absorbers is solely dependent on the terrain you drive in and the extent of abuse it takes. For instance, if you regularly use your truck for hauling heavy cargo or taking it out on harsh terrains you might have to replace the shocks in 4-5 years.
Here are some common indications that point to a damaged shock on your truck
- Drooping front part: Front end of the truck drooping is a common sign of a damaged shock. This is mostly seen when you do hard braking and the front end of your truck nose dives. Apart from distorting the stability, this can also cause an increase in stopping distance.
- Bouncing while driving: While bouncing on a rough patch is common, a damaged shock might cause your truck to bounce even on flat tarmac. If you feel your ride is too bumpy on flat roads, we recommend that you take your truck to a mechanic to check the shocks.
- Swaying in crosswinds: A damaged shock will cause your truck to sway when you are cruising on a highway during crosswinds. This is mostly seen on highways which makes it even more dangerous as it can compromise the stability of your truck.
- Leaning to one side: This is mostly seen when you load your truck and drive on a straight road. If your truck has a damaged shock, your truck would lean to any one side depending on weight transfer. This is mostly seen while navigating the turns increasing the chances for a rollover.
- Wobbling steering wheel: Worn-out shocks will eventually cause alignment issues that will reflect on the steering wheel. This is another common indication of damaged shocks.
What are the different types of shocks available in the market?
Like any other automobile parts, shocks are also available in multiple variants. Here are the four prominent types of shock absorbers available in the market.
- OE Shocks: OE shocks also known as replacement shocks is the one that is specifically made for your truck’s model by the manufacturer. In most cases, you can get them easily at the dealership by specifying your truck’s model and year of manufacturing.
- Short Aftermarket Shocks: As the name suggests, these are aftermarket shocks designed for trucks with lower suspensions. The primary advantage of using these suspensions is reduced wind drags that increase fuel efficiency and performance.
- Mono-tube Gas Shocks: These shocks are primarily designed to be used in off-road vehicles. If you frequently take your truck off roads, you can choose to upgrade the shocks to a mono-tube gas shock and it can greatly reduce the chances of a rollover.
- External Reservoir Shocks: Similar to mono-tube gas shocks, external reservoir shocks too are designed for off-road vehicles. These are adjustable shocks that can increase the clearance by almost 4 inches depending on the provider.
Choosing the right shock for your Old Dodge Ram
When it comes to shocks for Dodge Ram, no one size fits all. The key is to identify the exact length of the shock absorbers your truck can accommodate. Installing the wrong shock can lead to
Ø Vehicle Bottoming: This happens when undersized shocks are used on trucks which can hamper the steerability of your truck. It can either lead to oversteering or understeering.
Ø Vehicle topping: This happens when oversized shocks are used which cause minimal compression to the shocks and it can damage your truck’s cylinder head.
The best way to go about it is to measure your Dodge’s length of the shocks when extended and its length when compressed and then invest in the right shock. Similarly, you also need to consider the
Cost of shock absorber replacement
Replacing a shock absorber can cost you anywhere around $200 but note that reluctance to spend $200 will lead to even more serious problems for your truck. The exact cost for replacement will depend on
Ø Your vehicles type
Ø Your truck’s model
Ø Any additional replacement you might have to do
To Sum Up
As said, no one size fits all when it comes to shocks and the key is to choose the right shock based on your truck’s model, the terrain you are going to drive, and the load you plan on hauling.
If you are planning to replace or upgrade your s Dodge Ram’s shocks,visit our online store for a variety of performance suspensions at competitive prices.