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  • EZ Shock Absorber Buying Guide

    This buying guide is for those having trouble deciding which shock absorber to go with when building your off road rig.  We are going to include all the information you will need to make the right decision when purchasing a shock absorber.  Things like what how shocks work, how you benefit from replacing them, the different types of shocks, how to install them, and a brand comparison will be covered in full extent.  Which will make deciding which shock absorber to purchase EZ. 


    1. How does a shock absorber work?
    2. Different types of shock absorbers
    3. Things to keep in mind 
    4. Benefits of replacing your shocks
    5. Brand comparison
    6. How to install shock absorbers

    How Does a Shock Absorber Work?

    This section is basically for beginners, so if you know nothing at all about shocks, this is the best place to start.  If you already know everything there is to know about shock absorbers you can probably skip ahead to the different types of shocks.  

    Ok so for all the people that are new to off roading and shocks in general, shock absorbers are basically responsible for giving you a smooth ride weather you are driving off the road or on.  Shock absorbers do exactly as the name implies, they absorb the shock from the changes in the road so that you are not getting jerked around in your cab.  When you hit a bump in the road the shock absorber is compressed which absorbs a lot of the impact making it much less abrupt for you up in the drivers seat. 

    That's about as simple as we can explain what a shock absorber does.  You hit a bump and the shock absorber absorbs the impact.  Pretty simple right?  Yes, but there is a lot of things to consider when purchasing replacement shocks which is why we urge you to continue reading.   

    Different Types of Shock absorbers 

    There are two main types of shock absorbers hydro shocks, which use oil, and nitro shocks, which use pressurized nitrogen gas.  This oil and pressurized gas helps to regulate temperature.  When the shocks compress and rebound quickly it creates a lot of heat and the oil or gas helps to keep that temperature down.  Now that you know what the two types of shock absorbers are, we will tell you the difference between the two.

    Hydro Shocks

    The hydraulic shocks use the oil to keep cool. The only drawback there is that if the shock is used very often and for extremely rough terrain, bubbles can be formed, which renders the shock inactive. An advantage of hydraulic shocks is that they are typically a bit less expensive, and they can still function even if the casing has a bit of the dent in it.  Making these the perfect shock replacement on your daily driver or if you only plan to do light off roading.  

    Nitro Shocks

    Nitro shocks are made for high performance and off roading.  Gas doesn't form bubbles so you won't have to worry about them not performing right when you're out on the trails.  Although these are high performance shocks, they still have some draw backs.  Nitro shocks are filled with pressurized gas which makes them a bit stiffer than hydro shocks.  Also, because of the level they perform at, they are a little bit more expensive.  These shocks are what you want if you plan on doing some heavy off roading.  

    Things to Keep in Mind 

    The things we list below are things that you should keep in mind when purchasing any type of shock absorber for your vehicle.  

    Driving Conditions

    Driving conditions or style is huge when deciding which type of shock to go with.  Do you do a lot of off roading, or are you looking for replacements for your daily driver.  If you are looking to upgrade your off road rig then nitro shocks is probably what you are looking for, due to reduced heat and increased performance.  

    Adjustable vs. Non-adjustable

    Non-adjustable shocks are what most people go with.  They are more consistent, because the adjustability can’t get messed up. Adjustable shocks are more designed for different driving conditions, and applications like off roading, and street shows.

    Benefits of Replacing your Shocks

    It's must be pretty obvious that replacing old worn out shocks will give you a ton of benefits.  But, for those of us that are still on the fence and not quite sure what those benefits are, we've detailed a couple of the major benefits below.


    Rid Comfort

    Shock absorbers are the main component in your suspension that is responsible for ride comfort.  Trust us, riding around in a truck with shocks that don't function makes for a bumpy ride.  Most of the time when you install new shocks on your vehicle, you're gonna see a lot improvement in your ride quality and comfort, especially if you go with a more high quality shock like the ones we have listed below.  

    Ride Control and Handling

    When your shocks are worn out and not performing like they should your steering wheels responsiveness will drop drastically.  This will result in you feeling like you're floating more than you should.  Making you lean quite a bit more when you hit a turn.  You will also feel a slight lack of traction when going over bumps in the road.  Replacing your shocks will make this all go away.  

    Tire wear 

    A bad shock is going to make your vehicle ride uneven.  Most of the time this unevenness isn't visible to the naked eye.  Although it might be slight this unevenness can still cause some wearing problems on your tires.  So make sure you replace those shocks when they wear out to prevent other parts of your vehicle from wearing faster. 

    Brand Comparison

    Zone Offroad

    Zone Offroad is the brand to go with if you are looking to get the most band for your buck.  They are one of the best brands to go with if you are looking to upgrade your shocks on a tight budget.  We say this because the deliver their products at a low cost without sacrificing quality.

    Shock Type Starting Price Warranty  Available Heights Ease of Install
    Hydro Shock $34.68 Yes 1/5
    Nitro Shock $42.61 Yes 1/5

    BDS Suspension

    BDS Suspension definitely delivers some high performance parts.  Because of this you are going to pay a little bit more money, but it will definitely be worth it.  Once you see the quality performance of these shocks you will understand what we are saying.  These are the shocks to go with if you plan on hitting the trails hard.  

    Shock Type Starting Price Warranty  Available Heights Ease of Install
    Hydro Shock N/A
    Nitro Shock $49.42 Yes 1/5

    Fox Shocks

    These are some of the highest quality shocks on the market.  They are a little pricey, but what they lack in affordability they definitely make up for in performance and quality.  You'll have a hard time finding a better and longer lasting shock absorber.  These shocks can really take a beating which is why this is the brand we recommend when you are looking to build that off road rig of your dreams.  

    Shock Type Starting Price Warranty  Available Heights Ease of Install
    Hydro Shock
    Nitro Shock $97.95 Yes 1/5

    How to Install Shock Absorbers

    This is a very general installation guide that is meant to give you an idea of what this process involves so you can decide for yourself if this is something that you would like to take care of.

    Materials Needed:

    • Wheel Blocks
    • Jack
    • Jack Stands
    • Ratchet / socket
    • Box end wrench
    • Hammer


    1. Place your blocks behind your wheels, then loosen the lug nuts. Be sure not to take them off yet, just loosen them up. 

    2. Jack up your vehicle, and place your jack stands underneath to help support it. Use a floor jack to lift the rear axle, and then place the stand under the lower shock mount. This should be near the rear wheel, and close to the highest position available on your stand. Then do the same thing on the other side so the entire rear of your vehicle is lifted and you can access the rear axle. 

    3. Crawl under the vehicle, and remove the upper shock retaining bolts. Use a ratchet and socket to remove those bolts. 

    4. Then undo the bottom shock bolt. Use a box end wrench to do this. Use it to hold the head and a ratchet socket for loosening the nut. Sometimes the bolt requires a few tap from a hammer to get it loose. You can also turn it with a wrench. 

    5. Remove the old shock. Fit in the new shock. Put it in using the upper bolts and washers first, as this makes installation easier. Pull out the shock retainers to the shock expands. Then slightly compress it to make lining it up with the bottom bolt easier. Once everything is where it should be, the bolt can be sealed with the nut. Tighten this up properly. 

    6. Move to the other side of your vehicle and do the same. 

    7. Lower the vehicle using the jack, Remove blocks and stands as well. Test drive your vehicle around to see if in the installation is done properly, and if you need to adjust height or something (should your shocks be adjustable).