When improving a vehicle, you should start with the shocks. It doesn’t matter what you’re driving or where you reside. In fact, shock absorbers are so important to vehicle performance that updating them will help no matter what type of driving you do. Why? OEM shock absorbers aim to cover as many situations as possible, rather than focusing on a single aspect (unless you get a specialized car). So their performance in any one area is just average. Here’s what you need to know about shock upgrades.
What Is Valving?
A piston is inside a shock absorber. As the piston travels, it pushes fluid within the component. The shock absorber’s internal valving controls how this piston flows through the fluid, affecting performance. Aftermarket shocks have valving that’s for specific applications and driving types. This is one of the most prevalent features that sets performance shocks apart from their standard counterparts.
Shock Absorber Length
A manufacturer will purposefully design the length of a shock absorber for its use. So when you purchase a shock absorber for an application, you can trust that the shock manufacturer has already considered the relevant measurements. This is true even with elevated shock absorbers. When you change the ride height, you influence the shock lengths. But you don’t have to worry about shock length when installing a minor lift kit because spacers allow you to keep your factory shocks. If you want to change the suspension geometry, though, you’ll need shocks with longer or shorter lengths. Shocks with different lengths are necessary when you want to install a lowering kit or lift kit.
Gas Charged Shocks
Shocks are hydraulic, as we’ve discovered so far. The shock piston creates a dampening force as it passes through the fluid-filled pressure tube. If bubbles form in the fluid, the piston will not have the required resistance, resulting in poor damping and poor suspension handling. Gas-charged shocks are useful in this situation. Nitrogen gas in the shock helps keep the fluid stable, which improves valving performance and, consequently, your ride. Nitrogen gas helps stabilize fluid for better consistency and allows engineers to create a wider range of valving. This means they can provide a shock that’s both comfortable and effective.
We hope you learned what you need to know about shock upgrades to make an informed decision on upgrading your vehicle. You must know the signs of a poor shock to maintain a car well. As such, make sure you’re familiar with the symptoms of bad truck shocks for the future!