Shocks for Trucks: The Comprehensive Guide

Shocks for Trucks

Diesel Truck Shocks: The Ultimate Guide To Smooth Rides And Rough Terrain. Explore our comprehensive guide to diesel pickup truck shocks and master performance, comfort, and control on any terrain.

On diesel pickup trucks, few components are as crucial to performance and comfort as shock absorbers. These unsung heroes of the suspension system play a vital role in smoothing out the bumps and jolts encountered on both paved highways and rugged, off-road trails. At their core, shock absorbers dampen the oscillations of the vehicle’s springs, ensuring the wheels maintain contact with the ground and providing stability and control to the driver.

When it comes to a diesel pickup truck, the options for shock absorbers are as diverse as the landscapes they traverse. From traditional hydraulic shocks to advanced gas-charged, air, adjustable, and coil-over variants, each offers unique benefits tailored to specific driving preferences and performance demands. Understanding the intricacies of these shock absorber options is essential for diesel truck enthusiasts seeking to optimize ride quality, handling, and off-road capability.

What Is A Shock Absorber?

The shock absorbers on any vehicle are typically on all four corners and dampen the up-and-down movement caused by bumps or terrain. Shocks work by converting the kinetic energy generated by the vehicle movement into heat energy effectively reducing the movements of the vehicle. This process helps keep the wheels planted to the ground where they need to be and improves handling.

For diesel pickup trucks, their shock absorbers are typically subjected to higher loads and more demanding driving conditions due to the weight of the vehicle, its towing capacity, and off-road capabilities. As such, diesel truck shocks are often designed with robust construction, enhanced damping characteristics, and increased durability to withstand the rigors of daily and/or heavy-duty use.

What Are The Different Types Of Pickup Truck Shocks?

There is a plethora of options when it comes to selecting shocks for a diesel truck. Understanding which is which is important, and we’re going to list them out so it is clear.

● Hydraulic
● Air
● Gas-Charged
● Coil-Over
● Adjustable

Hydraulic Shocks

Hydraulic shocks are the most common shocks seen on a diesel truck. They are often referred to as “standard” shocks. These units utilize hydraulic fluid to help dampen the oscillations of the truck’s springs and offer a smooth, more controlled drive. These are known for their reliability, durability, and affordability making them a popular choice for everyday driving and light to moderate off-road use. While they may not offer the same level of performance as some of the more advanced shock absorber options, hydraulic shocks provide adequate damping characteristics for most driving scenarios.

Gas-Charged Shocks

Gas-charged shocks, also known as “gas shocks” and “gas pressure shocks”, are designed to better improve the ride quality of a vehicle making terrain less noticeable and offering a bump in performance over the standard style, hydraulic shock. These feature a pressurized chamber filled with nitrogen gas which helps with preventing the formation of air bubbles in the shock oil, ensuring consistent damping even under heavy loads or rough terrain.

Gas shocks offer several benefits for diesel pickup trucks, including reduced fade during prolonged use, enhanced control over body roll and pitch, and increased responsiveness in driver inputs. Additionally, gas shocks are less prone to overheating, making them an ideal choice for towing and hauling applications where consistent performance is essential.

Air Shocks

Air shocks are a suspension apparatus that looks very similar to a traditional shock. Two mounting points, cylindrical shape in the center, and help with the movements of the vehicle. However, they are charged with air and can be adjusted up or down depending on what ride quality you’re after.

Inside an air shock are specially formulated modifiers that allow the internals of the shock to withstand high and low temperatures, reduce friction, and ensure smooth rides. This style of shock is ideal for trucks that tow heavy. The customization of the air pressure allows you to put, in some cases, up to 150psi of pressure.

Air Shocks Versus Air Bags

Air bags are a common term in the world of diesel trucks, but don’t confuse them for air shocks. The shocks are mounted in the factory location and help with ride quality. Air bags, while they also help with ride quality and ride height, are an addition to the suspension and assist in load distribution on leaf springs and shock or coil springs.

Because they are pneumatic, these are also adjustable with air allowing you to change the ride height based on each driving scenario. Some systems have a port that allows you to fill or empty the bags whereas some systems have an onboard monitor and compressor and you can set it and walk away.

These are a popular aftermarket suspension upgrade that offers several benefits for those looking to enhance their towing performance and capabilities. These not only allow the vehicle to stay level when loaded down but also adjust for stiffness, allowing truckers to hone in on their specific wants.

Reduce bounce and improve your driving experience virtually in an instant. Whether you’re daily driving, towing heavy, or hauling heavy loads, the air bags can do it all.

Coil-Over Shocks

Towing with coil over shocks on a diesel truck can offer several advantages, enhancing both safety and performance during towing activities. Load leveling, improved stability, enhanced control, reducing bottoming out, and full customization. Coil overs allow truck owners to go all out on a custom setup. Spring rates and weights, shock rebound, etc.

Although this isn’t the industry standard for towing, for those who are looking for a customizable comfy ride and solid stability, a coil over shock setup could be the choice for you.

What Shocks For Lifted Trucks?

Choosing the best style of shocks for a lifted diesel truck depends on various factors, including the type of lift kit, intended use of the truck, driving preferences, and budget. However, some popular options for lifted diesel trucks include:

  1. Monotube Shocks: Monotube shocks feature a single-tube design with a larger piston diameter, allowing for more precise damping control and improved heat dissipation compared to twin-tube shocks. They are well-suited for lifted trucks and offer better performance, especially in demanding off-road conditions.
  2. Remote Reservoir Shocks: Remote reservoir shocks feature an external reservoir that holds additional oil and gas, helping to reduce heat buildup and maintain consistent damping performance during extended periods of use, such as off-road or towing. They provide enhanced durability and performance, making them a popular choice for lifted diesel trucks.
  3. Coilover Shocks: Coilover shocks combine a coil spring with a shock absorber in a single unit, offering adjustable ride height and damping settings. They provide excellent performance and versatility, allowing truck owners to fine-tune their suspension for optimal handling, comfort, and control, making them ideal for lifted trucks used for both on-road and off-road driving.
  4. Adjustable Shocks: Adjustable shocks allow for tuning of damping settings to suit different driving conditions and preferences. Some adjustable shocks offer external adjustments, allowing drivers to easily modify compression and rebound settings without removing the shocks from the vehicle, providing greater flexibility and convenience.
  5. Heavy-Duty Shocks: Lifted diesel trucks often carry heavy loads or tow trailers, requiring shocks that can handle increased weight and provide reliable performance. Heavy-duty shocks are designed with reinforced construction and larger diameter pistons to withstand the demands of heavy-duty use, making them a suitable choice for lifted trucks used for towing, hauling, or off-road driving.

Ultimately, the best style of shocks for a lifted diesel truck will depend on individual preferences, intended use, and budget considerations. It’s essential to choose shocks that are specifically designed and properly matched to the lift height and suspension characteristics of the truck to ensure optimal performance, comfort, and durability.


As we conclude our journey through the realm of diesel truck shocks, one thing becomes abundantly clear: the world of suspension is as vast and varied as the terrain these trucks traverse. From the smoothest highways to the roughest off-road trails, the right shock absorbers can make all the difference in performance, comfort, and control.

Throughout this ultimate guide, we’ve delved into the intricacies of shock absorbers, exploring their role in smoothing out the bumps and jolts encountered on every journey. We’ve navigated through a diverse landscape of shock absorber options, from traditional hydraulic shocks to advanced gas-charged, air, adjustable, and coil-over variants, each offering unique benefits tailored to specific driving preferences and performance demands.

Whether you’re seeking reliable reliability and durability for everyday driving, enhanced performance for off-road adventures, or precise customization for towing heavy loads, there’s a shock absorber solution to suit your needs. From the rugged reliability of hydraulic shocks to the precision engineering of gas-charged shocks, from the versatility of air shocks to the customizable control of coil-over shocks, the options are as diverse as the diesel trucks they serve.

Moving forward, you’re equipped with the knowledge and insight earned from this guide. Whether it’s a smooth ride on the highway or a challenging trail in the wilderness, may your diesel truck shocks be your steadfast companions, ensuring smooth rides and confident handling wherever the road may lead.

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