How to buy the right shock absorbers for you
Updated 19 Aug 2020
You’ve noticed that the ride in your vehicle has gotten worse and worse over the last few months, so it’s time to replace your shock absorbers. But how do you know which ones are right for you? Should you just go with the standard replacement, or should you think about upgrading to heavy duty or performance shocks? Let’s take a look at the options below.
These are the standard replacement for the people that use their vehicle for day-to-day driving chores such as going to work, getting the groceries etc. They are designed to provide a comfortable ride and replicate the factory-fitted shock absorbers. Using a quality aftermarket equivalent will ensure comfortable motoring and a long service life.
These shock absorbers are designed for the tradie using his vehicle for work, or the Grey Nomads towing their caravan around Australia. Fitting heavy-duty replacement shock absorbers allow for better control when the vehicle is fully loaded, such as when towing or carrying a heavy payload. Utilising special valving, these shock absorbers provide better control over heavily compressed springs. They are not designed for vehicles that aren’t carrying loads or towing, as a rougher ride may result from the different valving.
High-performance off-road replacement
So you like to attack the urban jungle during the week and the outback on the weekend? This is where high-performance off-road shock absorbers come into play. These shock absorbers are able to handle tough off-road courses, allowing for extended travel and better damping for lifted vehicles, as well as being suitable for day-to-day driving. Some of these shock absorbers have remote reservoirs so small modifications may need to be made to secure these out of harm's way.
See yourself as a bit of a weekend race driver and looking for the ultimate performance on the track? Performance shock absorbers are for you! These shock absorbers are valved with performance driving in mind. The downside is that your ride may shake your fillings out when you’re not attacking corners at 110%.
These are for the performance vehicles, and provide a no compromise option for all-out track attack. These shock absorbers tend to be fully adjustable, allowing you to tailor the shock absorber damping to your specific needs. If you are looking at this type of shock absorber, it is best to track down a company with the relevant Australian Design Rules (ADR) certification otherwise they will be illegal to fit to your vehicle.
So which type of shock absorber is for you? This comes down to driving style and what you are after from your suspension. For most of the population, standard replacement options from quality aftermarket companies will be more than up to the task of keeping your tyres on the road. If you’re planning on towing or using your vehicle for commercial reasons, or taking your vehicle off road to the bush or the track, heavy-duty or performance replacements will be more up your alley.
Finding a passion for cars from a young age, Joel carried out work experience as a mechanic whilst at school before starting an apprenticeship after finishing year 12.
After almost 10 years on the tools and in customer service, he moved into the IT realm as a Data Analyst and In-House mechanic at AutoGuru.