Shock absorbers play a crucial role in any vehicle’s suspension system, but that’s particularly true of sports utility vehicles.
Whether you commute to work every day on pothole-infested roads or want to outfit your SUV for off-roading, we’ve narrowed down the field of competitors to the best shock absorbers available.
- The Top 5 SUV Shock Absorbers for 2019
- 1. Monroe 58620 Load-Adjusting Shock Absorber – Best Towing Shocks
- 2. Bilstein 24-186742 Shock Absorber – Best Mono-Tube SUV Shocks
- 3. Monroe 58640 Load-Adjusting Shock Absorber – Best Off-Road SUV Shocks
- 4. Gabriel 49235 Hijackers Air Shocks – Best Air-Adjustable SUV Shocks
- 5. Bilstein 24-187374 Monotube Shock Absorber – Most Affordable Shocks
- How To Choose The Best Shocks for SUV – Buyer’s Guide
The Top 5 SUV Shock Absorbers for 2019
|1. Monroe 58620|
|2. Bilstein 24-186742||Gas-Charged||Single|
|3. Monroe 58640||High-Performance||Pair|
|4. Gabriel 49235||Level-Control||Pair|
|5. Bilstein 24-187374||Gas-Charged||Single|
1. Monroe 58620 Load-Adjusting Shock Absorber – Best Towing Shocks
Monroe’s 58620 shock absorber adjusts smoothly to changing road and load conditions. These shocks are rated to maintain a vehicle’s clearance height with up to 1,100-pound loads, making them a good choice for light trucks and SUVs that need to haul cargo. Monroe designed their 58620 shock absorber to perform consistently in all climates using all-weather hydraulic fluid, and they are long-lasting thanks to Monroe’s patented fluon piston banding.
We recommend this shock absorber for light work SUVs that sometimes carry heavy loads or tow trailers. Not only do they perform well in all environments, but they minimize maintenance costs.
2. Bilstein 24-186742 Shock Absorber – Best Mono-Tube SUV Shocks
Bilstein’s 24-186742 is part of their 5100 series of shock absorbers, which are designed for larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs. With these heavier vehicles in mind, this mono-tube absorber is designed to respond quickly to sudden changes in load with velocity-sensitive hydraulic pistons. Bilstein also succeeded in designing them to be installed with a minimum of hassle.
These shocks are a great choice for an SUV or truck that needs to leave the road occasionally or drives on rough roadways. They can deal with hitting potholes at faster speeds, and they adjust smoothly when you take the vehicle off-road or onto dirt roads.
3. Monroe 58640 Load-Adjusting Shock Absorber – Best Off-Road SUV Shocks
If you need a set of shock absorbers that can handle rough terrain as well as adjust to heavy loads without losing clearance, Monroe’s 58640 absorbers are a better fit than their 58620 product. That’s because these shocks have about twice the travel length, reaching nearly 11 inches. This makes them better suited to driving off-road.
We like the quality of Monroe’s load-adjusting shock absorbers, so if you need to haul cargo over uneven ground, we’d recommend their 58640 model shocks. They have the same load-bearing design as the 58620 shocks with the travel length needed for off-road driving.
4. Gabriel 49235 Hijackers Air Shocks – Best Air-Adjustable SUV Shocks
If you find yourself sometimes towing heavier trailers or boats that cause standard shock absorbers to sag dangerously, you may want to consider air-adjustable shocks like Gabriel’s 49235 Hijackers. They’re designed to allow you to adjust them for extreme loads by adding or subtracting air pressure from their cylinders.
These shocks are best suited to vehicles that always stay on the road but are asked to haul heavy loads that defeat standard shock absorbers. If that sounds like what you need, Gabriel’s 49235 air-adjustable shocks are what we’d recommend this year.
5. Bilstein 24-187374 Monotube Shock Absorber – Most Affordable Shocks
Bilstein’s 5100 series shock absorbers are designed for off-road handling. Their mono-tube, gas-charged hydraulic design is made for handling rough terrain, and these shocks support the loads needed for light trucks and SUVs. As a result, they are popular among off-roading enthusiasts who want to push the limits of their jeeps and SUVs with mod kits.
If you need to stabilize your SUV for off-road excursions but don’t expect to haul heavy cargo, these shocks are a good choice. They work well with lift kits designed to give your vehicle the clearance and stability needed to negotiate unpaved trails and back country.
How To Choose The Best Shocks for SUV – Buyer’s Guide
Shock absorbers have one of the most punishing jobs of any motor vehicle part: Absorb the impact and motion created by the vehicle’s wheels rolling over a surface. No roadway is perfect, so shock absorbers play an important role in creating a comfortable ride even on well-maintained city streets. When replacing or upgrading the shock absorbers on an SUV, it’s best first to consider the type of driving conditions you want your vehicle to handle. Off-roading, for example, requires special mod kits for vehicles not designed to leave paved surfaces, and special shock absorbers are part of those kits.
Over the years, engineers have invented different ways to achieve the goal of absorbing the bumps and dips that wheels encounter as you drive. Below is a summary of the different types of absorbers you can find on the market.
Gas-Charged Shock Absorbers
Gas-charged shock absorbers use a hydraulic cylinder that has been pressurized with gas like nitrogen. This addition of gas makes the shocks more responsive and springier than fluid-only hydraulic absorbers, making them common on lighter vehicles that stay on paved roads.
Standard Shock Absorbers
The standard shock absorber found on most vehicles uses a metal spring and hydraulic cylinder to absorb the energy of hitting bumps and potholes on paved roads. Their design strikes a balance between ride comfort and low maintenance.
High-Performance Shock Absorbers
Heavier vehicles like jeeps, trucks, and SUVs will often come from the factory already equipped with high-performance shocks. They provide a greater range of motion and load-bearing capacity than standard shocks. These are also the type of shocks you’ll need to buy when modifying a vehicle for off-road driving.
Level-Control Shock Absorbers
These advanced shock absorbers are designed to adjust the amount of tension applied to each wheel depending on the load balance of the vehicle. This is done by automatically adjusting the air pressure in the absorber’s cylinder in real time based on the weight on the wheel. This results in a smoother ride than standard shock absorbers.
SUVs have a wide range of driving scenarios that need specialized shock absorbers to match their requirements. Both off-road driving and heavy hauling loads push standard shocks beyond their limits. We hope these top 5 shock absorbers that we’ve presented will match your situation as you shop for a replacement for your vehicle’s shocks. Stay tuned for future reviews as new shock absorber products continue to hit the market.