The main difference between Gabriel and Monroe shock absorbers is that Gabriel uses an air-charged design, while Monroe uses a spring design. This difference affects the ride quality and longevity of the shocks. Gabriel’s shocks are stiffer overall, but they are also more resistant to the elements over the long term. Monroe’s shocks respond better to road conditions, but they may become noisy sooner than expected.
Does your vehicle’s suspension creak when you roll over speed bumps? Do its OEM shocks make your teeth rattle when you hit a pothole? It may be time to replace the shocks and struts in its suspension system.
In this head-to-head comparison, we’ll give you an in-depth look at two leading shock absorbers Gabriel vs Monroe and tell you which one edges out the competition.
Monroe and Gabriel shock absorbers continue to be two of the more popular brands on the market, both for their quality workmanship and their affordable prices. It can be challenging to decide which is best for your vehicle, and it depends on the features that you are looking for. Whether you want the smoothest ride possible or the best support for oversized loads, there’s likely to be a shock absorber that fits the bill.
Gabriel vs Monroe Shocks Comparison
1. Monroe 58620 Sensa Trac
2. Gabriel 49235 Hijackers
- Gabriel vs Monroe Shocks Comparison
- Gabriel vs Monroe Final Verdict
- Shock Absorber Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Last Word
1. Monroe 58620 Sensa Trac – Best Load Adjusting Shocks
Monroe touts their special fluon-banded piston design because it maintains the internal seal required to prevent long-term leakage of the gas and fluid charge that creates a cushion. We liked the ride quality that this shock absorber delivered, which was better than the Gabriel model we reviewed.
The biggest problem we encountered was the fact that Monroe’s shocks can become noisy sooner than expected. It may be caused by the external spring’s exposure to the elements, which eventually leads to a loss of lubrication. Once that happens, the characteristic squeaks and groans of an aging shock absorber begin. Still, we didn’t experience the kind of premature squeaking that other customers claim. We’d driven on the shocks for much longer.
Overall, we recommend these shock absorbers to buyers who will be towing significant loads and want the smoothest ride possible when they aren’t towing. The Sensa Trac line of shock absorbers does an excellent job of handling both applications.
- Supports up to 1,100 pounds without loss of ride height
- Full-displacement valves are set to adjust for road extremes
- Fluon-banded piston stays consistent for the life of these shocks
- Sometimes begin squeaking prematurely
Monroe’s Sensa Trac shocks are getting excellent reviews and ratings at online retailers. Most customers were satisfied with the workmanship of these shocks, and only a few had negative reviews about premature noise. A rare factory defect likely causes it.
2. Gabriel 49235 Hijackers – Runner-Up Air Adjustable Shocks
We found that the ride quality overall was quite good with Gabriel’s Hijackers, but Monroe’s seemed to respond to road conditions a little better. It was enough for us to notice. Gabriel’s shocks seemed a bit stiffer overall, even when they were adjusted for no extra load.
With that said, if you’re more interested in longevity, then Gabriel’s fully enclosed design adds to the Hijackers resistance to the elements over the long-term. Inside the shock absorber, a super-precise chrome piston maintains the internal seal, resists future corrosion, and provides near frictionless motion. That adds up to a shock absorber that will last for as long as any other model on the market. Gabriel advertises that it should be replaced at 50,000 miles, which is the point most high-quality shocks begin to succumb to wear-and-tear.
We’d recommend these shock absorbers to buyers who want to adjust them to their load as needed. They are also a good buy if you’re more concerned with longevity and noise-free operation.
- Each pair supports additional 1,100 pounds without sagging
- Air-adjustable for different loads
- Shocks are fully enclosed to lengthen their life
- Some customers noticed the installation kits were missing parts
Gabriel’s Hijackers have garnered respectable ratings from customers over the past couple of years at online stores. The main reason for poor reviews by customers who purchased the shocks for vehicles to which they were poorly suited or who encountered factory defects. The overall quality of these shocks appears to have taken a hit in the last year.
Gabriel vs Monroe Final Verdict
At the end of the day, we thought that Monroe’s shocks were a little better than the equivalent Gabriel shocks that we compared them to. There was a clear difference in ride quality, though Gabriel’s ride was good compared to other shocks. We also found that the Gabriel shocks we tested lasted a few thousand miles longer before than began to groan. Beyond these differences, though, both shock absorber models performed well above the average shocks on the market.
Shock Absorber Buyer’s Guide
Shock absorbers are a standard part of most suspension systems on motor vehicles today. Over the past century, automotive suspension systems have developed several ways to dampen the jolts and vibration that results as a car’s wheels roll over the road, hitting rocks and potholes along the way. These various technologies are collectively called shock absorbers, but different types of shocks are suited to different loads and terrain. Below is a quick summary of the types of shocks you’re likely to encounter on the market.
The typical shock absorbers found on most SUVs and cars that aren’t expected to carry heavy loads drive off-road are spring and piston shocks. They serve the purpose of dampening the worst of the jolts and vibration on the road.
Higher-quality shock absorbers use pistons cushioned with a mixture of oil and nitrogen gas. This method of dampening bumps and dips in the road creates a smoother ride, and it has the added advantage of being adjustable. These types of shocks are often used on off-road vehicles to handle rough terrain.
Large vehicles like trucks can haul cargo or pull trailers that weigh several times the vehicle’s weight. For these situations, heavy-duty shocks are designed to support loads with less sagging than conventional shocks to keep the vehicle as level as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are Monroe shocks made in the USA?
Yes, Monroe has been making shock absorbers in the USA since 1992.
2. Do Monroe shocks have a lifetime warranty?
Monroe does offer a lifetime warranty for their shocks. In fact, they are one of the few companies that will cover normal wear-and-tear. Many companies limit lifetime warranties to factory defects.
3. How long do Monroe shocks last?
Most shock absorbers begin to lose their capacity to smooth out bumps on the road around 50,000 miles, and that’s when Monroe recommends that owners replace their shocks as well.
4. Where are Gabriel shocks manufactured?
Gabriel shock absorbers are manufactured outside of the USA in countries like Mexico.
5. How long do Gabriel shocks last?
Gabriel gives 50,000 miles as the point at which owners may notice a loss of performance, which is the standard for the industry.
6. Who makes the best shocks and struts?
The answer to this question depends on what your measurement of quality is. Shocks can have superior longevity, but they may not have the smoothest ride possible. Another brand of shock absorber that does a good job of eliminating bumps may not support a heavy trailer without sagging to the ground. The best shock absorbers will vary depending on your vehicle and your needs.
7. Which is the best shock absorber brand?
While both Monroe and Gabriel brand shock absorbers are quality products and about equal in price, Monroe does do better with customer reviews that Gabriel does. Customers have found fewer factory defects, and they get something closer to what they expect when they buy a set of Monroe shocks.
That wraps up this comparison of two of the leading shock absorber brands. While it seemed to us that Monroe edged out Gabriel in our testing, we were impressed with both products, and your mileage may vary. Gabriel may well be a good choice, given your application. With equal load support and pricing, both will replace an old set of OEM shocks when you want to improve your ride.