How Can I Tell If I Need New Shocks?
Shocks usually wear out gradually, but some things can happen, especially off-pavement, to hasten their wear. One of the first things to look for is either a nicked or bent shaft, which can easily be caused by flying gravel or debris. Once damaged, the shaft can allow contaminants to enter the oil and destroy the piston seal, which will eventually lead to a leak of the shock fluid.
If not replaced, the shock will eventually lose its ability to function properly. Other signs of worn shocks are excessive bouncing after crossing a dip or bump, rocking back and forth after a stop, excessive body roll around corners, tire cupping, and straight-line braking that isn’t so straight. One of the best ways to determine if a shock needs replacement is to perform the jounce test. Simply bounce the front or rear end of your rig by jumping or pushing up and down on it for a few seconds, then let off. If your rig continues to pogo for more than 1 to 1.5 bounces, you may need to replace your shocks.
What Kind Of Shocks Do I Need?
Only you can answer the question of the type of shock you need, and this is based upon your budget and the type of wheeling you do. You should also talk to some people who have a similar vehicle as your and do the same types of off-roading. However, here are some very basic guidelines.
- Day to day driver, infrequent off-roader – Try running a twin-tube shock. These shocks offer good bump absorbing benefits while keeping your tires planted firmly on the road and are much cheaper than their more-advanced cousins.
- Dedicated rock crawler – Opinions differ. A dedicated rock-crawling vehicle doesn’t require fancy shock absorbers because your rig is traveling at a few miles per hour and the rate of suspension cycle is incredibly slow. Save your money for some other cool gadgets and go with an inexpensive shock. However – If you find that you frequently need to travel at higher speeds, possibly over some washboard roads to get to your rock-crawling trails, you may consider upgrading to a gas-pressurized or a mono-tube shock absorber.
- Medium/High-speed trail runner and/or daily driver – In this instance, if you find yourself traveling at speeds beyond 20 miles per hour on the trail and do a lot of daily driving, you would benefit from upgrading to a mono-tube or reservoir type shock absorber.
- High-speed racing and/or mudder and/or extreme off-roader – If you find yourself falling within these categories above you should seriously consider a set of bypass shocks or at a minimum a set of reservoir type shock absorbers.
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