Choosing the Right Shock Absorbers


How Exactly do Shock Absorbers Work?

How Exactly do Shock Absorbers Work?

In a nutshell, shocks are essentially large pistons situated within resevoirs of oil and gas. As you travel over the road, these pistons move up into the oil, which in turn absorbs the kinetic energy generated by the wheels as they come iinto contact with uneven surfaces. The gas within many shocks has the dual task of helping to dampen shocks and keeping the oil cooler, preventing it from foaming up during intense driving.

As this Kinetic Energy would otherwise travel upwards into the seats of the vehicle, causing everyone inside great discomfort, the shock absorbers turn this force into heat energy, which is then dissipated into the atmosphere.

The shocks work in conjunction with the springs and other areas of your suspension in order to accomplish this, also playing a major part in ensuring good handling, responsive steering and reduced body roll.

What Different Types of Shock Absorber are there?

What Different Types of Shock Absorber are there?

All shock absorbers have different types of constructions to cope with different drivers and vehicles. Shock absorbers can be constructed in a twin tube or monotube design, each of which have their own benefits. Monotube shock absorbers use one single cylinder containing all of the shock's oil and the piston, whereas twin-tube shocks use a seperate inner cylinder for the piston with an outer oil chamber surrounding it.

There are upsides and downsides to each, but overall Monotube shocks are generally favoured where suspension performance is prioritised, and twin-tube shock absorbers are geared more towards reliability, comfort and longevity.

Overall, shocks can be split up into 3 main categories:

OE REPLACEMENT

  • Designed to replicate your vehicle's original shocks and provide a perfect balance of responsive handling and ride comfort
  • Generally made from a twin tube design
  • Cheaper, less fuss to replace and designed to slot in perfectly with your vehicle's stock suspension set up

PERFORMANCE

  • Engineered to be lightweight, high perfoming and responsive
  • Generally engineered with increased oil capacities and materials capable of withstanding high amounts of pressure and heat
  • Aggressive driving generates larger amounts of heat and body roll, and performance shocks are designed to cope with this
  • Generally engineered to work with lowered springs in providing a firmer, more responsive feel from the road beneath the wheels

HEAVY DUTY/OFF-ROAD

  • Heavy duty and off-road shocks are designed with bigger oil chambers, higher capacities for heat and pressure
  • This allows them to carry heavier loads, remain stable under much higher pressures, and handle the heat of heading over uneven terrain at faster speeds
  • These shocks are often made of thicker, heavy-duty materials to cope with increased levels of shocks, knocks and bumps

What Brands of Shock Absorber Can I Choose From?

KYB

  • Japanese brand, one of the world's largest manufacturers of OE-level shock absorbers
  • KYB's Skorched 4s range also caters for entry-level off-roading 

SACHS

  • OE level shock absorbers, engineered and designed in Germany
  • Perfect for a wide range of European vehicles
  • Super Touring range also caters for more aggressive street driving

KONI

  • Dutch-founded performance shock company, world famous with a pedigree of motorsport involvement all the way up into Formula 1
  • Over 150 years experience developing shocks and struts for performance and racing, from the street to the track
  • Koni All-Terrain and Koni Raid ranges also available, each catering for different levels of off-road and heavy duty use
  • Koni classic range also caters for high performance classics

RAW 4X4

  • 4x4-centric Australian manufacturer of shocks, focusing purely on the biggest and baddest vehicles on Australia's roads
  • Come in 3 seperate ranges: Nitro for everyday off-roading and light load-carrying, Nitro Max for heavy duty use, and Predator for aggressive off-roading and rally raids

BILSTEIN

  • One of the world's most famous performance suspension houses, producing globally renowned shocks for OE, performance and 4x4 use
  • Bilstein's B4 range is the original, designed for OE replacement in the world's best passenger vehicles
  • Also offer the Bilstein B6 range, a high performance sports range designed for both off-roading and sports car use

MONROE

  • Australia's own shock absorber specialist, offering a smaller, specialised range of shocks and gas struts to suit Australia's most popular vehicles
  • All Monroe shocks also boast true OE levels of performance and Australian engineering