What are the best replacement shocks for a Chevy Silverado?
Working shocks are vital to creating a seamless ride and safe control of your vehicle. They also aid in turning, braking, towing, and hauling so, when replacing them you’ll want to make sure you can get the highest quality option within your budget.
While it is possible to keep driving your car with worn-out shocks, it is not advisable. So, if you have determined that you need a new pair, this article makes it simple.
I have created a list of the best for your Chevy when it comes to daily use or towing. Furthermore, I have included a buying guide to make sure you are well informed and have all the information to make the correct decision.
If you want to replace your shocks and add some lift at the same time, have a look at the best lift kits for Chevy Silverado‘s.
Best Shocks for Silverado 1500 4WD – Overview
This is the full list of the best replacement shocks for your Chevy Silverado, at a glance, before getting into the nitty-gritty details.
|Bilstein 5100 Front and Rear Shock Replacement|
|Bilstein 4600 Series Shock Absorber|
|ACDelco GM Original Equipment Front Shock Absorber|
|Rancho QuickLIFT Loaded Strut Assemblies & Shock Absorbers|
|Fox 2.0 Performance Shock Set|
|KYB Shocks – Front and back options|
|Gabriel Hijackers Air Shock|
|Gabriel Load Carrier|
|Monroe Load Adjusting Shock|
Silverado Shocks Replacement Options – Detailed Reviews
Below is a list of shocks that will do well as a replacement for your Chevy Silverado OEM shocks. If you are looking for the best shocks for towing chevy 1500 Silverados you will also find most of them to be suitable.
Before purchasing, you should check what kind of suspension system you currently have so that you can determine what combination of shocks and struts you require. This review can point you in the right direction in terms of brand and features but you should always use Amazons ‘garage’ functionality to determine the exact vehicle fit.
1. Bilstein 5100 Shock Replacement For Silverado
Bilstein is an industry leader when it comes to suspension systems and they have been in operation since 1954. They are trusted worldwide by many automotive companies as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM). They are even trusted in the field of motorsport so you can be sure they know what they are doing when it comes to damping.
These are a great option to replace failing shocks on your Silverado that will restore your ride quality back to what it was or better. This kit comes with 4 gas shocks in total (2x front and 2x back shocks).
Furthermore, they are compatible with trucks that have lift kits installed. They will fit a truck with a 0-2.5″ Lift in the front and a 0-1″ Lift in the rear end (there are other 5100 options available if you have a higher lift kit installed). If you do not have a lift kit installed and do not do any heavy off-roading you may want to check out the 4600 series below which is the most common replacement shock for trucks.
Overall, these are very sturdy and well constructed and the zinc-plating should aid longevity as it provides great resistance to the harshest environment. These are excellent for trucks with lift kits installed and for harder use when off-roading, towing, or hailing.
- 4x Gas shocks (front and back)
- Compatible with lifts kits (0-2.5″ front and 0-1″ rear)
- Easy Installation (should take ~90minutes)
- Suitable for towing, hauling and off-road
- zinc plating provides excellent resitance to harsh elements
2. Bilstein 4600 Series Shock Absorbers
This is another option from Bilstein. As you know, these are some of the best suspension parts on the market.
The key differences between the 5100 series and this option, the 4600 series are as follows:
The 5100 is made for trucks with lifts kits that have raised their vehicles above standard which the 4600 is compatible with factory height trucks. Furthermore, the 4600 is better suited to use on-road for towing, hauling etc. while the 5100 is a bit firmer and off-road capable.
If you are looking for a high-quality replacement for your current shocks, these are a very good option.
- 4x Gas shocks (front and back)
- Perfect OEM replacment
- Smoother ride than 5100
- High-quality, long-lasting
- Great for on-road, hauling and towing.
3. GM Original Equipment Front Shock Absorber
ACDelco has come up a few times in our automotive parts reviews. They are a trusted provider of GM original equipment and are recognized worldwide for their quality.
So, with this strut, you will get matched OE performance so it is the perfect replacement for your front Silverado suspension (assuming you have Coil-spring struts).
The downside with this suspension part is that it will require that your current coil springs are in good working order. You will also need a Strut spring compressor tool in order to remove and replace the spring on the new strut.
However, if you are up to the task you should be pleased with the performance. Keep in mind that the listing above is for a single strut and it is always recommended to replace both at the same time.
- OE Performance or better
- Replace front coil spring shock absorbers
- High-quality standard
4. Rancho QuickLIFT Loaded Strut Assemblies & Shock Absorbers
Rancho is another well-known, high-quality brand when it comes to performance suspension and they have been in business since the 1950s.
This is a full suspension replacement kit that is made for 4×4’s. The front is covered with two pre-loaded coil spring struts and gas shock absorbers for the rear. Be sure to check that your vehicle is currently fitted with these two different types to assure compatibility.
With this kit, the front suspension will be leveled so you will likely experience a small amount of lift compared to OE. This allows you to fit larger wheels and may provide a more aggressive stance.
Additionally, you get 9-levels of adjustability with these shock absorbers so that you can modify the ride from firmer to smoother. This suspension system is great for off-roading as well as towing or hauling.
- Full suspension replacement (front struts and back shocks)
- Pre-loaded struts
- 9 levels of damping adjustment
- Great for offroading, hailing and towing
- Front leveling
5. Fox 2.0 Performance Shock Set
Fox is a huge name in the performance shock industry. They are very active in the world of vehicle racing and they provide high-performance shocks for a multitude of vehicle types.
These are a full set of the aforementioned, high-performance gas shocks that will provide excellent on-road and off-road damping. This kit will fit both 2WD and 4WD Chevy Silverados as well as trucks with a lift kit added (between 0 and 1″ lift on each end).
These aluminum shocks are both durable, rust-resistant and built to last. If you want to get improved performance over your OEM standard these may be right for you!
- Full suspension replacement (front and back shocks)
- High-performance gas shocks
- Great for off-roading and even racing
- Supports lift kits between 0 and 1 Inches.
6. KYB Shocks – Front and back options
KYB is a Japanese company that started producing products within the automotive industry around the 1950s. Since then they have planted a strong foot in the suspension industry and grown into a large, well-known, and reputable corporation.
Their products strike a perfect balance between price and quality so you get better than stock performance and longevity without a massive price tag.
There are two good options by KYB for Chevy Silverados including the above coil strut and gas shock. You can pick one or the other (or 2 of each) depending on your current suspension parts.
Both match OEM quality however, when it comes to actual damping ability they boast up to 40% better damping. Furthermore, they are also suitable for towing and hauling.
- Japanese design and Manufacturing
- High quality at a lower price
- 40% better damping than standard shocks
- Suitable for towing and hauling
Best Shocks for Towing Chevy 1500
Some of the above options are also suitable for towing as a replacement for your current Chevy Silverado shocks. However, the options below may provide some extra support and may be more suitable depending on your towing needs.
7. Gabriel Hijackers Air Shock
Gabriel is a brand you have likely heard of already. They created their first automotive shock absorber in 1907 so they have been doing this for a long time. They have since massively expanded their operation and now create high-performance shock absorbers that are widely fitted and trusted.
This is a unique offering from Gabriel which is air-adjustable. This makes them perfect for temporarily carrying heavy loads, towing, and even when doing traditional drag racing. These shocks will allow you to modify the air in the shock depending on the load.
This prevents bottoming out and can allow you to carry an extra 1100 pounds of extra weight. These will require some extra steps for the installation and you may want to have a look at an air lift controller kit in order to easily adjust the shocks.
These are a great option if every now and then, you have heavy towing or hauling requirements as they will protect your vehicle from damage or bottoming out.
- Air-adjustable to cater for increased load
- Great for occassional heavy loads
- Extra 1100Lbs of weight
- Reduces risk of bottoming out
8. Gabriel Load Carrier
This is a typical Coilover shock setup that combines gas damping with a coil spring. These are great for heavier loads and even with added weight, they maintain a smooth ride and good stability. They can provide 500 pounds of load capacity per pair.
These are a great option for heavier loads that come at an affordable price. The red spring also adds some great flair. They are definitely worth looking at if need better load capacity and don’t want to break the bank.
- Great for heavier load
- 500Lbs load capacity
- Affordable price
- Stylish red springs
9. Monroe Load Adjusting Shock Absorber
Monroe has been in the shock absorber industry for over 100 years at this point and they are another trusted brand for OE replacements. They provide great performance and are vehicle-tested so that you get a superior product.
This shock is another typical Coilover so it will provide better handling and damping with heavier loads if you are towing or hauling. They will reduce sag even when loaded up to 1200 pounds and they will also improve your handling under such conditions.
These are designed for the rear suspension of your truck so you can also look at the Monroe Quick-Strut if you want to replace the front shocks as well.
- Reduces sag under load
- Improves handling
- Up to 1200Lbs load capacity
Before you decide which shocks are the best replacement for your Chevy Silverado, here are a few things to consider:
Usage and Requirements
When replacing your shocks it is also a good idea to think about what your driving habits are or if you have any specific requirements like off-roading, hauling, or towing. you may want to think about the frequency of these activities as well because…
If you are towing or hauling every day you want to make sure you have shocks that can handle daily towing otherwise they will wear out faster and you will not get as smooth a ride as you could.
On the other hand, if you mostly drive on the road or highway but every now and then you do some off-roading, you’ll want to make sure you purchase shocks that are still well suited to everyday driving. If not, you’ll be sacrificing a smoother ride for an activity you don’t do frequently enough to justify the sacrifice.
Hopefully, the above examples illustrate the way you should be thinking and you can apply the same logic to determine your needs and the best shocks to fulfill them.
Installing or replacing shocks is no simple task and it can be dangerous especially when working with coil springs. Furthermore, the process may differ from vehicle to vehicle and will also depend on the shock type.
If you are looking to save some money on a professional installation make sure you have the necessary tools and experience to do so safely.
If you would like to get a sense of the process and make sure you do everything correctly the following videos will provide some insight into replacing the back and front shocks on Chevy trucks:
It is a good idea to watch various videos to get a good overview of the process so that you do not damage your truck or yourself.
Type of Shock You Require
This will depend on what shocks your truck is designed to use and you can figure this out by simply taking a look at what is currently installed. You will need to purchase the same type or types you currently have to ensure the correct fit.
Furthermore, it is recommended that you should always replace both sides when it comes to shocks so, if one of your rear shocks is failing, you should replace both of them. Otherwise, you could end up with imbalances that will affect handling, safety and may even create a lopsided stance.
There are three main types of shocks you will see on vehicles. Namely, shocks, struts, and coilovers. The difference between the three types is best described visually so, here is an image of each type:
Coilovers vs Shocks vs Struts
Now that you have a visual, here are some more details about each type:
Shocks are essentially any device that dampens energy. The key difference between shocks and the following two parts is that they remain separate from the coil springs. Therefore, their sole purpose is to improve ride quality and safety by damping the feedback from the ground.
Thus, they do not hold the weight of the vehicle. The weight is held by the coil springs at a separate location.
Struts, on the other hand, are also shock absorbers but they are designed to have a coil spring mounted at a point along the column. With this setup, you get both the damping from the shocks as well as the coil spring in a single part.
Struts are a key component of the vehicle suspension as they are designed to take the full weight of the vehicle.
A Coilover, which is short for ‘coil-over shock’ also combines a shock absorber with a coil spring. They are very similar to struts but they are often reserved for vehicles that require higher performance and fine-tuning.
These can be adjustable to cater to different load and damping requirements and can provide the extra support needed for activities like racing, off-roading, towing, or hauling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the answers to some of those burning questions about shocks you may have:
When should I change my shocks on my Silverado?
The generally accepted recommendation is that you should inspect or replace your shocks every 50 000 miles. So, if they pass an inspection and they are not showing any signs of failing you can continue as you were.
What are the signs of bad shocks?
There are a number of symptoms to look out for when it comes to a failing shock including:
- Feeling of instability at high speed
- Vehicle ‘nose dives’ too much when braking
- Similarly, the rear end may dip (while the front rises) when accelerating
- Vehicle tips on either side when turning giving the ride a ‘wobbly’ quality to it
- Excessive bouncing or noise when going over a bump or bumpy road
Here are also some things to look out for during an inspection:
- Fluid/oil leaking from the outside of your shock
- Check your tires for unusual or uneven wear patterns
- Check your coils for any cracks or breaks
Should I replace all 4 shocks at the same time?
For the most balanced and improved driving experience, it is recommended that you replace all 4 at the same time. However, you can get away with simply replacing them in pairs (front or back). It is a bad idea to only replace them in singles though.
Will new shocks make my truck ride smoother?
New shocks will certainly make your ride smoother, as long as you pick ones that suit your use and requirements. Not only that, new shocks can improve handling and braking and overall, make your vehicle ride like it was new.
Can my car be driven with a bad shock absorber?
Technically, it is possible to drive with failing shocks. In fact, if your coil spring is separate from the shock you could still drive after completely removing your shock absorber. This would only be in emergencies though.
Furthermore, while it is technically possible, it is not advisable for your own personal safety as well as the safety of your vehicle.
Here are some of the dangers of driving with worn shocks:
- Early wear on tires
- Reduced braking performance
- Decreased corning performance and general steering ability
- Puts strain on the rest of the suspension system and can cause premaure wear
In general, it will be less safe to drive and you can cause premature wear or damage o your vehicle so it is not a good idea to drive without working shocks.
By now you should know how important shocks are to your vehicle’s ride and safety (if you didn’t already). Furthermore, your choice of shock is heavily determined by your driving habits and usage requirments.
Therefore, it is important to choose replacement shocks that suit your lifesyle. This article has covered the best in terms of brands and covers options that should fit most drivers.
Now you simply need to pick the one for you and enjoy a safer and smoother ride.