6 Best Aftermarket Shocks for f150 4×4 in 2021 [Top Suggestions & Detailed Guide]
Ford has been making durable trucks under its F-series since 1948, but nothing sells as much as F150. Ford F-150 is a well-known full-size truck for heavy-duty construction work, towing, and, of course, off-roading. It is known for its impressive performance on challenging terrain and in extreme situations. But to keep your vehicle properly controlled, you need top-quality shocks for Ford F150.
The shock absorber provides you with a smooth and comfortable ride by controlling the vehicle’s performance & eliminating bouncing on uneven roads. But with so many shock absorbers available in the market, including which overloads, air, automatic level, heavy-duty, gas, and standard ones, it is difficult to determine which one will be the ideal & best-performing for your F150 truck. To ease things out for you, we have curated a detailed buying guide on the best aftermarket shocks for Ford F150 that will clear all your doubts & help you choose the right one.
6 Best Aftermarket Shocks for f150 4×4 in 2021
What are shock absorbers?
A shock absorber is a hydraulic device designed to absorb shock impulses. It provides control over the wheels by maintaining the contact between the road and the tire & reduces shock impulses on rough surfaces or obstructions.
How does a Shock absorber work?
If we talk in technical terms, Shock absorbers work by converting movement from the suspension system (kinetic energy) into heat (thermal energy). The heat released from this process is dissipated in the atmosphere as fast as possible and known as heat exchange.
In this way, shock absorbers transfer all the pressure from your wheelbase to the frame of the vehicle during the drive and control all the shock impulses to protect your car from sudden shake & damage. It helps to keep your vehicle in close contact with a road surface to avoid sudden shock impulses. In ford f150, shock absorbers absorb the coil spring’s movement to prevent excessive bounce and let you enjoy a smooth ride, irrespective of the load & road conditions.
Not all Shock absorbers are the same as there are a variety of features in various shock absorbers that differentiate from each other depending upon their design, updated technology, compatibility, etc. Based on that we have listed various types of shock absorbers here for your knowledge.
Types of Shock Absorber
There are four basic types of Shock absorber, like:
1. Twin-Tube Shock Absorber
Twin type is a standard & least expensive shock type that you can find in any automotive parts store. Also known as a two-tube shock absorber, it has two nested cylindrical tubes; the inner one is called “Pressure Tube” and the outer one is “Reserve Tube”. At the bottom of this device is the compression valve and via this valve, the hydraulic fluid moves between different chambers to control the bumps on the rough surface road and improves ride quality.
Its production process has been enhanced over the years but one of the main disadvantages of this shock type is poor heat management. The friction between the two heat cylinders makes it hard to dissipate heat faster, causing the oil to overheat. The overheating causes bubble in the oil chamber, resulting in degraded performance as high as 35%.
2. Gas-Filled Mono-Tube
Gas-Filled Monotube shock absorbers provide better heat dissipation than twin tubes by reducing the oil overheating problem. It comes with a high-pressure chamber filled with nitrogen that prevents the oil from overheating.
Nitrogen being the inert gas reduces the heat buildup to control the overheating problem in the oil chamber, unlike traditional designs, making it better shocks for F150. Since these types of shocks are developed by selected manufacturers in the market, they are slightly expensive than the other ones.
Just like a Gas-Filled Mono-Tube shock absorber, the Mono-Tube absorber is also the evolution of a twin-tube absorber, designed to generate less heat. Its cylinder is directly exposed, making it easier to cool off by the air, providing better heat management. Due to its complex design, it is also slightly expensive than the lower versions but worth having for the Ford f150 4*4.
One of the best f150 monotube shock absorber available in the market & known for its high-impact performance is Bilstein 5100 series shock absorber, that can easily control the vehicle on off-road terrain to provide bump-less ride experience. Bilstein 5100 shocks has a fade-proof monotube design to last longer and perform optimally even if you are driving on rough roads & specifically created for lifted trucks like Ford f150.
4. External reservoir
External Reservoir is the best shock absorber type available in the market, known for its ultra-high performance and racing applications. It has a lightweight and compact body design that connects through a hose to the oil reservoir mounted in a different section of the vehicle. The advantages of the external reservoir shock absorber are:
- Provides better cooling for the oils in the reservoir
- Reduces the weight at the wheel to provide better handling
- Provide enough air space within the reservoir for oil expansion without blowing out the seal.
- Provides excellent adjustability as the oil flow in the shock body, to and fro.
Since these shocks are designed for ultra-high performance, they are extremely expensive and you should only go for them if you don’t have a budget issue.
One of the best external reservoirs you can find online is King Shocks 25001-331 OEM Remote Reservoir Shock. Its coil-over design enhances added suspension performance.
Shocks vs. Struts
Both Shocks and Struts works against bouncing and heavy road conditions, and thus generally gets confused between the both. A vehicle can either have a shock or a strut, but not both together. So to help you out, here are some significant differences between Shocks and Struts that let you decide which one will be the right for your vehicle:
- Strut is a structural part of the vehicle’s suspension system while Shock is not.
- While the strut is the crucial part of the steering system & affects alignment angles, Shocks are basically the oil pumps attached to the piston rod to works against hydraulic fluid in the pressure tube.
- Both Shocks and struts differ in their key components. The key components of a shock absorber are A piston, a coil, and hydraulic fluid. On the other hand, the key components of a strut are coil spring, Spring Seats, Shock absorbers, Strut bearing, and Steering Knuckle.
- While the shock absorbers simply absorb the impulses, struts also function to control and support the vehicle in motion.
If you are looking for a reliable strut set known for Ford f150, then nothing can beat the Detroit axle 171361 4WD Strut set kit. Known for its high-performance, the Detroit axle 171361 set assemblies comes with 10 years of a lifetime warranty with ready to installed feature.
Advantages of Shock Absorber
There are several advantages of shock absorbers that every vehicle owner must know. Here are the remarkable advantages of f150 shocks:
1. Longer Machine Life
As we have explained earlier, The primary purpose of aftermarket shocks is to reduce shock & vibrations on vehicle machinery. By doing so, it reduces the machinery damage, its downtime and maintenance cost up to a great extent & keeps your vehicle protected on uneven roads.
2. Enhanced Production Quality
The aftermarket shocks help to eliminate or moderate the harmful side effects of motion such as noise, vibration, and damaging impacts. This improves the product quality along with the maintenance of tolerants and fits.
3. Higher Operating Modes
Vehicles that use shock absorbers can be operated at higher speed and modes as they gently stop the moving objects and control shocks. This enhances their production rate and performance.
4. Safer Machinery Operation
Shocks for ford f150 prevents its machinery and operators from sudden shock impulses by providing predictable and controlled deceleration. Most of the top-quality shocks for f150 are designed with safety standards to provide you with reliable performance.
One such aftermarket shock is known for its safer machinery operation and testing beforehand is detroit axle 10398-4A . These impact and water-resistant Detroit axle shocks are powerfully designed with OE standards to effortlessly improve the ride quality.
5. Competitive Advantage
Shock absorbers make your machines more productive with excellent competitive advantages like longer lives, lower maintenance, lifetime warranty, and safer operations.
6. Provides Stability & Safety
Shock absorber boosts the friction between the tire and the road surface to enhance stability and safety on rough roads. In the absence of Shocks, the wheel’s vertical energy shifts to the vehicle’s frame, causing the wheel to lose contact with the road’s surface and slam back onto the road.
Ultimate Buying Guide: How to Choose Quality Shocks for Ford F150? –
While choosing the best shocks for Ford F150, it is crucial to inspect some of the essential aspects like:
The foremost and most obvious aspect to consider while buying the best shocks for Ford is your budget. The pricing of shocks starts from $60-70 and ranges up to $300+ depending upon the model type, features, and technology.
Sometimes, you get the good quality shocks at a low price and sometimes you get the irrelevant one at a higher price, depending upon the features. So before opting for one, always check whether you actually need those advanced features or not along with its reviews and ratings.
2. Vehicle Year, Make & Model
Not all shock models or types are made for your f150 truck as it depends upon which year model and make you have to buy the right one. Also, both 2WD and 4WD have different shocks designed for them, so you must have knowledge about your vehicle’s model type.
Another crucial aspect to consider is how long you are planning to have that vehicle as there is no point in spending lots of money on expensive shocks for the vehicle that you are planning to sell in 1-2 years. In that case, you can go for low-budget shocks that can last up to 1-2 years with good performance.
3. Road Conditions
Road conditions determine the performance of your shocks and vehicle. If you are driving mostly on the highway, you may experience fewer bumps or shocks and for such roads, you won’t need really “tough” shocks as any good-quality will work fine. However, if you drive mostly on off-road or rough terrain, you will require something tougher. For such roads, you can invest in high-performance shocks as they will improve your ride quality and maintain the life of your vehicle.
4. Shock Types
There are various shock types to choose from, like:
- Overload Shocks
Overload shocks work best for a high-weighted pickup truck. You can even use them efficiently to drive on off-road terrain. In these shocks type, the spring is coiled on the cylinder and are heavyweight.
- Gas Shocks
Gas shocks are basically shocks filled with Nitrogen gas that makes them sturdy and durable. These types of shocks are suitable for every terrain. Generally, these are the most used and commonly found F-150 shocks. They are considered cost-effective and last for about 50,000 miles.
- Air Shocks
Air shocks are best suitable for trucks that have weight distributed evenly. But you have to install air shocks manually. If you require shocks for the everyday ride, they are the perfect ones.
Depending upon your driving style and budget, you can choose the suitable type for you.
5. Shock Diameter
The larger the shock diameter is, the more weight it can handle. The large diameter focuses on the large spring force. To tow F150, you will require a large diameter shock than the regular tires, but for that, you have to spend more amount.
It is important to check the durability of the shocks you are opting for. Always go for reliable brands like Bilstein or Detroit than general OEM replacements for heavy-duty trucks like f150. You might have to pay a little more for durable shocks but they will last longer with a good warranty and performance.
7. Easy to Install
No matter which shock you are planning to buy, always check that it should be easy to install. Most of the shocks or struts packages come with ready to install option that you can easily install without the need of a professional mechanic. Instead of paying a huge amount for the basic installation of f150 shocks, go for the ones that are easy to install with a simple user manual.
But to hold the vehicle really high, it should be a pre-compressed set and only do the installation by yourself if you know about it, otherwise, call a professional for this task.
8. Build Quality/Material
The build quality or material plays a key role in the performance and durability of any aftermarket shocks. For a very long time, aluminium and stainless steel have been the most popular material for premium aftermarket shocks. The reason is: aluminium is lightweight and flexible while steel is more durable and sturdy.
Apart from it, the coating also plays a crucial role in the protection irrespective of the material used. Powder coating is generally the ideal one for shocks as it prevents corrosion and damage, especially in the case of aluminium shocks.
One such best shocks for ford f150 with the excellent build quality and performance available online is Monroe shock absorber 58640, designed to haul heavy loads. Equipped with OE all-weather fluid and special modifiers, it can handle extreme pressure & temperature to provide the best performance and less shock impulses.
9. Value for Money
Not all shocks for ford f150 4*4 comes with great value for money. It doesn’t mean that you need to go for the low-quality ones. Instead try to buy the one that comes in your budget with a good brand reputation, lifetime warranty, and high-impact performance so you don’t have to replace or maintain them anytime soon. Always evaluate the warranty terms and features before buying one.
If you are looking for shocks with longer life, Gabriel is the leading company with a popular model named Gabriel Air Shockers 49235 with mandrel tubing. It has a sturdy design with tough built & chrome finished piston that assures quality performance at low maintenance cost for a lifetime.
How & When to replace Shocks?
Now when you know what aspects one should look for buying the best shocks for a ford f150 or any heavy-duty truck, it is crucial to know when you need to replace shocks and how to prevent your vehicle from any damage.
As a general rule, shocks need maintenance or replacement after 50,000-100,000 miles – this is a pretty broad spectrum. Here are some of the signs that will help you determine that your vehicle needs shock replacement:
- Damage To Tire Treads: When there is a suspension problem, you might can witness the strange dips around the edges of your tire treads indicating that your vehicle might need new shocks or maintenance.
- Cracks: If there is a crack on the casing or broken bits anywhere, there is no need to wait to replace with the new ones.
- Steering: Shock replacement can make a big difference to your steering. If you are feeling that the car is leaning to one side when you are turning it, your shocks can be the main culprit here and need to be checked immediately.
- Oil Leakage: Many times oil seeps from the shock shaft onto the body of the shock itself, which is a sign that they needs replacement.
- Uncomfortable Ride: This is one of the most visible sign in case of poor shocks. If your ride experience starts to feel less smooth and a little uncomfortable, it is probably because of the poor performance of the shocks and you need to get them check as soon as possible.
Steps to replace a shock of your vehicle or truck
Here is the step-by-step guide to help you replace the shock of your truck in case of poor performance:
1. Lifting And Supporting The Vehicle
First, you have to lift and support the vehicle to successfully remove and install the shocks. For that, follow these steps:
- Choke the wheels with the help of blocks and chocks in front and behind one of the tires at the opposite end from where you are working.
- Now use the jack to raise the vehicle from the right jacking points or frame location or a strong unibody.
- Place the jack stand at the location of the strong chassis. Once it is placed, lower the vehicle slowly onto the stand. Now move the floor jack to support the suspension as the suspension will droop down when you remove the shock.
2. Removing And Installing The Shocks
Now the next steps involve the removal and installation of the shocks for a smooth ride. For that, follow these steps:
- Remove the upper bolt shock first, which will make it easier to slide the shock from the bottom.
- Once you remove the upper shock, lower the shock out of the bottom of the vehicle.
- Now from under your vehicle, push the shock’s upper part into the upper mount. Once it is done, secure the shock into the upper mount by taking a little help from someone as you push it up.
- Once the upper shocker is aligned properly to the suspension, secure the lower shocker bolt.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Do I need to replace all shocks at once?
No, it is not necessary that you should replace all the 4 shocks together at once, but you can replace them in pairs like both rear shocks at once or both front struts together. This is because the new shocks will be able to reduce the road bumps better than the old ones, and when you will replace them in a pair, it will provide better stability and performance on rough terrains.
The replacement of all four shocks at once depends on the wear. Sometimes, when you mix the old and new ones together, they can have an undesirable effect on wear, leading to more damage. So it is crucial to check the condition fo wear first and then determine whether all four need to be replaced together or not.
2) Is it dangerous to drive with broken shocks?
Indeed it is severely dangerous to drive with broken shocks as it can results into fatal consequences and heavy vehicle damage. Especially if you are driving on a highway or expressway, you should always check the condition of shocks and in case of broken shocks, get them replaced immediately.
3) How much will it cost to have my Ford F150 shocks replaced?
It depends upon the shock type, its brand, and from where you are getting it replaced. The majority of the f150 shocks cost you less than $100 apiece for replacement or maintenance unless you need a heavy-duty ones. Rest will depend upon the type and brand you choose it for.
Shocks not just only provide you a smooth ride but also contributes in the safety and performance of your vehicles and thus you should choose the best aftermarket shocks for your heavy-duty truck or Ford F150 after inspecting all the elements we have mentioned above. After buying the suitable ones, you need to properly maintain and replace them when needed to prevent any damage and we will recommend you to go for reputable brands & their services only for all of this.
If you have any other queries related to shocks for f150 or any other heavy-duty vehicles, get in touch with us in the comments. Drive safely and enjoy.