Heavy Duty Shocks are a critical component of a successful haul. While often in the back of our minds, these devices aid in the safe transportation of driver and cargo. Driving a class 8 truck day-in and day-out puts a lot of stress on both our bodies and our rigs. This stress becomes amplified when the vehicle is bouncing, twisting, and turning over rough highways or bumpy terrain.
What do Shocks Do?
Shocks aid a truck’s suspension system by controlling the movement of the springs. Within a shock absorber is a piston and hydraulic fluid. When an impact causing the shock to compress occurs, the piston will collide with the hydraulic fluid and absorb the force of the piston. This prevents the vehicle from continuously bouncing after the air springs (or normal springs) absorb the impact of a bump. Controlling these movements improves tire contact with the road by equalizing the distribution of mass. This makes the vehicle much easier to handle, steer, and control – i.e. reduced driver fatigue – and increases the longevity of other key components. Properly functioning shocks will prevent hyper-extension of air springs, reduce uneven tire wear, and minimize vibration damage to your cab and chassis. But a word of caution before you purchase. Factory shocks offer a lesser level of beginning dampening force. And that dampening force quickly diminishes as mileage increases, especially when driven on rough terrain. Quality shock absorbers, like Fox Shocks, provide a beginning level of dampening force 6-8x times that of their factory competitors. This results in a smoother, more comfortable ride for the driver. They also sustain that level dampening force for a greater duration of time for more consistent performance.
However, superior dampening isn’t the only benefit of upgrading from factory standards. Most factory shocks need to be replaced after about 50,000 miles. By 70,000 miles, you’d be dangerously riding on a bad shock that has lost all its pressure. Fox’s premium, heavy duty shocks offer much greater longevity before losing pressure. In fact, Fox puts their money where their mouth is and backs all of their products with an industry-leading 200,000 mile warranty. That means that Fox guarantees that their shocks will last 4-times as long as their factory counterpart.
When Should I Replace My Shocks?
There are a couple of warning signs that you should pay attention to when thinking about a replacement. Recognizing these signs will spare you and your wallet from disaster.
- Uneven Tire Wear – Balding or tearing of the tire on a specific side of your tires indicates that your shocks are no longer distributing the weight of the vehicle as intended.
- Shock Leakage – Hydraulic fluid dampens the piston’s impact during compression. While it is normal to develop a thin layer of oil around the shock (known as misting), excessive fluid leakage means that your shocks are worn out and will no longer be able to dampen forces as intended.
- Physical Deterioration – Driving on all types of terrain is brutal not only for the driver but also for the components of your truck’s suspension system. If your shock has suffered physical damage you should get it inspected. If the damage is more severe, like a broken mount, you should consider replacement. Failing to do so could lead to more costly issues, such as broken or torn air springs.
- Manufacturer’s Mileage Limit – As mentioned above, all shocks are not created equal. Some are able to withstand the rigors of hauling better than others. However, all shocks, no matter how great, have a finite lifespan. Your shock manufacturer will specify approximately how long your shocks will continue to perform before weakening. Fox recommends servicing their shocks after 200,000 miles. But frequently driving in harsh terrain conditions may require earlier servicing.
- Leaf Spring Replacement – If you’re replacing the leaf springs in your vehicle it is recommended to also replace any shock absorbers as well.