Performance Shock & Strut Buying Guide

Performance Shock & Strut Buying Guide

Purpose of Shocks & Struts

Not just for ride comfort, shocks and struts are a key part of your vehicle’s suspension system. Designed to maintain vertical loads placed up on the tires, shocks and struts help ensure consistent tire-to-road contact. This is important because if your car doesn’t maintain firm contact with the road or trail, steering, handling and braking can all be affected. Shocks and struts also help maintain a balanced ride by providing resistance to vehicle bounce, roll, and sway, as well as brake dive and acceleration squat.

When to Select Performance Shocks

OE shocks are designed to handle as many driving scenarios as possible. But as is the case with so many things, shocks that try to do everything may not excel in all situations. Depending on what you drive, where you drive and other upgrades you have made to your vehicle, you may also want to consider upgrading your shocks and struts.

Do you drive a Jeep, truck or SUV that you take on the trail for a day of off-roading or rock crawling? Have you made other improvements to your rig like installing larger tires or adding a suspension lift kit? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may want to replace the factory shocks and struts on your vehicle with performance shocks. Making this change may improve the ride and handling of your rig.

Advantages of Performance Shocks

Performance shocks and struts can help your vehicle handle the impacts, bumps and rough terrain that comes with off-roading or rock crawling. Replacing stock shocks with aftermarket shocks comes with may advantages.

Accommodates Larger Tires

If you’re running larger tires on your vehicle, the shocks generate more heat with each up-and-down cycle. Most performance shocks have a larger reserve tube that increases the amount of oil used to help dissipate the extra heat and valving that is tuned to handle a larger tire.

Designed for Lifted Vehicles

For vehicles that have been outfitted with a suspension lift kit, upgraded shocks are usually a must-have. A lifted vehicle needs a longer shock to take up the space between the top and bottom mounting points of the shock.

Helps Mitigate Shock Fade

As the oil in the shock heats up, it can result in the condition known as shock fade. During shock fade, the characteristics of the oil change and reduce the dampening effects of the shocks.

Improves Handling

Rock crawling and trail riding is hard on your vehicle. Upgraded shocks can deliver improved handling in rocky or bumpy conditions by helping your vehicle absorb the impacts of the trail.

Enhanced Materials

In many cases, performance shocks are made from high-quality materials that are suited to handle the driving conditions you’ll find on the trail. These premium materials can also help enhance the durability of the shocks.

Longer Component Life

Performance shocks can have a big effect on the lifespan of other parts on your vehicle. While stock shocks used on the trail can put stress on the other components of the suspension system, causing them to wear out faster, using performance shocks can enhance the durability these parts.

Choosing the Right Shock, Strut or Strut Assembly

Now that you’ve decided that performance shocks are right for your Jeep, truck or SUV, it’s time to pick the Rancho replacement shock or strut that is right for you and your vehicle. Whether you’ve added a lift kit to your ride or spend the weekends on the trail, Rancho has the right shocks and struts for your vehicle.

RS5000®X Shocks & Struts

Packed with innovative features, Rancho RS5000®X shocks and struts deliver improved overall on- and off-road handling and performance thanks to Rancho's exclusive Cross Tuned technology. Developed by the ride engineers at Rancho, this unique and exclusive rebound valving system and advanced compression phase of the shock absorber is at the heart of the RS5000®X.

RS7MT® Shocks

Application tuned for precision on-road and off-road handling, Rancho RS7MT monotube shocks are highly effective in the dissipation of heat, making them idea for extreme off-road use and larger wheel and tire packages. RS7MT shocks feature an integrated dirt wiper sealing system that keeps dirt and debris out, hardened piston rod that resists scuffs and corrosion plus an internal rebound bumper to smooth your ride on any terrain.

RS9000®XL Shocks & Struts

Recognized as the first nine-position manually adjustable ride control series in the off-road market, Rancho RS9000XL shocks and struts deliver unprecedented control and performance. Ideal for on- and off-road use, towing and more, the adjustable damping enhances ride characteristics by counteracting the additional unsprung mass inherent in larger tire and wheel combinations. A large shock body (up to 2.75-in) allows the RS9000XL to run cooler and more consistent even under the most demanding conditions. Polyurethane bushing enhance performance and durability while a boot protects the shock rod and oil seal.

Which Rancho Shock or Strut is Right for Me? RS5000X Shocks & struts RS7MT Shocks RS9000XL Shocks & struts
Designed for 0-2" lift kit
Designed for 2-4" lift kit
Designed for 5-6" lift kit
Daily driver/occasional trail riding
Dedicated trail rig
Adjustable design
Monotube design
Vehicle with higher center of gravity
Accomodates larger tires/wheels
Limited Lifetime Warranty

Learn more about performance shocks, find your performance suspension part, or find where to buy your shock or suspension part today.

The content in this article is for informational purposes only. You should consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have questions relating to any of the topics covered herein. Tenneco will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.