How Much Does It Cost to Replace Shock Absorbers? Answers from an Insider

Posted by Sean Reyes on

If you have a general feeling of uneasiness or being thrown around on the streets or highways, or you're hearing a lot more clunking from underneath your car, then its possibly time for a new set of shocks. When shocks lose their damping ability, you can be running into the bumpstops a lot more often. If you've got rust or corrossion happening under your car, this can wear away at the shock mounts, producing a lot of play in your suspension (clunk clunk).

A typical shock replacement for a entry or mid-level consumer vehicle is in the $1000 range, while a luxury vehicle with air ride or electronic suspension components can be upwards of $2500-3000 (Mercedes Air Suspension, Audi Electronic Suspension). In this article we'll show you how to cut that budget down by sourcing the parts yourself, and how many hours it would take you or a professional mechanic to do the job.

Cutting Straight to the Costs

Costs of Shocks

Since Shocks are a single unit, without springs, these will be the least expensive compared to struts or coilovers. Using a Jeep Wrangler, Ram 2500, or typical motorhome as example:

  • $30-150 per corner. This comes strictly down to quality, whether you want to get a no-name black or white shock off an online mall, or if you go with a solid name brand known for durability and longevity ( Bilstein Shocks ).
  • Labor time here is usually in the 30-60 minutes per corner, often time an experience mechanic can have all 4 corners done within 1-2 hours on popular vehicles with normal shocks.

Costs of Struts & Coilovers

Since these units often include a coil spring, there's a bit more nuance with the replacement of these parts, and can often get complicated, which drives up labor more than parts costs.

  • $50-300 per corner. Once again quality plays a big factor here in costs. No name black or white shocks that are private label imported parts with questionable manufacturing quality will get the job done, but who knows how long they will lasts. Manufacturers like Eibach and Bilstein are proven quality manufacturers of aftermarket parts for your vehicle, that often exceed the normal 50k mile intervals a driver typically sees for shock replacement.
  • A strut that connects to the steering, or helps support the vehicle will need to be removed along with the springs. Sometimes the spring is the failure point a new one is needed, so now you have 2 pieces to replace. If the strut and spring are a single unit, than a coil compressor is required to disassemble them, adding about 30 minutes per corner.
  • All coilovers require a spring compressor, so if you have a late model vehicle, factor in the time required here by default.

Labor Cost

  • Typical shop labor is $100-150/hr, depending on your location and how many shops in the area (competition).
    • Front strut installation will typically be 2-3 hours for the two front corners.
    • Single shock installation shouldn't be more than 30mins on each corner, we see a 4 shock truck sometimes done inside of an hour, or a truck with two front coilovers and 2 rear shocks done in about 3 hours if there's no complication.
    • Older vehicles often times run into bolt and mount issues, where there's rust, corrosion, or simply failed hardware that needs replaced.
  • Coilovers are similar installation cost of struts, usually an hour per corner. That doesn't include possible height adjustment as well (take off, adjust, re-install).
    • Even though a new coilover may be more expensive than just the shock piece, the time it takes to remove the springs from the old unit, and put them on the new unit, could be equivalent in labor to the new parts as a whole.
    • Purchasing a single coilover unit ready for installation can take 30 minutes on labor, whereas disassembling the original units and assembling onto the new unit can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes, and you will still have a couple old components with this choice (top mounts, springs).

If you're replacing struts, a coil spring compressor is going to be required, and will probably double your labor time.

If you're considering budget level shocks, learn more about why Cheap Shocks cost more than Expensive Shocks

Do you have shocks or struts?

Both shocks and struts are dampers for a vehicle, they slow the motion of the vehicle so you have the handling needed to navigate appropriately, stop when needed, and move around the road with confidence.

A shock is typically not a structural component of your suspension, its not a part of the steering mechanisms, and if a shock blew out under the vehicle there wouldn't be a catastrophic failure of driving or incident. Its a big help though if they're doing their job correctly.

A strut is a little different in that its sometimes connected to the steering assembly, which is also connected to the wheels. Often times a strut also includes a spring, which creates a vital component to a passenger cars performance and ability to get down the road.

Coilovers are similar to struts, but not often connected to the wheel directly, nor the steering assembly. Its a shock, with a seat to hold a spring, as one single unit. Many late model light-trucks use a coilover (Tacoma, 4Runner, F150) to both suspend the vehicle, as well as dampen the energy, through a single unit.

The difference between these components will make a difference on expected costs for replacements. Shocks are usually a breeze for any mechanic or person familiar with tools to get the job done quickly. A strut or coilover

How do I Know If I Need New Shocks, Struts, or Coilovers?

Dont take it as a surprise if your mechanic suggests new shocks (we're going to use shocks as a catch-all term here for your dampers), as the typical OEM package do indeed last 30-50k miles, that's not just marketing jargon. We frequently see shocks lose their damping ability much sooner. And while there may not be any visible signs of failure, the internal workings can be telling a different story.

Common Symptoms of Damper Failure:

  • Loud banging or clunks over bumps or potholes
  • Excessive nose dive when braking
  • Sloppy side to side movement up driveways or bumps
  • Vehicle doesn't settle quickly after bumps or highway joints
  • Uneven tire wear
  • Lots of body roll around turns or freeway onramps
  • Oil buildup around the shock shaft, or puddling under vehicle

Can I Repair a Shock, Strut, Coilover?

In most instances, a factory, or even aftermarket damper cannot be repaired. Higher end performance oriented dampers can be, from the likes of Bilstein, Fox, KW shocks, and others have dampers meant for repair and servicing, but those are outside the scope of this guide. ($400-1000 per corner).

Some struts have cartridges that can be replaced easily, without needing to replace the entire strut unit. If the vehicle is old, and the parts are really old, its usually a great idea to replace the entire spring and strut unit, with new top mounts, and  new hardware to attach everything to the frame, leaving nothing to chance.

Can I Drive with a Bad Shock or Strut?

Yes, and you probably have already. Because shocks are generally unseen and invisible, failure is hard to diagnose. Along with that, drivers become ride-blind to the deteriorating performance of their vehicle over time. With that said, many drivers are currently driving on one or more failed shocks.

Unless the physical structure of the damper has failed, its usually ok to drive on it until the scheduled work is to be done. We wouldn't suggest you have an oil-change shop work on your suspension unless its a critical situation.

Who Should Replace My Shocks, Struts, or Coilovers? Can I?

Despite what we may think of a vehicle's inner workings, the suspension is usually the simplest system of your vehicle to do work on. Any mechanic worth their google reviews should be able to complete this job without issue.

If you want to save some dough, replacing normal shocks is usually pretty easy if you have some patience and assemble the right tools for the job; usually a few different sock wrenches, maybe a screw driver, but overall pretty simple. (2 hours for 4 shocks)

Struts and coilovers come with a lot of added work because the springs are also attached to the unit, so a spring compressor is required, and comes with inherent risk due to the amount of tension that unit is under while the springs are still installed. There are coil spring compressors to rent, or purchase for $50 or less, that are consumer-friendly, but with that said - many people opt to let an experienced mechanic do the job here. (30-60 minutes per strut/coilover)

Replacing a strut or coilover should also be followed up with an alignment. If you're looking to replace struts, springs, or coilovers on a vehicle that's had its equipment for 5-10 years, than new springs will certainly change the ride height because the old springs have sagged since new.

Parts Cost

We're in the age of something for everyone, for all budgets and vehicle uses. Sometimes you need a budget level shock to hold you over for the season because you accidentally blew a pair on your truck while hitting the trails too hard. Or you may be ready to make a serious investment in your vehicle suspension, and go for a premium level monotube shock absorber, or race-level dampers with reservoirs, all of these decisions make a huge difference in total cost.

Everything You Need to Know About Shock Absorber Replacement and Costs

When it comes to maintaining your vehicle's safety and comfort, shock absorbers and struts play a pivotal role. Over time, wear and tear can lead to a need for shock absorber replacement, which is essential to ensure a smooth and secure ride. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of shock absorber replacement, shocks and struts replacement costs, and everything in between. Whether you're a seasoned car enthusiast or a novice, understanding the intricacies of shock absorber replacement is crucial for a safe and enjoyable driving experience.

shock absorber replacement

What Are Shock Absorbers and Struts?

Before we delve into the details of replacement and costs, let's establish a foundational understanding of what shock absorbers and struts are and why they are essential components of your vehicle's suspension system.

Shock Absorbers Replacement

Shock absorbers, often simply referred to as "shocks," are hydraulic or pneumatic devices that are part of your vehicle's suspension system. Their primary function is to absorb and dampen the impact of road irregularities, such as bumps and potholes, ensuring that your ride remains smooth and controlled. Shock absorbers play a critical role in maintaining tire-to-road contact, vehicle stability, and passenger comfort.

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shocks and struts replacement cost

Struts Replacement

Struts, on the other hand, are integrated components that combine the shock absorber and other suspension elements, like coil springs and mounting components. Struts are typically found on the front wheels of a vehicle, providing structural support and further enhancing ride quality.

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When Do You Need Shock Absorber Replacement?

Over time, shock absorbers and struts can wear out due to exposure to road conditions, temperature changes, and general vehicle use. Recognizing the signs of a failing suspension system is crucial to ensure your safety and comfort. Here are some common indicators that your vehicle may need shock absorber replacement:

Excessive Bouncing: If your vehicle bounces excessively after going over a bump, it's a clear sign that your shocks or struts may no longer be performing adequately.

Uneven Tire Wear: Worn-out shocks and struts can lead to uneven tire wear, as they fail to maintain consistent tire-to-road contact.

shocks and struts replacement

Reduced Handling: A decline in your vehicle's handling and steering responsiveness can be attributed to deteriorating suspension components.

Leaking Fluid: If you notice oil or hydraulic fluid leaks around your shock absorbers, it's a clear sign that replacement is necessary.

Knocking or Clunking Noises: Unusual noises when driving over rough terrain or speed bumps can indicate issues with your suspension system.

Excessive Diving or Squatting: If your vehicle's nose dives when braking or squats when accelerating, it's a clear sign that your shocks or struts are no longer providing proper support.

Seeking shock replacement near me? Find local auto shops for convenient, quick service to ensure your vehicle's suspension stays in top shape.

Shocks and Struts Replacement Cost

Affordable cost to replace shocks and struts at Shock Surplus. Upgrade your ride today! At Shock Surplus, we specialize in shocks and struts replacement. Experience top-notch quality without the high cost of shocks and struts replacement. Upgrade your vehicle's suspension affordably with us.

shock replacement cost

Now that you understand the importance of shock absorbers and struts in your vehicle's suspension system, let's discuss the various factors that influence the cost of replacement.

1. Type of Vehicle

The type of vehicle you drive has a significant impact on the replacement cost. Smaller cars typically have simpler suspension systems and are generally less expensive to replace. Larger vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks, may have more complex suspension systems, resulting in higher replacement costs.

2. Quality and Brand of Components

The quality and brand of the shock absorbers and struts you choose can vary widely in price. Premium or performance-oriented brands may come at a higher cost, but they often offer better longevity and performance. It's essential to balance your budget with your desire for quality when making your selection.

3. Labor Costs

Labor costs for shock absorber and struts replacement can vary based on your location and the mechanic or auto repair shop you choose. Labor costs can significantly impact the overall cost of the replacement, so it's advisable to obtain multiple quotes from reputable mechanics to ensure you receive a fair estimate.

4. Front or Rear Suspension

Front and rear suspension systems may have different shock absorbers and struts, which can lead to varying replacement costs. Rear shock replacement cost can sometimes be lower than front shock replacement, as rear suspension systems tend to be less complex.

5. Additional Components

If other components within the suspension system, such as coil springs or mounting hardware, require replacement, this can add to the overall cost. It's essential to have a thorough inspection of your suspension system to identify any additional components that may need replacement.

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How Much Do Shocks and Struts Replacement Cost?

When it comes to the cost of replacing shocks and struts, Shock Surplus is your budget-friendly solution. Wondering how much does it cost to replace shocks and struts? Look no further! Our wide range of quality products ensures that you get the best value for your investment. Whether you're curious about how much to replace shocks and struts on your vehicle, we've got you covered. Experience smoother rides and improved handling without the hefty price tag. Visit Shock Surplus today and discover the affordable way to upgrade your vehicle's suspension.

shock absorbers replacement

To provide a general idea of the costs involved in shock absorber and struts replacement, let's look at some approximate figures.

1. Basic Replacement

For a basic shock absorber or strut replacement on a small to mid-sized car, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $400 per shock absorber or strut. This price includes parts and labor.

2. Premium Replacement

If you opt for premium or performance-oriented shock absorbers and struts, the cost can range from $400 to $800 or more per shock absorber or strut. Premium components often come with better warranties and improved performance characteristics.

3. Labor Costs

Labor costs for shock absorber and struts replacement can vary widely, but a rough estimate is between $100 to $300 per hour of labor. The total labor cost will depend on the complexity of the job and the specific vehicle.

4. Additional Components

If other components, such as coil springs or mounting hardware, require replacement, you should budget an additional $50 to $150 per component.

5. Front and Rear Suspension

Remember that if both front and rear suspension components need replacement, the overall cost will be higher. Front struts and rear shock absorbers may have different pricing due to variations in complexity and parts.

struts and shocks replacement cost

Struts and Shocks Replacement Cost

Now, let's discuss the combined cost of replacing both struts and shocks for a vehicle with struts on the front wheels and shocks on the rear wheels.

Basic Struts and Shocks Replacement

For a basic struts and shocks replacement, you can expect to pay approximately $400 to $800 for parts and labor on a small to mid-sized car.

Premium Shock and Struts Replacement

Opting for premium components can increase the cost to around $800 to $1,500 or more. Premium components offer better performance and durability.

Labor Costs for Replacement

Labor costs for a combined struts and shocks replacement will vary based on your location and the complexity of the job. Expect to pay between $200 to $600 or more for labor.

Additional Components

As with individual replacements, if other components within the suspension system need replacement, the cost will increase accordingly.

How much to replace shocks? The car shocks replacement cost can vary. Get a quote from a trusted mechanic for a smoother, safer ride.

rear shock replacement cost

Rear Shocks Replacement Cost

Replacing rear shocks can be a more straightforward and cost-effective job compared to the front suspension. The cost of rear shock replacement can range from $100 to $300 per shock absorber, including parts and labor.

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Front Struts Replacement Cost

Front struts replacement often involves more complex components and labor, resulting in a higher cost. For a front struts replacement, you can expect to pay approximately $200 to $500 per strut, including parts and labor.

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front strut replacement cost

How Much Do Shocks Cost & How to Save Money on Replacement Costs

While suspension replacement costs can vary, there are several ways to save on the overall expense:

Compare Quotes: Obtain multiple quotes from different mechanics or auto repair shops in your area to find the best deal. Make sure to choose a reputable provider with a track record of quality service.

Consider Aftermarket Parts: Aftermarket shock absorbers and struts can be a more budget-friendly alternative to OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts. Be sure to research and choose reputable aftermarket shock brands to ensure quality.

Bundle Services: If you need other maintenance or repairs, consider bundling services together. Some mechanics offer discounts for multiple services done simultaneously. Elevate your ride with the latest in Industry 4.0 innovation as you replace shock absorbers. Experience enhanced comfort and control, seamlessly merging traditional automotive craftsmanship with smart, data-driven solutions. Redefine your driving dynamics in a modern era of precision and performance.

Regular Maintenance: Maintaining your suspension system with routine check-ups and addressing issues promptly can extend the life of your shocks and struts, ultimately reducing long-term costs.

DIY for the Skilled: If you have the skills and tools, you can consider replacing the shocks and struts yourself. However, this is a more advanced task and should only be attempted by those with experience.

Warranty and Guarantees: Select shock absorbers and struts that come with warranties and guarantees. This can provide peace of mind and save you money on future replacements if issues arise.

suspension replacement

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Shocks and Struts?

When replacing both shocks and struts in a vehicle, you can expect the following cost ranges based on the type of vehicle and the quality of components chosen:

  • Basic Replacement: $800 to $1,600 (small to mid-sized car);
  • Premium Replacement: $1,600 to $3,000 or more (small to mid-sized car).

Remember that larger vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks, will generally have higher replacement costs due to their more complex suspension systems.

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Cost of Replacing Struts

The cost of replacing struts alone can range from $400 to $1,000 or more, depending on the type of vehicle and the quality of components. For premium struts and high-performance options, the cost can exceed $1,000.

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struts replacement cost

Cost of Replacing Shocks

Replacing shocks on their own can cost between $200 and $800 or more. Premium shocks with advanced features may push the cost toward the higher end of the range.

The cost to replace shocks can vary depending on your vehicle and the type of shocks you choose. Shock replacement cost is an essential aspect of vehicle maintenance, ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride. Shocks replacement cost can range from $100 to $500 per shock, including parts and labor. It's crucial to consider this expense as part of your overall vehicle maintenance budget, as worn-out shocks can impact your car's handling and safety. Replacing shocks is a necessary investment in your vehicle's performance and passenger comfort. Choose shock replacement by Shock Surplus for the best results.

How much does it cost to replace shocks? The cost to replace shocks varies depending on your vehicle and the type of shocks you choose. On average, the replace shocks cost can range from $200 to $800 for all four shocks, including parts and labor. It's important to budget for this expense as worn-out shocks can affect your vehicle's ride comfort and safety. Replacing shocks is a worthwhile investment in maintaining your vehicle's performance and ensuring a smoother, safer driving experience.

cost to replace shocks

How Much Do Shock Absorbers Cost?

The cost of individual shock absorbers can vary widely, primarily depending on the type of vehicle and the quality of the components. Here is a general cost breakdown for shock absorbers:

  • Basic Shock Absorbers: $50 to $100 each
  • Mid-Range Shock Absorbers: $100 to $200 each
  • Premium Shock Absorbers: $200 to $400 each

It's crucial to keep in mind that these are rough estimates, and actual costs may differ based on your specific vehicle and location.

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Suspension Replacement by Shock Surplus

Maintaining your vehicle's suspension system through shock absorber and struts replacement is vital for safety, comfort, and performance. Recognizing the signs of a failing suspension system and understanding the factors that influence replacement costs is essential for informed decision-making. While the cost of replacement can vary widely, taking the time to research, obtain multiple quotes, and choose the right components for your needs can help you save money and ensure a smooth and secure ride. By addressing suspension issues promptly and investing in quality components, you can extend the life of your vehicle and enjoy a safer and more comfortable driving experience.

Budget Level Shocks - $25-50 each

KYB - Excel-G

Daily Driver

$$$$

The Excel-G shock is KYB’s direct factory replacement shock (for most applications) to restore factory-like handling characteristics. KYB shocks is an OEM supplier, and produces aftermarket parts with as much precision as factory parts, ensuring exact fit and restoration. Find more direct suspension shocks in our catalog.

Pros

  • Budget level factory replacement shocks
  • Restores off-the-lot ride characteristics
  • Softest riding shock available for most applications

Cons

  • Lifespan is typical of factory shocks

Skyjacker - Black Max

Daily Driver, Off-Road

$$$$

Combining a softer daily driver comfort with easy and moderate offroad use, the Black Max shocks are a good factory-upgrade. The foam cell technology allows for good off-road control in the easy stuff, while giving smooth handling behavior on the pavement. Find the best Skyjacker Shocks here.

Pros

  • Softer ride comfort
  • Still gives decent off-road handling
  • Budget friendly

Cons

  • Shock life not as good as a monotube design
  • Will not withstand consistent hard hits or high speed off-road

Rancho - RS5000x

Daily Driver, Off-Road

$$$$

Serving as an upgrade option on factory trucks, the Rancho RS5000X is a thick bored twin tube gas shock, meant to increase performance in a budget package. The thick body of this shock ensures that it can handle tough situations and loads without much problem, and the budget price means its accessible to a large application base.

Pros

  • Thick body, large oil volume, contributes to performance longevity
  • Reliable twin tube technology
  • Great price for a 2” gas shock
  • 90 Day Ride Guarantee by Rancho Shocks.

Cons

  • Ride quality leaves something to be desired
  • Mass produced, shows in the details

Performance Level Shocks - $60-90 each

Bilstein - 4600 Factory Replacement

Daily Driver, Off-Road

$$$$

One of the aftermarket ride control standards in shock absorbers, Bilstein has designed these shocks to improve handling and ride control, while maintaining relative comfort compared to a softer factory-like shock. Exceptionally long life and dependability, the Bilstein 4600 is not only great for the daily driver, but also capable of towing, hauling loads, and easy offroad trails.

Pros

  • Excellent factory upgrade for improved handling
  • Long lasting, very durable
  • Reduces nose dive and body roll
  • Capable for heavy duty use, easy 4x4 trails

Cons

  • Firmer than stock-like shocks
  • Higher tier shock, higher price
  • Yellow isn’t everyone’s favorite color

Rancho - RS7000MT

Daily Driver, Off-Road

$$$$

Rancho’s monotube gas shock, providing a different feel for the road and terrain compared to a twin-tube shock. With a thicker piston and single chamber, the RS7000MT is more consistent with handling on and off-road.

Pros

  • Zinc plated for durability against the environments
  • Monotube design for better consistency vs a twin tube shock
  • Better response for vehicles with larger wheels and tires, or lifted
  • 90-day Ride Guarantee by Rancho

Cons

  • Limited application availability

KYB - Monomax

Daily Driver, Tow/Haul

$$$$

The Monomax shock is KYB’s heavy duty shock absorber meant for workhorse trucks or offroad vehicles that see tough terrain. These shocks have increased compression and rebound damping to account for heavy loads, larger wheels & tires, or aggressive terrain.

Pros

  • Excellent heavy duty shock for the price
  • Increases handling and performance significantly
  • Monotube high gas pressure design, great longevity

Cons

  • Not a "smooth riding shock" - increases road feedback
  • Red may not match your vehicle well.

Performance / Race Level Shocks - $150-400

FOX - 2.0 Performance IFP

Daily Driver, Off-Road

$$$$

The Fox 2.0 IFP high performance shocks are for a go-fast attitude offroad, providing significant handling improvement on & off-road over typical street-shocks. These Fox Shocks excel in aggressive terrain and the dirt, and are a great performance upgrade over factory or Bilstein.

Pros

  • Coilovers provide Leveling-kit ability
  • Excellent High Performance entry level shock
  • Handles hard hits well
  • Improves handling and traction in all terrains
  • Rebuildable / Serviceable

Cons

  • Higher price point compared to similar offerings
  • Requires servicing for optimal performance
  • Firmer than factory and other factory-like upgrades

King - 2.5 OEM Performance Series

Off-Road, Tow/Haul

$$$$

King’s tried and true offroad shocks for your application are unmatched in ride comfort and performance, offering legendary tuning out of the box. These shocks really excel in high speed environments and aggressive terrain, for serious off-road enthusiasts. Shop the best Haul and Towing Shocks Sets by Shock Surplus.

Pros

  • One of the highest performing shocks available for OE apps
  • Serviceable, Rebuildable, Custom Tuning Available
  • Compression adjustment and reservoir options
  • Badass Blue color by King Shocks

Cons

  • Lacking on features from competitors
  • Requires servicing between 30-50k miles for optimum performance

ICON - Stage 1 Coilovers

Daily Driver, Off-Road

$$$$

Step into improved handling and comfort for your daily drive and dirt activities. Through ICON’s digressive valving, this leads to improved handling without sacrificing too much ride comfort in the pursuit of spirited driving and high performance.

Pros

  • Improved handling on and off-road
  • Built for moderate to high speed
  • Rebuildable and serviceable
  • Can upgrade through higher stages

Cons

  • Requires servicing for optimum performance by Icon Shocks.
  • Off-road focused, may be too firm for daily-driver only

Old Man Emu - Nitrocharger

Off-Road, Daily Driver

$$$$

Old Man Emu’s Nitrocharger and nitrocharger sport shocks are developed in some of the toughest off-road conditions around the outback of Australia. Old Man Emu and ARB have developed a comfortable daily-driver ride, with the ability to eat up washboard roads, rutted trails, and unpredictable terrain. Upgrade your ride with Old Man Emu shocks, the perfect solution for smoother, more comfortable off-road adventures.

Pros

  • Exceptional durability
  • Excellent for adventure vehicles
  • Improved handling and performance

Cons

  • Not a smooth riding shock
  • Firmer than factory replacements
Discover the ultimate source for wholesale car parts at Shock Surplus. Our unparalleled selection of car wholesale parts caters to your every automotive need. From top-tier brands to unbeatable prices, we're your one-stop destination for quality and affordability. Elevate your car maintenance and upgrades with Shock Surplus today!

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