Choosing Shocks for Your 2002-2006 Chevrolet Avalanche
So you need to replace the shocks or struts on your Avalanche, but not sure where to start. There's a lot of options out there, we'll do our best to guide you along so you can make the best choice.
How to check for worn or failing shocks and struts
- Oil leaking from the shock shaft / rod, onto the body of the shock or strut. If it’s too dirty to tell, grab a rag and wipe off the shocks in question, and check again in 50-100 miles to see if there's liquid or noticeable moisture around the shaft / body area.
- Bouncing up and down on the front or rear bumper, if the truck continues to bounce (after you stop of course), then the truck is riding solely on the leaf springs or front coil springs with no dampening provided by the shock.
- Bushings / mounts cracked or broken, duh.
Questions to ask yourself
What is your primary and secondary use of your Avalanche?
- Commuting and / or normal highway and street driving
- Offroad / Trail / Sand Dune riding?
- Carrying heavy loads for work, camping, dirt bikes, sport equipment?
- Towing campers / trailers / other vehicles
- Do you plan on keeping the vehicle for another few years, or are you replacing the shocks to get it on the road again and get through your current situation? (budget level shock vs high end shock that performs well)
- Budget, typically strut and shock sets start in the $300-400 range, and can go all the way up to $1000 or more depending on quality and performance
Commuting / Highway / Street
For the daily driver and general commute, a high quality shock or strut can last the life of your vehicle without issue. Potholes and speed bumps may compromise a factory shock, and especially a budget shock, but a quality monotube shock or strut will eat them up day after day, mile after mile. A thicker shock body will be better for longevity as well, providing better cooling capacity and lower internal shock pressure, leading to longer component life.
Towing / Hauling / HD
Before doing anything else, research Weight Distribution Systems that better allow your vehicle to tow the maximum allowable weight. When towing long or heavy trailers, it’s imperative to keep the ride steady and stable, shocks cannot always accomplish this alone.
Most higher end gas pressurized shocks will handle trailer loads and the increased oscillation that is present. Our most popular options, according to customer feedback.
Offroad / Trails
An offroad rated shock absorber excels at aggressive terrain and will provide durability, predictability, and longevity for related suspension components and the vehicle in general. These shocks are manufactured with high end components, and have been proven on our customer's vehicles with excellent feedback. There are no white-can shocks here, for good reason.
Derived from true off-road racing experience, manufacturing, and shock technology. These parts are made from aircraft quality 6061 aluminum, providing exceptional heat dissipation. All aluminum bodied Fox shocks are rebuildable, and nitrogen gas rechargeable, extending the life of the shocks dramatically. Fox have numerous series of full coilover setups, with or without reservoir options, and with or without compression / dampening adjustments.
King Offroad Shocks
King doesn’t fuss with worrying about street comfort, so be prepared for a significantly firmer ride when equipping your vehicle with these shocks. Proven off-road technology outfits these shocks with some of the best materials available. King shocks are both rebuildable, and nitrogen gas rechargeable. King carries full coilover setups, with and without reservoir options, with or without compression / dampening adjustments.
Lifted Ride Height
If you have a lifted truck, here are some options from manufacturers that build numerous length shocks for your vehicle, from leveling kit height, all the way up to 6 or 8 inches of lift.
All series of their shocks are available for lifted trucks. The ProRunner or ES9000 series will be your best bet for ride quality and longevity. We don’t recommend the ES1000 or ES3000 unless your on a tight budget and don’t plan on having the truck for much longer, as these shocks will need replacing around 30k miles.
Rancho has some shocks available for lifted Avalanches ranging from 1-6 inches of lift. Pick up their RS7000 monotube gas shock if it’s available, and if not, then the RS9000XL adjustable shock (gas charged also). The RS5000 shock here isn’t a good option for your lifted vehicle, their dampening has problems with longer stroke length and handling the heavier loads and weight transfer of lifted vehicles, bigger wheels and tires, and aggressive driving in off-road scenarios.