Installing a suspension kit is a smart way to improve your vehicle’s handling and stability while off-road. No two lift kits are alike, but most contain some basic components. A quick review of these parts can help you evaluate your options and choose the best suspension kit for your vehicle.
The Difference Between Shocks and Struts
Shocks and struts perform similar functions, but they’re not interchangeable. Shocks reduce oscillations from suspension springs. Struts also dampen shock, but they also give added structural support to your vehicle.
While shocks are part of the general suspension system, each strut is a complete assembly unto itself. They’re two distinct components, and not every vehicle has both in its suspension setup. But cars and trucks will at least have either one to provide impact absorption and stability for a safer and smoother ride.
Shocks and Coilovers
Many suspension kits include shocks, which allow you to upgrade your existing versions. Depending on the kit you buy, you may end up with either aftermarket versions or OEM equivalents. You can also purchase complete shock kits by themselves. One great example is the King Coilovers series. Available in both front and rear versions, these King Shocks sets are ideal for lifted vehicles. Delivering improved performance in extreme offroading conditions, each pair of shocks come with a few key features:
- 100% bolt-on installation
- Adjustable ride height
- 15% to 25% wheel travel increase
King coilovers also include external reservoirs for increased fluid capacity and heat dissipation, an essential factor when your shocks get a lot of action on extreme terrain.
Now let’s turn our attention to struts. Upgrades can also significantly impact suspension performance. You may need to replace your struts due to wear and tear or when your mechanic recommends it — every 50,000 miles with normal driving or sooner if you do a lot of off-roading.
Pro Comp is a top maker of suspension components, including the Pro Comp ES6000 series struts. The ES6000 models incorporate a twin-tube design, which boosts fluid capacity by 50%. This is key in compression and shock absorption, especially when you’re riding off the road on wicked terrain. You can find the ES6000 and other strut models among Pro Comp suspension parts.
A Quick Word About Tires
Shocks, struts and other suspension components play a huge role in off-road ride quality, but let’s not forget about your truck wheels and tires. They also contribute to your vehicle’s performance on any kind of terrain. Matching your tire type to the ground is key, but keep in mind that you do have a little bit of leeway. If you ride on multiple kinds of ground, you may want to invest in all-terrain off-road tires such as the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac or Pro Comp A/T Sport Tires.
No matter what shocks, struts, suspension kits, tires or wheels you buy, it’s wise to get your gear from a reputable aftermarket parts and accessories dealer. Choose a retailer specializing in products designed for off-road use. Tuned for durability and functionality in these environments, they can deliver the performance you desire.