If you are looking to replace worn-out shocks or you are simply itching for an upgrade, then you may want the best shocks for the Dodge Ram 1500 4×4.
Shocks and struts have an important job stabilizing a truck’s movements when it goes around corners, makes sharp turns, brakes accelerates, and when it goes over uneven surfaces, especially when off-roading. The shocks can help to give more control to the driver and to make the ride much smoother for the truck’s driver and passengers. That is why it is important to have your shocks and/or struts replaced as soon as you begin to notice that they are becoming less effective at doing their job. But, before you make a major purchase like new shocks for your Dodge Ram, you want someone to point you in the right direction when it comes to the best shocks available for purchase.
Table of Contents
- What are the best shocks for a 4×4 Dodge Ram 1500?
- Best shocks for Dodge Ram 1500 4×4
- What are shocks and what do they do?
- What are struts and what do they do?
- What is the difference between a shock and a strut?
- How much does it cost to have your shocks and struts replaced?
- How do you know when it’s time to replace your shocks or struts?
- What happens if your shocks or struts fail?
- How do you install shocks on a Dodge Ram 1500 4×4?
What are the best shocks for a 4×4 Dodge Ram 1500?
The best shocks for the Dodge Ram 1500 4×4 include the following.
- Rough Country 2.5″ Lift Kit
- Bilstein 4600 Series
- Bilstein 5100 Series
- Monroe Shocks & Struts Load Adjusting Kit
- Skyjacker N8000 Gas Shocks Set
When you are starting to look at new shocks for your Dodge Ram 1500, you may have a ton of questions. Questions like which shocks are the best for off-roading? For normal driving? How much do I need to pay for a full shock and strut replacement? Can I install the new shocks on my own? Are shocks important to the overall operation of my vehicle? These are the types of questions that every truck owner may want to have answered before making their final purchases.
Let us take a look at some of these questions as well as break down exactly what a shock and strut do, what the main differences are between these two auto parts, how to install shocks on a truck, and the best brands and products currently available for the Dodge Ram 1500 4×4.
Best shocks for Dodge Ram 1500 4×4
If you are looking to replace or upgrade the shocks or struts on your Dodge Ram 1500 4×4, you should know that you can purchase complete shock and strut sets that both include a lift kit or that keep the truck at its original height.
If you were ever considering installing a lift kit on your Dodge Ram 1500, when it is time to replace your existing shocks, it may also be a good time to install a full lift kit that includes brand new shocks and struts.
Because of this, we have included products that contain a lift kit as well as normal shocks and struts. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the best shocks for the Dodge Ram 1500 4×4 that are currently for sale online and at local auto part stores across the United States and Canada.
1. Rough Country 2.5″ Lift Kit
If you were considering having a lift kit installed on your vehicle and you would like to take advantage of this time that you need to have new shocks installed anyway to replace your existing shocks, then you cannot go wrong with Rough Country.
When it comes to lift kits, Rough Country is one of the most trusted brands that continuously leaves customers satisfied with their purchase decision. This suspension system provides a comfortable ride, increased control, stability, and top-notch shock absorbance.
The Rough Country 2.5-inch lift kit with all-new shocks is every off-roader’s dream. The shocks are nitrogen gas charged to give reliable suspension control in the toughest terrain and road conditions. The entire kit is manufactured from high-quality stainless steel that is rust and corrosion resistant and comes with everything you need to complete the installation in the privacy of your garage in a few short hours.
2. Bilstein 4600 Series
The Bilstein 4600 Series shock absorbers are pretty straightforward when it comes to shocks. They are also incredibly easy to install. These shocks automatically tune to changes in terrain and road conditions to adjust the amount of resistance they provide to the suspension to maintain an appropriate amount. This auto-tuning helps to prevent hydraulic fluid from leaking
If you are looking for a quality shock absorber at a reasonable price, then the Bilstein 4600 Series shock absorbers may be the perfect product for your vehicle.
3. Bilstein 5100 Series
The Bilstein 5100 Series shock absorbers have many of the same likable features of the Bilstein 4600 Series but with the added capability of having a front lift of up to 2.75-inches.
This is because the Bilstein 5100 Series shock absorbers come with adjustable height capabilities. Even if you would like to adjust the height on these shocks to add a front-end lift to your Dodge Ram 1500, the installation process is still incredibly easy.
The Bilstein 5100 Series shock absorbers are an amazing product for Dodge Ram 1500 owners who are looking for a smooth ride as they navigate paved roads and highways or when they take their truck off-road to conquer mountain trails and various types of uneven terrain.
The addition of the front-end lift capabilities is a nice touch for anyone who would like to install larger tires or if they are simply looking for increased ground clearance for off-road adventures.
4. Monroe Shocks & Struts Load Adjusting Kit
Monroe Shocks & Struts Load Adjusting kits are among the best and top-rated shock and struts products available for the Dodge Ram 1500 4×4. The nitrogen-charged shocks are excellent for hauling heavy loads and for off-roading as they help to provide the smoothest ride imaginable, even on the worse terrain.
Another feature worth mentioning is the all-temperature hydraulic fluid.
Other products may be affected by changes in temperature or by extreme cold or heat, however, the fluid used in Monroe shocks is not affected at all. This is ideal for Dodge Ram 1500 owners who may take their vehicles high up into the mountains where temperatures can change drastically, for owners who plan on driving their truck off-road through winter snow and ice., or for desert riding.
5. Skyjacker N8000 Gas Shocks Set
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This Skyjacker Gas Shocks Set is specially designed to enhance the performance of older Dodge Ram 1500 models. They can help to provide more control and better stability while automatically adjusting to accommodate changing terrain.
This shock set also contains a front and wheel lift that can allow the owner to install larger tires and navigate rough terrain with the confidence that they have higher clearance. The installation is incredibly easy and all the parts including bolts, nuts, and washers are included in the kit. This kit comes with a lifetime warranty.
What are shocks and what do they do?
Shocks are designed to control the movement of springs and the suspension. All of the kinetic energy that is created when a suspension is in movement whether the vehicle is driving normally, taking turns, or going over rough terrain, is converted to thermal energy that is then dissipated through hydraulic fluid.
The faster the suspension moves, the more resistance the shocks provide. When the shocks are dissipating the thermal energy through the hydraulic fluid, the fluid is pushed through tiny holes in a piston.
The number of holes or their size can have an impact on how much resistance the shocks provide as well as how quickly the kinetic energy is converted to thermal energy and then dissipated.
Because the shocks can increase and decrease resistance based on the movement speed of the suspension and varying road conditions, the shocks can work to reduce the amount of bounce, roll, sway, brake dive, and acceleration push back.
Shocks are essentially a piston that is attached to a piston rod that pushes against hydraulic fluid inside of a pressure tube.
As the suspension moves up and down as a vehicle makes turns, takes corners, and drives on uneven terrain, your fluid is pushed through the holes by the piston inside of the pressure tube. The resistance created by the hydraulic fluid being forced through these tiny holes ultimately slows down the suspension and spring movement.
What are struts and what do they do?
Struts are essentially a damper that is used on independent suspensions. A strut is lighter and smaller than a shock absorber. It is also a major structural component of a suspension.
The strut takes the place of the upper ball joint and the upper control arm used in conventional suspensions. So, what do they do?
Struts have two main functions that affect vehicle control and handling, braking, steering, tire alignment, and ride comfort as well as to help prevent wear and tear on other suspension components
First, the struts on a vehicle act as a dampener just like a shock absorber does. There is a piston on the end of a piston rod that pushes against hydraulic fluid inside of a pressure tube.
There are tiny holes that the hydraulic fluid is pushed through that create resistance to reduce bounce, sway, roll, brake dive, and acceleration push back when spring and the suspension are in motion. The faster the suspension moves, the more resistance the dampener part of the strut creates.
The second function of a strut is to provide structural support to the suspension as well as the springs. Additionally, a strut actually works to keep the tire properly aligned and to protect the other suspension components from wear and tear.
Struts are comprised of strut housing that provides structural support to the springs and suspension as well as the dampening unit that is constructed inside of the strut housing. As the strut housing itself supports the suspension, the dampener works to control suspension and spring movement.
The bottom of a strut then connects to the steering knuckle, which then connects to the lower ball joint and control arm.
What is the difference between a shock and a strut?
People often confuse shocks and struts, and although they provide some similar functions, they are in fact two completely different parts of a vehicle’s suspension. A shock absorber is considered to be a component of the suspension whereas a strut is considered to be a major structural component of the suspension.
How much does it cost to have your shocks and struts replaced?
When it is time to replace or upgrade your shocks and struts, you may be wondering how much it may cost you to have the job completed by a professional mechanic.
If you are looking to replace or upgrade the shocks on your truck, then you may be looking at a price tag that is somewhere between $250 and $600 for parts with an additional $150 to $350 in labor. This is a price estimate for having a pair of shocks replaced or upgraded on a single axle.
If you need to do all four, then simply add up the total cost estimate for one axle and double it.
Struts on the other hand tend to be much more expensive. For a single strut assembly unit, costs can range anywhere from $150 to $350 for parts with an additional $100 to $300 for labor. If you have the proper equipment and you are confident in your mechanical skills, you could save yourself a good deal of money by completing the labor yourself.
Ideally, you should have access to a hoist or a hydraulic jack plus a full range of mechanic’s tools to complete the job on your own.
If you are unsure about any portion of the process of installing shocks or struts on your own, it is most likely in your best interest to have a professional do the installation.
Shocks and struts are major components to any vehicle, and if you should happen to install them incorrectly or break a different part in the process of installation, it could have dire consequences. Additionally, it could end up costing you much more money in the long run if you need to have a mechanic fix your mistakes before they can install the parts properly.
How do you know when it’s time to replace your shocks or struts?
Many vehicle manufacturers state that shocks and struts on a truck will need to be replaced eventually. If you drive your truck off-road a lot, pack heavy loads into the bed, or tow heavy boat trailers, campers, or work trailers, then you may need to replace your shocks or struts every 40,000 to 50,000 miles.
If you drive your truck mainly on paved roads and highways and you do not often tow heavy trailers or carry heavy loads, then you may expect your truck’s shock or struts to last anywhere between 75,000 and 90,000 miles or more. However, these are just rough estimates as every vehicle is different.
So, what are some of the warning signs that your shocks or struts are worn down enough that they may warrant a replacement? Keep an eye out for some of these signs.
1. Instability at high speeds
When driving your truck down the freeway, if your shocks or struts are starting to go, you may feel like your vehicle is a little unstable. You may be moving up and down a lot or you may feel a bit wobbly or uneasy. This instability may be only slightly noticeable at first, however, as your shocks or struts get worse, it will become more and more apparent.
If you are starting to feel like your vehicle is unstable at higher speeds, then you may want to take your truck in to have a mechanic inspect your shocks or struts as well as the entire suspension.
2. Instability during turns
If your shocks or struts are starting to wear down, you may notice that your vehicle tends to tip or learn more dramatically into turns, even at slower speeds.
The fast you take a turn, the more noticeable the tip can be. Again, if you are experiencing this kind of tipping during turns, you should see a mechanic immediately. It could be a question of safety, especially if you drive a vehicle that is more prone to rollovers or that has a lift kit installed.
3. Dramatic brake dive
When you press down on the brakes or when you need to hit them hard to stop quickly, you may notice that your vehicle dives forward incredibly hard.
If you notice this kind of forward dive when you are breaking, it could be another sign that is time to replace your brakes or struts.
4. Front end rises during acceleration
People who have ever driven a boat will be familiar with the sensation of your front end rising while the rear end tends to sit lower during acceleration. Although this is a common occurrence when you are driving a boat at lower speeds, it is not common for a truck
If your pickup truck sits lower in the back as the front end rises when you accelerate, then it could be a sign that your shocks or struts are on their way out.
5. Bouncing tires
Whenever you go over a speed bump, hit a pothole, or drive over a normal bump in the road, if your tires bounce excessively, then it could be yet another sign that it is time to replace your shocks or struts. Additionally, when your tires bounce after hitting a bump, you may hear a loud clunking noise.
If you hear this clunking noise regularly, then your shocks or struts may be in worse shape than you first imagined.
6. Abnormal tire wear
The main job of shocks and struts is to control suspension and coil movement to ensure that your tires stay firmly on the ground at all times.
If you start to notice that your tires are wearing unevenly and abnormally, it could be a sign that your tires are not maintaining 100$ contact with the ground at all times.
One of the easiest signs to notice when shocks or struts are going bad is when you start to notice leaks on your driveway where the tires sit or when you see fluid visibly on the exterior of the shock or strut. Leaking fluid is a strong indicator that the seals on the shock or strut have been broken and that the hydraulic fluid that is instrumental to proper functionality is seeping out.
What happens if your shocks or struts fail?
If your shocks or struts should happen to fail, or if they are worn out so bad that they do not have full functionality, there are a number of negative consequences to be aware of.
This is why replacing your shocks or struts as soon as you start to notice your vehicle acting in any of the ways described above is important. Here are some of the main negative consequences of driving when your shocks or struts fail or when they are worn down so bad they do not have 100% functionality.
Shocks and struts work to control suspension and coil movement while helping your tires maintain complete contact with the road at all times.
When they become worn down or when they fail, it becomes extremely difficult to navigate curves, take corners, or when driving off-road. You may also feel your truck begin to sway and your steering wheel may be less responsive to how you direct it.
Additionally, you could see that your vehicle will want to pull in one direction or another when you are driving at higher speeds. Basically, if your shocks and struts are beginning to wear out, you will have much less control over steering and it will take more force to turn the wheel. This can also lead to excessive wear and tear on your power steering components which can lead to additional repairs and costs.
Wear and tear on tires
When your shocks or struts are not at 100% functionality, your tires can take on excessive wear and tear that is not normally exposed to.
Because of this additional wear and tear that your tires may be exposed to, you could see that the tread on the tires is not wearing down evenly. Instead, you may see that they wear down in a wavy pattern. Tires that are worn down unevenly present some additional handling problems as well as will need to be replaced more frequently.
Purchasing new tires and paying for them to be put on and aligned is not an expense you will want to take on more frequently than necessary.
Increased risk of accident
The poor handling and the uneven wear and tear of tires both can contribute to increasing the accident risk of your vehicle. The suspension system is a critical component that contributes to a truck’s ability to operate safely on the road. Bad shocks and struts can make braking more difficult, increase the possibility of a rollover when taking sharp turns or corners, and can cause a driver to lose control when they hit a large bump or pothole.
This is why it is critical to have a mechanic inspect your shocks and struts right away if you suspect that they are starting to go out.
How do you install shocks on a Dodge Ram 1500 4×4?
If you are looking at how to replace the shocks or struts on your Dodge Ram 1500 4×4, then you can find many videos on YouTube and other websites that can demonstrate to you how to replace either the front or rear shocks or struts on a specific year of Dodge Ram 1500.
For example, if you are looking at how someone replaces front shock absorbers on a 2011 Dodge Ram 1500, you can check out this YouTube video.
Here are some of the basic steps that you will need to complete if you are looking to replace front shock absorbers on a Dodge Ram 1500.
- If you have access to a hoist or lift, raise your car until it is at a comfortable height for working. If you only have a hydraulic jack, go ahead and lift the front end of the truck so you can remove the tires.
- Remove the tire to expose the front strut and to make it easier to access.
- Remove the two bolts at the bottom of the strut using an impact wrench.
- Remove the top bolt from the strut.
- The entire strut should now drop down and be easy to remove.
- Slide in the new strut inside of the spring coil and insert each end into the correct bolt holes.
- Add the nuts to all three of the bolts and tighten securely.
- Simply repeat the entire process for the other side.
If you are looking to replace the rear shocks of your Dodge Ram 1500, you may find that it can be done just as easily if you have the proper tools and equipment.
- Lift the rear end of your truck with a hydraulic jack or lift your truck up onto a hoist.
- Remove the rear tire.
- Find where the bottom of the shock connects to the axle and remove the bolt with an impact wrench.
- Remove the upper bolt and the rear shock should simply drop down.
- Before putting in the new shock, you should charge the shock by putting the bottom of the shock on the ground and by pushing down the top with force four or five times.
- Next, simply put the new shock in the correct sports and put in the bolts.
- Torque the bolts until they are securely fastened.
- Put the tire back on and repeat this process for the other side.
As you can see, if you have access to all of the proper tools and equipment for the job, it really is not too difficult to do it from the comfort and privacy of your home garage. However, if you are unsure about doing the job on your own, it is better if you contact your local mechanic or your local certified Dodge technician.