Best Shocks For Dodge Ram 1500 – A 2021 Guide

Have you noticed a bumpy, poor drive when you get behind the wheel of your Dodge Ram 1500?

If so, your shocks may be the culprit. Also known as shock absorbers, these automotive components help reduce the amount of bounce in your vehicle, allowing for a smoother ride and better control. And while the stock shocks provide a decent amount of cushion and drivability, aftermarket shocks offer a bit more.

With improved handling at high speeds and excellent off-road capabilities, shocks are the aftermarket part you didn’t know you needed. 

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Comparison of the Best Shocks For Dodge Ram 1500

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How Long Do Shocks Last? When is it Time to Replace Shocks?

Like other automotive parts, shocks won’t last forever. But how and where you drive plays a vital role in how long your shocks will last. If you drive on rocky off-road surfaces or dirt roads, the life span of your shocks could drop dramatically. Most shocks last about 50,000 miles on average, but pavement-only driving may give you some extra time before replacement; off-roading can lower the life expectancy due to the extra wear and tear.

How to Tell if Shocks Are Bad

Failing shocks are a safety issue due to poor control on any type of terrain. Therefore, you should look for signs of bad shocks, especially around the time that the shocks are reaching the end of their useful life. Telltale signs of bad shocks include:

  1. Rattling and rocking over small bumps or potholes
  2. Uneven wear on the tire treads
  3. Car sliding in winds
  4. Slight veering when applying the brakes
  5. Tail-happy behavior over highway bumps

Keep in mind that these symptoms may also be another problem. But if you notice several of these at once, your shocks are probably to blame.


How Much Does it Cost to Replace Rear Shocks

Replacing a pair of rear shocks varies depending on the quality and price of the shocks, as well as whether you do the work yourself. To replace the rear shocks at most car repair shops, you’re looking at a price of about $250 to $700 including labor.

Doing this yourself will cut out the labor costs, which will probably set you back between $150 and $300. But if you don’t feel confident replacing the shocks and you want to save money, buy the parts yourself. Then, you only have to pay for labor instead of paying a premium for shocks purchased by the car repair shop.

How Do I Choose New Shocks? 

Because of the vast number of aftermarket shocks available on the market, choosing the right one for your needs isn’t always straightforward. As a result, you’ll need to consider a few aspects to guide yourself to the ideal choice. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Upgrade or Restoration?

The first facet of shock replacement to consider is whether you’re upgrading your current shocks or just replacing the OEM shocks. If you’re replacing the OEM shocks, this can take the guesswork out of buying new ones. Either look for an OEM part or an aftermarket part that meets OEM specifications, like the Bilstein 4600 series.

If you’re upgrading your shocks, you may have to do a bit more research. This would include a review of why you want to upgrade your shocks (off-roading, towing, etc.) and how much you’re willing to spend.


Heavy-Duty or High-Performance Suspension

Some trims of the Dodge Ram 1500 come factory-equipped with a heavy-duty or high-performance suspension. If this is your scenario, you’ll have to find a shock that works specifically with the added spring stiffness that’s often included in these suspensions.

Types of Shocks

Another consideration you’ll have to make is what type of shock works best for your truck. Shocks come in five formats, each with their own specific perks and price ranges:

  1. Coilover shocks: Height-adjustable, controls suspension movement
  2. Monotube shocks: Most common type of shock found in trucks and large SUVs
  3. Twin-tube shocks: Most common type of shock in small SUVs and cars, contains inner and outer tubes, hence the name
  4. Gas-charged twin-tube shocks: Regular twin-tube shocks can create foam, which can reduce control. Gas-charged shocks replace the air in the shock with nitrogen, making these ideal for off-roading
  5. Reservoir shocks: A reservoir holds a bank of extra shock fluid, allowing the system more surface area and volume to dissipate heat to.

Quick Take – Best Shocks For Dodge Ram 1500

In summary, here are the best shocks for Dodge Ram 1500:

  1. Bilstein 5100 Series
  2. Fox MaxTrac High Performance with 3-4″ Lift
  3. KYB Gas-a-Just

Review of the Best Shocks For Dodge Ram 1500 

Spanning a wide range of styles and price ranges, shocks for the Dodge Ram 1500 come in a seemingly endless sea of options. But to put you on the right track, here are reviews of some of the best options available for the Dodge Ram 1500.

Best Overall:Bilstein 5100 Series

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  • Easy to install
  • Stiffer, sportier drive
  • Ride height adjustable
  • No additional hardware required
  • Monotube shocks for improved handling


  • Bilstein has fought buyers on warranties occasionally

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers report that Bilstein 5100 Series Shocks provide improved handling, as well as excellent leveling for the Dodge Ram 1500. This includes less body roll, enhanced cornering capability, and better off-road driving. However, a small number of buyers report blown shocks and Bilstein not honoring its warranty, although it’s unknown whether this is due to defects or installation errors.

Why it Stands Out to Us

With a name like Bilstein, you know you’re getting quality shocks. This product delivers with excellent drivability, as well as both on-pavement and off-road prowess. Plus, a five-year warranty will help put your concerns to bed.

Bottom Line

Although a tad more expensive than alternatives, Bilstein 5100 Series Shocks are the quintessential product for upgrading your Dodge Ram 1500. And despite some issues reported by buyers, the overall consensus is that these are some of the best shocks money can buy.

Runner-up:Fox MaxTrac High Performance with 3-4″ Lift

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  • Quick and easy to install
  • Designed and fabricated in the U.S.
  • Made for high-performance suspensions
  • Made from durable, lightweight aluminum
  • Provides a 3-to-4-inch lift for added clearance and tire accommodation


  • Expensive compared to other options

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers report that the lift provided from the Fox MaxTrac High Performance with 3-4” Lift Shock provides a sleek, aggressive look to the Dodge Ram 1500. In addition, this lift doesn’t adversely affect the drivability of the vehicle. This product also had a few bad reviews with the only obstacle being a high price in comparison to other shocks.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Shocks with lifting capabilities can cause a poor, bumpy ride, but not with this product. Furthermore, the manufacturing process takes place entirely in the U.S., eliminating any concerns about quality control or functionality.

Bottom Line

Although pricey, the Fox MaxTrac High Performance Shock is a solid aftermarket product that should provide the look and drive desired by Dodge Ram 1500 owners. Budget-conscious buyers may shy away from this one, but those willing to spend the money will be rewarded.

Best for the Money:KYB Gas-a-Just

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  • Excellent handling overall
  • Air-free design all but eliminates fading
  • 25% better dampening than OEM shocks
  • Available in both twin-tube and monotube design
  • On-demand performance depending on road conditions


  • Some buyers report durability issues in tough terrain
  • Difference between OEM shocks and this product may be unnoticeable to some drivers

What Recent Buyers Report

Overall, buyers sing praise for KYB Gas-a-Just Shocks thanks to a low price and improved dampening power over stock and other aftermarket shocks. The shocks also provide excellent handling in all types of conditions. However, some drivers report little to no difference in drivability or response.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Thanks to a choice between both monotube and twin-tube construction, these shocks provide flexibility for both budget and driving style. And a limited lifetime warranty doesn’t hurt either, providing peace of mind for buyers, especially first-time shock buyers.

Bottom Line

KYB Gas-a-Just shocks are a great value buy, combining stellar performance with one of the lowest prices in the industry. Yet despite some issues with off-roading, this shock remains a great all-around option for most Dodge Ram 1500 drivers.

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Best Shocks For Dodge Ram 1500 2WD:Fox MaxTrac Aluminum Body Front Kit with 0-2″ Lift

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  • All hardware included 
  • Offers excellent leveling even after the lift
  • Ideal for two-wheel-drive Dodge Ram 1500s
  • Fabricated from lightweight, sturdy aluminum
  • Provides a slight lift to provide a more aggressive look


  • May not provide the lift desired by some Dodge Ram 1500 owners

What Recent Buyers Report

Dodge Ram 1500 owners that buy these shocks report that the added lift doesn’t cause any issues concerning drivability. These shocks are also highly durable, providing 50,000+ miles, even in rockier terrain. However, the 2-inch maximum lift is a drawback for some drivers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Fox MaxTrac Aluminum Body Front Kit with 0-2” Lift Shock is an excellent choice for two-wheel-drive Dodge Ram 1500s, providing excellent on-pavement and off-pavement driving. And with a sleeker, sportier look, it offers a one-two punch of aesthetics and drivability.

Bottom Line

Although this product is only for rear-wheel-drive trucks, four-wheel-drive owners can still opt for the Fox MaxTrac name but will need to find the specific part # for their vehicle. The result is a quality shock that will stand up to everyday driving without any problems.

Best Heavy Duty Shocks For Dodge Ram 1500:King Shocks OEM Performance Series Front Coilovers


  • Exceeds OEM specifications
  • Made from aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Coilover design for improved handling
  • Anodized metal for corrosion resistance
  • Adjustable to suit the needs of the driver


  • Expensive compared to other options

What Recent Buyers Report

King Shocks OEM Performance Series Coilovers get overwhelmingly positive reviews from buyers. With the coilover design, the smoothness of the ride is one of the most often-cited reasons for satisfaction with the high-quality product. The only downsides are price and what some buyers perceived as a drive that’s too stiff.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you’re into heavy towing or off-roading, few other shocks will provide the superb drivability as this product. And by exceeding OEM specifications, these shocks offer an improved driving experience that you’ll notice as soon as you get behind the wheel.

Bottom Line

Despite the high price tag of King Shocks OEM Performance Series Front Coilovers, off-roaders shouldn’t look anywhere else. However, off-roading enthusiasts on a budget may not have the money for these, making another brand a more feasible solution.

Best Shocks For Dodge Ram 1500 4×4:Bilstein B6 4600

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  • Lifetime warranty
  • Excellent fit for 4×4 Dodge Ram 1500
  • Engineered specifically for off-roading
  • Superior performance over stock shocks
  • Comes in a variety of colors to match the look you’re going for


  • Some buyers reported no difference in drivability while towing

What Recent Buyers Report

With improved driving in both off-road and towing conditions, Bilstein B6 4600 shocks are a solid aftermarket buy. Plus, ride quality on the pavement has a noticeable improvement. However, those with limited installation experience report some hassles or that they had to have professional installation to complete the job.

Why it Stands Out to Us

For improved off-road handling, nothing beats Bilstein shocks. Backed by a lifetime warranty, these shocks can stand up to brutal terrain and abuse without a hitch.

Bottom Line

For 4×4 Dodge Ram 1500 owners, these shocks are just what you need, combining affordability with enhanced performance. Those without mechanical knowledge may be wary of purchasing these, but for the price, these shocks are a steal even if you have to take your vehicle to the shop.

Best Dodge Ram Steering Stabilizer Shock:Skyjacker Steering Stabilizer Dual Kit

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  • All hardware included
  • Eliminates steering wheel “wobble”
  • Dampens even with larger-sized tires
  • Excellent stability for highway driving
  • Improved drivability on most surfaces


  • Difficult to install

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers praise both the improved highway drive and reduced steering wheel wobble as two of the best aspects of this product. And despite some difficulty with installation, buyers are optimistic about the ride and longevity of the Skyjacker Steering Stabilizer Dual Kit.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Skyjacker is a trusted name in shocks, synonymous with the overall quality and improved drivability. Furthermore, these shocks are backed by a lifetime warranty, giving buyers some added comfort in both drive and peace of mind.

Bottom Line

Although these shocks aren’t designed for off-roading, everyday drivers and commuters will find that these provide a great impact in driving over stock shocks at an affordable price.

Best Air Shocks for Dodge Ram 1500:Air Lift LoadLifter 5000 Air Kit

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  • Reduces sagging
  • All hardware included for easy installation
  • Perfect for towing and hauling heavy loads
  • Prevents bottoming-out with heavy payloads
  • Eliminates nose-up effect caused by some rear shocks


  • Can be difficult to install
  • Some users report poor handling on rougher terrain

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers swear by the Air Lift LoadLifter 5000 Air Spring Kit for its prevention of sagging and bottoming-out, even with heavy loads. It also prevents alignment or steering issues sometimes caused by heavy loads. However, installation is a bear for some novice DIY mechanics. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product has a proprietary “air bag” design, which can significantly improve the overall ride of the Dodge Ram 1500. The lifetime warranty is a nice bonus, although the 60-day money-back guarantee is the best in the business.

Bottom Line

If your goal is to prevent bottoming-out and sagging, this leveling kit is the one you should set your eyes on. Even with difficult installation, the desired effect will trump any bumps in the road—both figuratively and literally.

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Comparison Overview 

Because of the many variants of shocks, many buyers can get confused about the available option. To complicate this even further, struts often get grouped with shocks, despite the differences between the two. So if you’re getting lost in all the terminology and products, don’t stress. Here are some comparisons to point you in the right direction.

Shocks vs Struts

Struts are a structural component of a vehicle’s suspension. Essentially, struts combine the coil springs, shock absorbers, steering knuckle, and other components into a single assembly. In most cases, vehicles will have struts for all four wheels, shocks for all four wheels, or struts for the front wheels and shocks for the rear wheels.

A shock is also a part of the suspension, but it’s not a structural portion. Nevertheless, they are still integral to the overall performance of the suspension. Shocks contain a piston, coil, and pressurize fluid. When your Ram 1500 hits a bump, shocks allow your wheels to absorb the energy, ensuring that your tires stay in contact with the road without a loss of control.

How Do I Know if I Have Shocks or Struts?

Knowing whether you have shocks or struts can’t be easily discovered with a quick glance under the vehicle unless you know what to look for. It’s best to just Google your vehicle make/model/year and the phrase ‘strut or shocks’.

Keep in mind that your vehicle could also have struts in the front and shocks in the rear, so make sure to check both axles.

Coilovers vs Shocks

Imagine a shock absorber with a coil spring wrapped over it. That’s exactly what a coilover is. Think of it as a major upgrade to traditional shocks. Moreover, they contain several components in one, making it an all-in-one solution. 

Coilovers are popular on both performance vehicles and off-road vehicles because they allow height adjustment for either a lower center of gravity or to accommodate larger tires. They also eliminate the need for torsion bars or leaf springs.

Monotube vs Twin Tube Shocks

A monotube shock has a single cylinder that contains both a fluid area and a gas chamber while a twin-tube shock has two cylinders—one containing a piston and the other housing hydraulic fluid.

Typically, high-performance vehicles use a monotube shock due to better handling and cornering, although it’s also common to see them as OEM on some vehicles. Also, monotube shocks are easier to install and provide more dampening, although twin-tube shocks are less expensive.

KYB Gas-a-Just

How to Change Shocks on Dodge Ram 1500 

Changing shocks on a Dodge Ram 1500 can seem like a difficult task. And that may be the case for newbies and novice mechanics. But by following these step-by-step instructions, you can limit the hassles of installation and hopefully save a few hundred dollars compared to labor costs at an auto shop. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Lift the vehicle with either a lift or jack and jackstands. 
  2. Remove the shock by loosening the bolt on top of the shock. This may require penetrating oil to loosen.
  3. Remove the bolt on the bottom of the shock with a ratchet socket or drill.
  4. Remove the shock.
  5. Remember to put a washer and rubber bushing in place before putting the new shock in place, as this will limit rattling. Generally, these are included in shock kits.
  6. Put the new shock into place.
  7. Tighten the bolts according to their torque specs, and you’re ready to test out your new shocks!
  8. Lower the vehicle onto the ground.

If you’re more of a visual learner or want some more detail, make sure to check out the video below to make shock installation easier:

Don’t Get Shocked by a Poor Ride

If you’ve noticed significant drops in the smoothness of the ride in your Ram 1500, don’t delay buying new shocks. Not only is this dangerous, but you may also damage the suspension or the vehicle as a result. Just make sure to decide whether you want to merely replace the shocks with OEM variants or upgrade the shocks for better off-roading capabilities. By doing so, you can select the perfect shocks to fit your driving style.

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People Also Ask

For Ram 1500 owners making their first foray into the world of shocks, you may have some questions and concerns. In addition to the information up above, here are some of the other most common questions that people also ask.

Do I Need an Alignment After Replacing Rear Shocks?

Despite the common misconception, your Dodge Ram 1500 does not need an alignment after replacing the rear shocks of the vehicle.

How Often Should Shocks Be Replaced?

Most shocks reach the end of their useful life at around 50,000 miles. However, this number can change if you frequently go off-roading. Therefore, off-roaders should check their shocks at about 30,000 miles to ensure they’re in proper working order and not leaking.


How Do You Check Shocks?

The easiest way to check your shocks is through a bounce test. To conduct the bounce test, push on one corner of the Dodge Ram 1500. If the truck bounces once and rests back in its normal position, your shocks are probably fine. However, if the truck bounces two or more times, you may want to take the vehicle to a mechanic to see if your shocks are reaching the end of their life span.

Another way to tell is if your truck ‘hops’ around after hitting a bump at highway speeds.

Can I Replace Shocks Myself?

If you have a bit of knowledge about mechanics, have some extra time for any minor issues, or just want to learn how to replace shocks, you can certainly do it yourself. Compared to other repairs or replacements, switching out your shocks is surprisingly simple and will save you hundreds on labor often charged at a car repair shop.

How Good Are Bilstein Shocks?

Founded in Germany in 1873, Bilstein is a household name for shocks and synonymous with quality. A quick glance at reviews and ratings of Bilstein shocks shows just how much people love the quality of this product, often earning four or five stars from mechanics, enthusiasts, and Dodge Ram 1500 owners alike.

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