Best Jeep Wrangler Shocks & Buyer's Guide (2018)
Best Jeep Wrangler Shocks & Buyer's Guide (2018)

Best Jeep Wrangler Shocks & Buyer's Guide (2018)

Updated November 2018

Jeep Wrangler owners are a special breed of people. For those who own a Wrangler, then you know exactly what I mean. There is no vehicle that is even close to the design and versatility it offers. It is a nimble vehicle for traveling around town, yet it can easily go off-roading in demanding situations. Off-roading is a unique special passion of many city dwellers who like to take the weekend for a wilderness excursion. Jeep Wranglers has the compact frame and ruggedness to seamlessly blend between the two worlds. One way Jeep owners get the most enjoyment is with great shocks. The factory installed shocks are great for most circumstances, but sometimes you need shocks for more intense driving. We know most other sport utility vehicles are best suited for city driving. Many even have low clearances which are a definite killer for off-road activities. Most are just too lightweight to be a significant choice for most Jeep Wrangler owners. That is why you will find owners from economic and social brackets. A Porsche, Tesla, or Nissan simply cannot match the versatility offered with a Wrangler.

This is versatility that I love. I am going to explain a few key issues that you need to understand. Then I am going to list recommendations for great shock absorbers.

Why you can you trust us? Autokwix is reader-supported. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Never.

We recommended:

our pick

Rancho RS9000XL

Best choice for clear control on any surface for JK

  • price/quality
  • tuning system
  • life-time warranty
our pick

Bilstein 5100

Best on market for TJ

  • price
  • short braking distance
  • high directional stability
  • different sizes of lift available ( 0"-2"
  • 3.5-4")
premium

Fox 2.0 Shock

It`s like a toy that you always wanted for a Christmas

  • amazing control
  • stiffness
  • external reservoir
budget

Skyjacker H700

Cheap choice for your off-road ride

  • easy to install
  • price
  • smooth ride

Keeping wheels in constant contact with road.

During acceleration, the car will “squat” backward, rear wheel weighting, and unweighting the front wheels, thereby reducing its road grip. The reverse occurs during the braking process. This is the ideal conditions where a car would maintain its proper "horizontal" position. In the case of maneuvering, the weight shifts not along the axes but along the sides.

Shock absorbers are utilized to maintain the cars constant with the road. This reduces the chance of driver losing control over the car. They are an incredibly important feature in a car. It is guaranteed that you need to replace these components during the lifespan of a car. Keeping your shock absorbers in prime condition is a vital necessity for safe driving.

Significant issues in the selection of shock absorbers

When considering what to look for in the best shock absorbers, I considered the following factors.

Braking distance: Shock absorbers resist swinging which greatly affects the speed of the stopping distance of a car during emergency braking. The softer the shock absorber is, the greater will be the amplitude of oscillation during braking of a car with the ABS system.

Sinking on sharp turns: On a highspeed turns, the body roll due to centrifugal force will cause a downgrade of road grip. This may cause the loss of control and lead to uncontrol movements.

Off-road driving stability: Driving off-road is a challenge to shock absorber. Good shock absorbers will make the ride on unpaved roads smoother. The vibration felt will be determined a lot by the type you use.

How to choose the best shock absorber for driving style

A decision for which shock absorbers to use needs to be based on your intended purpose. This will determine what type of shock absorbers are best for your needs. Even if you don’t off-road, you should consider the road quality you will be using.

When deciding which shock absorbers to purchase, you need to determine which indicator you prefer: fast handling or soft comfort. It is important to consider that as one indicator increases the other decreases.

I listed six of the best shock absorbers that are the best for your Jeep. My top pick was the Rancho RS9000XL. It has an improvement in fluid capacity. There is a mixture minimization of oil and air. It has a good dirt defense. It has great strength with rock solid durability. It is the top choice for making intense off-road trips. Another good options, the Bilstein 5100 has amazing technology that I discuss later that provides strength for intense journeys. The Fox 2.0 is my premium choice if you have extra cash. It is a great product if you like to race off pavement. Off-road racing is for a special breed of people, so it may be something you need or not. I included it anyway. My budget pick of the Skyjacker h7000. They are great all around product for general usage. They are great starters to get started without spending a lot of money

Table of Best Jeep Wrangler Shocks

NameOur ratingJeep ModelHandling RateRequired Year PeriodLiftType of TubeInstallation timePriceShops
Rancho RS9000XL
JK5,007-16 / 07-150”- 3” / 3” – 4”Twin30 Mins$$
Bilstein 5100
TJ / JK4.8 / 4.997-06 / 07-153,5”- 4” / 1,5”-3”Mono30 Mins$$
Fox 2.0 Shock
JK4.5 - 5,007-161.5”- 3.5” / 4”-6”Mono with Reservoir1 Hour$$$
Skyjacker H700
JK3.8 07-151”-3.5”Twin30 Mins$
Old Man Emu Nitrocharger Sport
JK5.007-181,5”- 3,5”Twin30 Mins$$

swipe left to see more

How we decided

22
models considered
20
hours spend
2
experts interviewed

Best Jeep Wrangler Shocks

Our rating:
5.0

The RANCHO RS9000XL is ideal for installation on your JK model Jeep. These are shock absorbers are twin-tube gas structure. They have a reinforced, double-chrome-plated stock, which provides great stability in any conditions, it is specially designed boot that greatly reduces damage.

The Rancho 9000s work well as you can custom tailor the damping of the shock with only knob adjustment. There is no need for tools or nitrogen needed to tune the shock absorber.

The 9000s are a hydro shock that does not have a nitrogen charge - Fox, King, Bilstein, etc. Many people discover the lack of a nitrogen charge means a softer ride with especially on-road driving.

For a wheeler, an adjustable nitrogen charged shock like fox and king may be good. The drawback is the cost for shocks are very high compared to shocks like the Rancho 9000s.

Features:

  • More fluid capacity for cooler operation - Large, 2.75-in. (70mm) tri-tube body
  • 9-Position adjustment knob for performance
  • Minimal air-to-oil mixture - Gas pressurization of shock
  • A rebound bumper that helps control the rebound motion during harsh driving conditions

Specs:

  • brand: Rancho
  • lift: 0”-3”, 3”-4”
  • type of tube: twin
Pros
  • price/quality
  • tuning system
  • life-time warranty
Cons
  • adjustable knob breaks over a time

Our rating:
5.0

Bilstein 5100 an extended heavy-duty monotube shock absorber that increases ground clearance while maintaining optimal contact with the surface. It is mounted with special kits to increase the clearance of your TJ. It has a large reserve of power with a long service life. Reliability does not change even with a trailer in off-road conditions. It provides excellent grip and directional stability in normal operation and in extreme situations with a large load. Here all the advantages of gas monotube technology are realized.

The 5100`s are American made in the USA using German damping technology.

These shocks will give you the smooth travels on various road types. With the adjustable cup, you can build your own pressure.

The gas pressure in the monotube construction eliminates foaming of the oil; therefore, its stable viscosity and a large area of the working piston provide accurate damping of the irregularities and high reliability under extreme loads.

Bilstein shock absorbers are an excellent choice for fast and sharp driving, but you will have to endure the shaking and hard work of the suspension.

Key features:

  • adjustable cup
  • vulcanized bushings
  • superior heat dissipation
  • compatible with Jeep JK as well

Specs:

  • brand: Bilstein
  • lift: w/3.5-4"
  • type of tube: mono
Pros
  • price
  • short braking distance
  • high directional stability
  • different sizes of lift available ( 0"-2"
  • 3.5-4")
Cons
  • a bit harsh

Our rating:
5.0

When it comes to performance suspensions, Fox Racing team have a resume that is more than qualified. When your JK goes fast off-road - Fox makes a shot for it. These 2.0 Performance Series shocks are a good balance between cost and quality. They will provide exceptional performance for off-road activities. They also offer a great on street ride.

The advantage of the 2.0 performance series is its inclusion of an external reservoir. This external reservoir allows for increased oil and nitrogen capacity inside the shock. This reservoir also aids in reducing cavitation and heat when the shock is under extreme use. And by doing so, this eliminates shock fade when you're really letting the skinny pedal have it off-road. Fox also many factors the shaft of 5/8 inch hard chrome-plated heat treated alloy steel. It is designed to take quite a bit of abuse to get this to bend a break.

The mixture of all these items come in a single product that has a reasonable cost. Don’t expect these at the most budget-friendly shops. It`s like an iPhone in the world of smartphones – it is more than just a brand. The brand stands for the quality and features that set it apart. That`s the reason why we think it`s the premium product.

Features:

  • 2.0" Metal impacted 6061-T6 aluminum will resist rust over time
  • Application specific valving to maximize performance
  • Quiet nitrile rubber allows for increased suspension articulation
  • Direct replacement for stock and aftermarket lifts kits

Specs:

  • brand: Fox
  • lift: 1”-3.5”, 4”-6”
  • type of tube: mono with reservoir
Pros
  • amazing control
  • stiffness
  • external reservoir
Cons
  • the price is pretty steep

Our rating:
4.0

Skyjacker hydro 7000 shocks ease hydraulic action to control way terrain interacts with the springs. A smoother ride on various road surfaces is achieved with this innovation. Additional features of this product include a twin tube construction, bonded iron piston, chromed piston rod with micro pores, red polyurethane bushings, and red shock boot. The product is backed with a good warranty. Changes in terrain are handled with ease with multistage velocity-sensitive valving. This allows stable, controlled level resistance to respond instantly to changes in terrain. In plain language this means better ride, you see a marked improvement in the handling of your Jeep. These shocks feature DOM tubing and a bonded iron piston that reduces internal wear and increases durability of shocks.

They are great shocks for all types of drivers. They are very well made for the price. They are inexpensive and last plenty long enough to make them well worth the money spent.

We have added them to the budget section but with some warning. This is because opinions on them can vary. Nonetheless, the pricing makes them hard to pass up.

  Some buyers complain that after 5-10 thousand miles they start to leak and their JK model Jeeps starts jumping on the bumps.

Key features:

  • hydro shocks
  • twin-tube
  • lifetime warranty

Specs:

  • brand:Skyjacker
  • lift: 1”-3,5”
  • type of tube: twin
Pros
  • easy to install
  • price
  • smooth ride
Cons
  • some of them leaking over time
  • doubtful bushings
  • paint finish

Our rating:
4.0

Distinctive features of the Nitrocharger Sport series are a significant improvement in the controllability that drivers feel. Drivers notice this most especially when driving at high speeds on varying types of road surfaces. In most cases, for a particular car, several options are offered for the Nitrocharger Sport series of shock absorbers. You need to check which one has the best settings for your particular car by paying particular attention to the type of load you will be carrying.

A key feature is the piston oil valve that has increased throughput. A 35 mm oil valve coated with Teflon is designed to ensure an even flow of oil through the flow discs. The end result is greatly reduced heat generation that prevents the risk of oil aeration which can cause the shock absorber to fail.

Another feature is the triple oil seal valve that has many improvements including the ability to maintain performance at a higher temperature and internal pressure. This virtually eliminates the possibility of dirt entering through the piston rod during compression, which greatly prolongs the service life of the shock absorber.

We think that these shocks are very good in their class, but the price may not make you happy. That is why they not out BEST pick.

Key features:

  • engineered for both on-road drivability and off-road touring
  • low-pressure Nitrogen gas for optimum performance
  • tough urethane bushes for extended life

Specs:

  • brand: Old Man Emu
  • lift: 1,5” - 3,5”
  • type of tube: twin
Pros
  • very smooth
  • durable
Cons
  • price

Best Jeep Wrangler Shocks Buying Guide

When do you need to change your shocks?

There are basically two different scenarios that you're going to run into as a Jeep owner. One - is if you lift your vehicle you're increasing the distance between the axle and the mounting point on the frame of the shock, so you have to buy longer travel shocks. The second is if your shocks have worn out and they need to be replaced.

There are a few ways to tell if your shocks are worn out.

The first way is when the driver notices that the car is constantly bouncing up and down. The car doesn’t feel solid. This is an important sign that your shocks have worn out and need to be replaced. The way to test your shocks in this situation is to go to the corner of the vehicle and push up and down on it really hard. If your vehicle doesn't stop bouncing immediately, you might want to check your shocks. There are also seals in the shocks that once they wear out, they will leak fluid. You also have bushings on both ends of the shock, on the top and bottom mounting points, if you hear any clunking or weird noises or squeaking or anything like that, definitely check those out. If those bushings are worn out time, then it is also time to replace the shocks as well.

Types of shock absorbers

When it comes to the different types of shocks available for your Jeep, we're going to be sticking with the most common two. They are the twin tube and the mono tube shocks.

The twin tube shock is going to be your most common shock that you'll find available for your Jeep. In simple terms, twin tube shocks are a cylinder filled with fluid. A twin tube shock is going to be good for a daily driving and very light off-road use. Overall, they provide actually a very comfortable ride.

If you use these heavily off-road or very fast hard use you are going to actually experience cavitation inside your shock. That’s when the piston is moving up and down so fast it'll heat up the fluid and start to make it foam. All you have then are air bubbles that are passing through the piston. The end result is that this makes the shock forget that it's a shock. So definitely keep that in mind if you're choosing a twin tube shock.

A mono tube shock is always nitrogen charged. They're different than a twin tube because they have a separate cylinder that houses that nitrogen gas. It is not in the cylinder with the shock oil. By separating those two, you get better cooling and more efficiency out of that shot. You can also fit more fluid into it for better dampening. They are going to run cooler. They're going to be more resilient to cavitation so you can run them harder off-road without the program of foaming of the shock fluid. Monotube shocks typically take more abuse They are definitely great for wheeling and beating in off-road driving. Obviously, they can also be used on the road as well. You will experience a little more firm of a ride, but that's okay if that's something that you require out of your Jeep. Some of you, that is lifted a little bit taller may need that extra stability if you've high center of gravity - a mono tube shock will definitely help you out there as well.

There is one model of shock absorbers with a reservoir tank, the simplest version of the sports shock absorber, allow you to change the characteristic by changing the gas pressure.

When choosing the best shock absorbers, you can be guided by different criteria. You need to consider your driving style, the condition of operation of the car, rigidity, and convenience. But in any case, you need to monitor the health of each type of shock absorbers, because when one or more shocks fail, the quality of adhesion of tires to the road surface is decreasing, and this will adversely affect the stability and braking distance of the car.

It is recommended to check the condition of shock absorbers every 15 – 25k miles.

Difference between shocks and struts

Struts replace the upper arm, upper ball bearing, and steering knuckle. The axes of the strut have a larger diameter, as it sets the geometry of the suspension and the position of the wheel. If the car is equipped with air suspension, the strut also acts as a spring!

The shock absorber, in contrast to the strut, does not set the wheel geometry and does not replace the suspension arm and ball joint. It simply dampens vibrations directed along its axes.

Thus, the shock absorber is a small part of the strut.

If you do not understand something or want to learn more and more detailed about the construction of the suspension, including shock absorbers, then follow the link.

Here the user under the name "Chris" tells in detail about everything that you might be interested in when choosing the right shock absorber.

Conclusion

The choice of the shock absorber should be approached very responsibly, taking into account all your requirements and expectations. Who else but you can know why you specifically need shock absorbers. What would you like to change or fix? Most of the problems that we noticed while reading reviews from users in various forums appeared due to the fact that they simply did not study in detail the product that they bought, and as a result, the shock absorber either broke too quickly, or they did not fit the height of the car or the car behaved on surface not as they expected.

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