If you're not sure how shocks work and how to maintain them on your Land Rover, this guide to all things shocks will help you. Here, you'll learn everything you need to know about shocks, including:
- What shocks are
- How shocks work
- How to diagnose bad shocks
- The differences between OEM and aftermarket shocks
- How to replace your shocks
If this ultimate guide to Land Rover shocks doesn't satisfy your curiosity, you're more than welcome to reach out to us with questions.
What are Shocks? How do Shocks Work?
Shocks are telescoping tubes that are mounted to the frame (or body) and the axle (or control arm). The reason your Land Rover has shocks is so its tires can stay firmly planted on the road at all times and the ride quality can remain smooth and comfortable.
Land Rovers are unique in that your model may have either conventional hydraulic shocks, or proprietary air shocks. Land Rover developed air shocks because they offer outstanding ride quality along with a very long lifespan.
When your Land Rover hits a bump, the axle moves up, but you don't really feel it. It's because the shocks are there to absorb most of the impact. The shocks do this by compressing when the axle moves up.
This article has a comprehensive explanation of what shocks are and how they work.
How to Know if Your Shocks are Bad
All shocks, including both air and hydraulic versions, go bad after a while. When your hydraulic shocks start to go kaput, you'll know. There are some symptoms that clue you in to this:
- Bouncy ride
- Excessive vibration in the tire
- Suspension bottoming out
- Nose diving
- Excessive body roll when cornering
The best way to officially confirm that your hydraulic shocks have gone bad is to perform the bounce test. This tutorial outlines the steps you would need to take to do the bounce test.
Air shocks do not gradually go bad like hydraulic shocks. Usually air shocks fail because they wore enough to develop a leak. When this happens, the shock can't maintain air pressure, and that corner of the car will sag downwards. The car can still be driven at this point, but it must be driven slowly and carefully. The good news is that air shocks can last 200,000 miles or more.
OEM Vs. Aftermarket Shocks
When it's finally time to replace your shocks, you might be wondering if you should save a few bucks on aftermarket shocks instead of getting OEM replacement shocks. While it sounds like a good idea in theory, it probably won't end well. Aftermarket shocks are notoriously unreliable in terms of quality and performance. This article lists 5 great reasons why you should always stick to OEM shocks.
How to Replace Land Rover Shocks
If you have basic tools, you can skip the shop and replace the shocks yourself. The process basically involves lifting your Land Rover, removing the wheels, unbolting the old shocks from the car, and then bolting the new ones in their place. This tutorial will guide you through the process. (Please link to this post.