Shocks Vs Coilovers

When it comes to upgrading your vehicle’s suspension system, two of the most popular options are shock absorbers (shocks) and coilovers. Both of these components can help improve ride quality, handling, and overall performance. But, for those who are unfamiliar with automotive suspension systems, the differences between the two can be confusing. In this article, we will discuss the key differences between shocks and coilovers and provide an overview of the advantages and drawbacks of each.

Important Outline

What are Shock Absorbers?

Shock absorbers, commonly referred to as “shocks,” are designed to dampen the up-and-down motion of a vehicle’s suspension. They are hydraulic devices that convert the kinetic energy of suspension movement into heat, which is then dissipated through the shock’s body. Shocks help maintain tire contact with the roadway, offering smoother handling and better control. They are typically used in conjunction with a vehicle’s existing suspension components, such as the springs, to create a balanced feel between comfort and performance.

What are Coilovers?

Coilovers, short for “coil-spring-over shock absorber,” are a complete suspension system that integrates a shock absorber and a coil spring into one unit. They often offer adjustable ride height and are usually used in sports cars or for tuning purposes. Coilovers can be found in both vehicle-specific applications or universal kits. The main advantage of using coilovers is that they provide an all-in-one solution to improve all aspects of a vehicle’s suspension system, from handling to comfort and ride height.

Key Differences between Shocks and Coilovers

1. Level of Adjustment: Coilovers are generally more adjustable than shocks. They often come with the ability to adjust ride height and shock damping rates. This allows for a greater level of customization and fine-tuning, depending on the driver’s specific requirements. On the other hand, shocks typically don’t provide any adjustments, and the ride height remains unchanged.

2. Price: Generally speaking, coilovers are more expensive than shocks. This is because they offer greater adjustability and are usually constructed from higher-quality materials. However, the initial investment can pay off over time as coilovers often outperform shocks in terms of handling, responsiveness, and overall ride quality.

3. Compatibility: Shocks are designed to work with your existing suspension components, such as springs, making installation relatively simple. Coilovers, however, are complete suspension systems and may require more expertise and a longer installation time.

4. Performance: Coilovers usually provide better performance than shocks, thanks to their integrated coil springs and adjustability. They allow for a more aggressive and dynamic suspension setup, making them an ideal option for motorsports enthusiasts and performance-driven drivers.

5. Daily Driving: For everyday driving, shocks may work well for most vehicles as they offer a balance between comfort and performance. Coilovers, with their stiffer springs and aggressive setup, can provide a considerably harsher ride on rough surfaces, making them less suitable for daily driving.

In conclusion, both shocks and coilovers are viable options for upgrading a vehicle’s suspension system. However, before making a decision, one must consider factors such as budget, vehicle usage, and desired performance. Shocks are an affordable and reliable option for those looking to improve ride quality and handling without making drastic changes to their suspension system. On the other hand, coilovers provide greater adjustability and enhanced performance but come with a higher price tag and can lead to a less comfortable daily driving experience.

Step By Step Guide

In this section, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide to help you decide whether to choose shocks or coilovers for your vehicle and to better understand the installation process for both options.

Step 1: Assess Your Needs

Determine the primary purpose of your vehicle – daily driving, racing, or off-roading – and consider the specific performance improvements you’d like to achieve. Be realistic about your budget, as this will have a significant impact on your suspension upgrade choices.

Step 2: Research Your Vehicle’s Compatibility

Before making any decisions, research which suspension upgrade options are compatible with your vehicle. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines and consult with an automotive professional if necessary.

Step 3: Weigh the Pros and Cons

Consider the advantages and drawbacks of shocks and coilovers, taking into account factors like adjustability, cost, compatibility, and performance, as previously discussed in the article.

Step 4: Consult a Professional

Discuss your suspension upgrade needs with an experienced automotive technician who can provide input and guidance based on your specific vehicle and expectations.

Step 5: Purchase and Installation

Once you’ve decided whether shocks or coilovers are the better choice for your vehicle and performance requirements, purchase the desired components and arrange for installation. Keep in mind that choosing a reputable shop with experienced technicians can make a significant difference in the outcome of your suspension upgrades.

Pros and Cons

Shock Absorbers

– More affordable than coilovers
– Easier and faster installation
– Balanced combination of comfort and performance
– Well-suited for daily driving

– Limited adjustability
– Performance improvements may not be as significant as with coilovers
– May wear out faster than coilovers


– Highly adjustable, allowing for tailored suspension setup
– Enhanced handling and responsiveness
– Longer-lasting than shock absorbers
– Ideal for motorsports enthusiasts and performance-driven drivers

– More expensive than shocks
– Longer and more complex installation process
– May be less comfortable for everyday driving due to their aggressive setup


Can I upgrade from shocks to coilovers easily?

The conversion from shocks to coilovers can be more complex and costly than upgrading to better-quality shocks. It is essential to consider compatibility and budget constraints before making the switch.

Can I install shocks or coilovers myself?

While some experienced DIYers can successfully install shocks or coilovers, it’s generally recommended to have a professional handle the installation for optimal results.

Will upgrading my suspension void my vehicle’s warranty?

Installing aftermarket shocks or coilovers may impact certain aspects of your vehicle’s warranty. It’s crucial to consult with your vehicle manufacturer or dealership for details regarding your specific warranty terms.


Making the decision between upgrading to shock absorbers or coilovers depends on various factors, including budget, vehicle type, and intended usage. While shock absorbers are suitable for daily drivers looking for a balance of comfort and improved handling, coilovers cater to performance-focused drivers seeking more adjustability and aggressive suspension setups. Remember to consult with an automotive professional and conduct thorough research to make the most informed decision possible for your vehicle’s suspension upgrade.

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