How Long Do Offroad Shocks Last? Here’s What You Should Know

When you go off-roading you are in for one rocky ride. Good shocks are essential when it comes to off-roading. Without a good pair of shocks, you will have one major headache. It is important to keep your shocks in working order so you don’t end up banging your head against the roof of the car the entire ride. Offroad shocks do take more of a beating than regular shocks. Shocks do need to be replaced after a certain amount of time so they can stay effective and in good working order. 

How long do off-road shocks last? Off-road shocks should be replaced every 10,000 miles if used 100% for offroading purposes. If you drive primarily on paved roads then they should be replaced every 30,000-50,000 miles.  Off-roading shocks wear out quickly because of the large impact forces they absorb when driving trails. High-end shocks will last longer. 

No one likes a bumpy ride. Bumping up and down, side to side, the entire ride can take away all the fun from off-roading. No one is going to want to go off-roading with you if they end up with a headache and upset stomach every time they ride with you. Having shocks that work well aren’t only going to allow you to better enjoy off-roading, but it is also going to help the rest of your vehicle last longer. Shocks take the beating so the rest of your vehicle doesn’t have to. 

How Long Offroad Shocks Usually Last

How long off-road shocks last is going to vary for different vehicles. There are a lot of off-roaders that are hard on their shocks and of course, they are going to have to replace their shocks more than someone who doesn’t off-road on such intense trails. Motortrend suggests that the mileage at which you should replace shocks is 10,000 miles if used primarily for hard offroading.

Replacing shocks every 10,000 miles is only realistic for high-end rock crawlers and trophy trucks. For recreational off-roading vehicles like side-by-sides and other UTVs, you will probably want to replace the shocks between 10,000 and 20,000 miles. And for vehicles like a Wrangler or Bronco that just go offroading occasionally then you should replace the shocks between 30,000 and 50,000 miles. 

That is one of the great things about shocks is you can easily know when it is time to replace your shocks because you are going to be able to feel them. If you can feel your shocks topping out or there just isn’t any spring left in them then you should consider replacing them. 

For context, it is suggested that a street vehicle replaces its shocks every 100,000 miles. You go through shocks much more quickly when you are off-road. Shocks can be expensive and a pain to replace but it is so important that you have good shocks. Without good shocks, many other components of your vehicle are going to begin to break. If the force of impact isn’t being taken by the shocks then that force is going to be transferred into other parts of the car causing breakages. 

How To Prolong The Life Of Your Offroad Shocks

Prolonging the life of your shocks is going to help you avoid replacing them super often and could push your shocks from lasting only 10,000 miles to lasting 20,000 miles. This will not only save you a lot of money but a lot of time because you won’t have to worry about taking your vehicle to the shop all the time. The first thing that you can do to help prolong the life of your offroad shocks is to perform regular maintenance and inspections. 

It is suggested that you inspect your entire suspension system after each time you off-road. This is going to include the shocks, struts, bearings, and joints. When you perform these inspections, you are going to want to look for anything that is cracked or loose. If you find anything that is broken or cracked you are going to want to perform repairs because leaving it unrepaired can lead to more damage. 

Another way to prolong the life of your shocks is to not overload your vehicle. When your vehicle is weighed down it compresses the shocks. The more weight that you have loaded in your vehicle, the more your shocks are going to be compressed. When the shocks are already compressed this removes room that the shocks have to work with when going over bumps. This means that your shocks are going to be more likely to bottom out because they aren’t going to have as much room as they usually do. 

Another thing that you can do to help prolong the life of your shocks is to drive carefully. When going over bumps and through ruts it is much easier on your shocks when you do it through them at slow speeds. Zooming through trails at high speeds is super tough on your shocks and puts a lot more stress on them. This is part of the reason the off-road racing trucks have to replace their shocks every 1,000 to 5,000 miles. Moving slowly through uneven terrain is safer and easier on your shocks.

How To Tell If Your Offroad Shocks Are Bad

There are some definite signs to look for when your shocks go bad. For one, riding in your vehicle is going to be much less smooth. If you are noticing that your vehicle is bumpy or is leaning excessively to one side then this could be a good indicator that your shocks are going bad. When accelerating or braking you are going to also notice a difference. With bad shocks, braking is going to cause the front end of the car to dip forward more than usual. When accelerating the rear is going to dip down more than usual. 

Another telltale sign of bad shocks is fluid leaking from the shocks. This is an imperative thing to check for when you inspect your suspension after you off-road. Your shocks are going to stop working like they should if they don’t have the right amount of fluid in the shocks. The fluid inside the shocks is what absorbs the impacts, so once you lose it your shocks are going to be useless. If you find a leak you are going to want to replace your shocks as soon as possible. 

Tires can also be an indicator of the state of a suspension system. When a suspension system is worn out, the tires are going to try to compensate and usually take more of a beating. Tires will begin to show unusual wear because the suspension system is going to be putting uneven weight and pressure on certain tires. This can be a good reason to replace shocks quickly. Why pay for tires and shocks when you could have just replaced the shocks earlier? 

Can I Wait Until My Shocks Are Bad To Change Them Or Should I Routinely Change Them?

Choosing to wait to replace your shocks until they are bad or routinely changing them is going to depend on what activities you are doing with your vehicle. If you off-road as a hobby and don’t compete in any type of competition, then you are going to be fine to wait until your shocks are bad enough to replace them. Shocks will continue to perform just fine even past a certain mileage if they are well maintained. They often go bad slowly, so you shouldn’t have a shock that suddenly gives out. 

If you are doing any sort of off-roading competition whether that is racing or rock crawling then you are going to want to routinely replace your shocks. When in competitions, you are going to want every part of your vehicle working at peak performance, including your shocks. Having good shocks plays a pivotal role in the success of your vehicle. It is going to save other parts of your vehicle from breaking and possibly taking you out of the competition. 

Another reason you would want to routinely replace shocks is that you have a very nice vehicle that you want to take care of. As I have stated many times, having good shocks is going to protect other parts of your vehicle. Even though replacing your shocks routinely is going to be more expensive up front, it could potentially save you on extra costs for replacing other broken parts if you drove with bad shocks. It is also going to give you a much more comfortable and smooth ride. 

Related Question

Do I need longer shocks for a 2 inch lift? You do not have to get new shocks for a two inch lift. The distance of shock retraction may be affected slightly, but shock extension should not be. The majority of off-road lifts use spacers, and spacer lifts do not change how far your stock shock can extend. But since the spring is now under more load, it can decrease the inward distance the shock can move towards the top of your wheel well. Click here to view the full article.

Amanda Cannon

Amanda has an ever growing knowledge of cars with her education beginning when she was a little girl. She was frequently seen working on cars with her dad and today can be seen working on a 1966 Bronco, 1968 Firebird, and modifying her 2022 Bronco.

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