The shocks on your Ford F150 helps with your truck’s suspension to allow for a smooth ride. Shocks absorb the force of the bumps on the road. When you are driving, and you feel like there is too much banging around, then your shocks could need replacing – which can be an expensive process.
If you want to know how long your shocks should last, and how you can prolong the life, then read on for some hints and tips I’ve developed.
How do you help your Ford F150 shocks last longer?
Firstly, having your shocks checked every 50,000 to 100,000 miles will help preserve your shocks.
Pickup truck shocks decay quicker than most people realize. There are some essential tips to help your F150 shocks last longer than usual.
1. Think about your driving terrain
When you drive rough with your F150 and switch terrains daily or weekly, these factors can diminish the life of your shocks. Going over pot-holes daily will place a lot of stress on your truck, especially if your shocks are already starting to wear down.
If your F150 feels unstable when you drive on a highway or it leans to the side when you turn a corner, it could also mean the shocks are failing. Driving on different terrains that alternate between rough and smooth will put a huge burden on your shocks.
2. Think about how you use your F150
Does your F150 do a lot of towing, whether small or heavy loads or do you use it for running small errands daily. It could be that you do a lot of off-roading. How you use your F150 will determine how often you need to replace the shocks and whether you need off-road ones.
If you only use your F150 to carry small loads here and there but mostly use it to get to work, then there is no need to buy off-road shocks. When using your truck for mostly off-road terrains, you should not be putting adjustable shocks on your truck. These are used for towing or hauling heavy loads.
Take a look at what you do every day and think about which shocks are best for your truck.
3. Choosing the best shocks for your Ford F150
When you go to replace your shocks are you buying the best possible shocks for your F150 usage? Are you an everyday commuter truck driver, a heavy loaded truck driver, or an off-road truck driver? T
he shocks that you choose must compliment your exact use of your truck. Getting the wrong shocks can ruin them a lot faster if you are not using them for what they were meant for.
A monotube gas shock will be best for everyday driving that will help with commuting and errands:
- Monroe Reflex: There are different shocks under the Monroe Reflex series and these help with handling daily roads. If you rarely tow heavy loads these shocks will work as well.
- KYB Gas-a-Just: This shock absorber has a higher gas pressure and helps with keeping your tires on the road to create as little bounce as possible.
- KYB 348058 Excel – G Gas Shock: Will restore the original factory characteristics, not enhance them – view on Amazon.
Look for adjustable shocks that will help with towing and hauling heavy loads while being stable:
- Bilstein 5100 Shock Absorber: If you have larger tires and your truck is lifted then these shocks will help with handling your truck better and accessing more control – view on Amazon.
- Bilstein 4600: If your truck is not lifted then the 4600 shocks is a good choice for you and your truck.
- Rancho RS9000XL: Has 9 positions that can be manually adjusted and can handle towing and being off-road – view on Amazon.
These are more stable shocks that can handle anything off-road:
- KYB Monomax: Gives you more stability and a better steering control so that you can tackle that off-road terrain. KYB Monomax is the one you should consider if you use your truck daily, to tow and haul large loads, and use off-road.
- Gabriel G57053 Ultra Ready Mount: It comes already pre-assembled to save you time during installation. It has G-Force technology that helps your truck respond quicker and steadier – view on Amazon.
- Fox Shocks: A much more expensive shock series that can handle on and off-road driving. It increases rear-end stability and has a gas-charged monotube design.
How long do shocks last on F150?
Even though we expect Ford F150 shocks to last for four to five years, it is not hard to believe that some shocks are capable of not needing replacement until ten years down the road.
With all the space that is in between purchasing new ones and replacing older ones, you should check your shocks regularly.
4. Check your F150 shocks regularly
Regular check-ups on your shocks will help you learn when they need to be replaced and what to look out for when driving.
- Too much banging around: Dampening is what happens when your shocks are doing what they are supposed to do and keeps everyone from bouncing around in the truck. If the shocks are worn out, they cannot do their job of creating a smooth ride for their passengers.
- Bushings/Mounts: Are cushions that are made from rubber that are put on the trucks suspension and steering joints to take the brunt of the road’s bumps. If the bushings are broken or torn, then that is a problem.
- Oil leaks: If there is an oil that is leaking from your shock it has to be replaced immediately. Your shocks have to function with a certain amount of oil in them.
When you regularly check your F150 shocks, you are able to tell when something happens to them and you can start to tell when the mileage starts to become a factor in your shock’s life expectancy. They will last a lot longer this way!
5. Truck mileage is a factor too
Have your F150 shocks checked every 50,000 to 100,000 miles. If you are taking short trips, then your shocks should be fine but going on extensive road trips through rough and bumpy roads can have your shocks needing replacement quicker than you have realized.
The worse off your shocks are the longer it will take you to brake. Your shock absorbers account for up to 20% of your stopping distance. Damaged or worn shock absorbers hinder braking. This is particularly dangerous at a high speed.
The more driving you do, the more chances you have of traveling over railroad tracks and potholes at full speed. Your F150 may be tough, but your shocks require care to make them last longer. Your shocks will give you a small, almost undetectable warning sign, so make sure you are attentive.
6. How you know when your F150 shocks are bad
Here are a few things that will happen when your shocks tell you they are ready to be replaced or at least noticed – your F150 will start to tell you!
- When braking, your F150 will start to dip more on the front end and if it dips too far it could scratch your front bumper depending on how hard you brake.
- As you turn a corner, your truck could start to tip or lean aggressively on one side.
- Your truck does not feel as stable as it did before. The higher your speed gets the shakier your truck becomes and does unnecessary jerking movements.
- When you are driving you notice that your steering wheel does not feel loose and it reacts slowly.
- If you check your shocks regularly and you live in an area that can get cold and stay cold and will receive snow, know that your shocks can become corroded.
7. Shocks vs Struts
Struts are an integral part of the entirety of the suspension system. They are placed in the front of every front-wheel-drive vehicle and that helps to support the weight of the vehicle. Since the strut is an important part of the suspension system, it has to be stronger than the shock. A strut includes:
- Coil spring
- Shock absorbers
- Strut bearing
- Steering knuckle
Many vehicles do not have struts, and some can use different springs and shock absorbers to cut down the costs. Out of this entire system, shocks are the ones that are looked at the most when you go to service your struts.
Shocks control how you feel the bumps in the road and how your truck will react to them. Shock absorbers are made up of a:
- Hydraulic Fluid
They are put in place so that your tires always connect with the road. When you are traveling across cracks and potholes, you may notice that your F150 will do a very slight dive. The shock will start a compression cycle and then the piston will step in to put pressure on the hydraulic fluid.
The coil will need something to ease it back to its starting point and the hydraulic fluid helps with that. This is what happens when your shocks are new or in good shape and can prevent those who are riding in your truck to feel all the cracks in the rode.
Old shocks can also damage your tires if you do not get them fixed on time and will cause you to but new ones.
8. You might need to change your tires
Tire wear will be caused by your damaged shocks. Noticing that your tires vibrate after going over a bump will let you know that it is your shocks.
Your F150’s worn-out shocks create a trickle effect on the bushings that serve as connections between the shocks and the tires. Once the cushions are worn, it can cause your tire to wear.
How the weight is distributed in the truck will allow for uneven wearing of the tires. This means that when you change your shocks, you should probably investigate buying a new set of tires. This is particularly true if you have let the shocks go bad.
All of this can sound costly, and you may find yourself skimping out and buying the more economically sound shocks, but sometimes performance is mandatory.
9. Always choose high quality shocks
Buying quality gear will help your F150 shocks last longer. With invaluable shocks that cost a pretty penny, you will not need to replace those shocks for a long while. Investing in higher quality shocks will come in handy when you have an unexpected towing job to do or a long road trip to accomplish.
Purchasing low-priced shocks just so you can quickly start to drive your truck again will hurt your pockets later when they need replacing once more. If you plan to sell your truck and just need it for a short while, then budget-friendly shocks are for you.
The better-quality shocks will mostly come with a limited lifetime warranty so that you can put your mind at ease should anything happen to them. After you have chosen which shocks you want to replace your older ones, it is time to learn how to replace them.
How to replace F150 shocks
Replacing your shocks can either be done professionally, by yourself or with the help of another person. Here are a few items you will need to get through this task:
- New shock absorbers
- Tire iron or torque wrench
- Blocks or jack stands
- Floor jack or bottle jack
- 18 mm wrench
- 15 mm wrench
- Penetrating Oil
For your front shocks:
- Make the lug nuts looser while the truck is still on all of its wheels. Use your floor jack or bottle jack to raise the front end and lower it onto either blocks or a jack stand. Take off the lug nuts first and then the wheels.
- Take the three nuts that are set up near your older shock’s end that meets the frame of your truck, not the nut in the middle. You can use your penetrating oil when you remove the lock nuts to make it easier, you can now take out the tie-rod from the spindle.
- You can now take out the shock’s lower bolt and remove the sway bar bushing nuts. This helps the lower control arm to move more freely and you can now take out your shock.
- Go ahead and insert your new shock and screw at least one nut to hold it in place if you do not have a partner. After you have put the shock back into the correct position, you can now screw in the other two nuts.
- Use the floor jack to help the lower control arm get into place and install the lower shock bolt.
- Attach the upper control arm to the spindle and screw the nuts back into the lower sway bar bushing.
- Now you can remove your floor jack and reattach the outer tie rod to the knuckle
- Add your tire back and ever so slightly screw the nuts in so that they have a little give. Use your floor jack to raise the truck again to remove your jack stands and then you can lower the truck altogether and tighten up your nuts.
This process can be repeated for your rear tires:
- Loosen the lug nuts and use your jack to put your jack stands in place and remove the lug nuts and then the wheel.
- The rear shocks are only held by two bolts instead of four that are at the top and the bottom, so you must remove both bolts.
- There should be no tie-rods to take out and you can now easily take out the old shock and put in your replacement.
- After you have installed the top of the shock with both the nut and bolt with a little wiggle room, you can do the same for the bottom.
- Now you can tighten both the top and bottom nuts.
- Put your wheel back on and tighten up your lug nuts.
After you have completed the installation of your new shocks be sure to test them out to look for any weird noise or sensations that may not feel familiar. If that happens it could mean that the shocks were not put in place correctly or they are simply too loose.
Everyone enjoys a smooth ride and your truck is no different. Your F150’s shocks should protect you from feeling the cracks and bumps in the road, not bounce you around even more.
When your shocks have been worn down it can be hard to control your car as safely as you would want to so make sure you take the time to make them last longer.