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AIR SHOCKS

Air shocks increase the useful payload of your truck or hauling rig.

INSTALL LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

Moderate

What are Air Shocks?

Installing a pair of air shocks on your vehicle allows you to increase its ride height, helping to bring the vehicle level when hauling a heavy load. When air shocks are installed with heavier springs on a truck chassis, they help to increase the useful load of the vehicle.


Shocks and springs are often the only difference between a half-ton truck or van and a three-quarter ton truck or van.

How do Air Shocks Work?

Air shocks work just like normal shocks. They are designed to withstand compression and damping forces. When you hit a bump in the road, your suspension compresses. The suspension then rebounds back to normal. Damping refers to how the suspension handles these compression and rebound forces after you hit a bump in the road. Heavy loads may cause compression and rebound forces to overwhelm your factory suspension. To haul heavy loads safely, you may need to install a pair of air shocks, as well as heavier springs on your rear suspension system.


Air shocks include metal fittings, a plastic air hose, and a Schrader valve to allow you to fill them with air after installation. An air shock pump or even a simple bicycle pump may be used to fill your air shocks. Air lines must be purged of moisture periodically as part of a regular maintenance routine.

How are Air Shocks Made?

Like normal shocks, air shocks have a metal, tube-shaped housing with a steel damping rod mounted inside of it. When compression forces move the damping rod, a type of fluid exchange happens in the tube-shaped housing. That fluid can be air, shock oil, or some combination of both, depending on the design of the shock.

Why do Air Shocks Fail?

  • Damage to internal seals is the most common cause of air shock failure.
  • Air shocks may fail to hold air pressure as external lines and fittings become worn and start to leak.
  • Air shocks, like all shocks and moving parts, eventually fail as their constituent parts wear out; this is normal.
  • Air shocks should last at least 75,000 miles.

What Are the Symptoms of Air Shocks Failure?

  • Air shocks fail to hold air.
  • Bouncy suspension caused by insufficient damping action.
  • Clunking or other noises as the suspension compresses and rebounds.

What Are the Consequences of Air Shocks Failure?

  • Insufficient damping forces create an unstable, unsafe ride for you and your passengers.
  • Heavy loads may bounce in the back of your truck of van as you drive over bumps, potentially damaging the property you’ve been trusted to haul.

Installing a pair of air shocks is a moderately difficult job for the average home mechanic. If your factory shocks or aftermarket air shock absorbers have failed, Pep Boys recommends purchasing and installing a new pair rather than trying to fix the old ones.


If you have questions or concerns about air shocks or any of your vehicle’s components, come into your local Pep Boys where we can answer any question, help you find any part, or perform any vehicle service you might need.