In general, the gas charged shocks are better. When you push against a regular shock, it stays; when you push against a gas charged shock it pushes back to the original position before it stays. That is why we use gas charged shocks on heavier vehicles and race cars. On race cars we usually use nitrogen charged gas shocks that are, of course, more expensive. With these particular gas charged shocks, we can change the pressure, thus changing the characteristics of the handling of the car.
Prices vary greatly with the sophistication of the product. Some cars have only shocks for which the cost can be as low as $40. Some vehicles have struts all around and those assemblies can go for $300 each. Then there are magnetic and air controlled packages that go for as much as a $1000 or more apiece. In Buddy’s case, the replacement cost for his shocks all round was about $3000 with parts and labor. It is important to consider that he had already gone through two sets of tires that cost him $1500 a set, so the maintenance cost would have saved him money in the long run. So he is already into $4500 in new tires and continuing to replace regularly. Ironically, changing the shocks would not only have made his ride safer for him and his family, he would have saved a lot of money with the recommended maintenance of his shocks.
The bottom line is that this is a safety issue. You can’t ignore the fact that at any time you might find yourself having to swerve out of the way of an obstruction on the road and that becomes dangerous when your shocks or struts are worn. Again, since these are both items that wear out slowly, we seldom notice that they are bad. That is why the American Safety Administration has set a 60,000 mile limit on what can be depended upon for the expected safety standard of these items. You simply will not know when your shocks or struts are wearing down to a point where it is becoming dangerous to the complete safe control of your vehicle.
Note: Ironically, when you change the shocks, the new ones are strong in character, so that when you are driving on a new smooth highway, the worn out shocks may have given you a smoother ride. The strength of the new shocks are a little bumpier, at first, while providing much better control of the vehicle and safety for you and your family.
Within a few minutes after leaving the shop with his new shocks and struts, Buddy called me and said, “Kerry, I don’t believe how much easier it is to handle. I should have listened to you and changed these out many miles ago.”