Are OEM GM Shock Absorbers Better Than Aftermarket?

When it's time to replace your shock absorbers, you face two options:

  1. Get OEM replacement shocks
  2. Get aftermarket replacement shocks

Which option offers the most value? The answer is easy. OEM shocks offer so much more value than aftermarket shocks do. In fact, aftermarket shocks are almost always a bad investment. This comparison guide explains why OEM shocks are better than aftermarket shocks.

The Main Reason People Buy Aftermarket Shocks

You may be asking, “If OEM shocks are better than aftermarket ones, why are aftermarket shocks so popular?”

That’s a great question. The aftermarket industry is booming, after all. Aftermarket shocks are popular, but it doesn’t mean that they’re a wise purchase. A lot of GM car owners settle on aftermarket shocks for one reason: cost.

Aftermarket shocks are usually cheaper than OEM shocks. That’s not always the case, though. GM dealerships impose a big markup on OEM shocks, so a lot of people consider OEM shocks to be too expensive. What people don’t realize, though, is that you can get OEM shocks online for much cheaper.

Finding OEM Shocks At Wholesale Pricing

AC delco oem shocks

We’re authorized sellers of genuine OEM GM parts. We have an extensive catalog of OEM shocks and struts for all GM models at wholesale pricing. You’ll save hundreds of dollars if you shop with us. For example, this MagneRide shock absorber for 2015-2018 Sierra/Silverado trucks usually costs $670. But you can get it from us for only $390.

If you find OEM and aftermarket shocks at the exact same price, choose OEM. It’s because OEM shocks deliver so much more value than aftermarket shocks. Here’s why:

1. OEM Shocks Are Exact Replicas Of The Original Shocks On Your Vehicle

With OEM, you know exactly what you're getting: an exact replica of the original shocks on your car. That means there will be:

  • Perfect fitment
  • Reliable performance
  • Inner workings designed for your vehicle's weight
  • Assurance of quality

With aftermarket shocks, there's no guarantee of any of the above. Many aftermarket shocks are universal. That means you'll likely run into fitment and performance issues. Even if you find aftermarket shocks marketed for your model, they may still have issues. It's because aftermarket shocks are never designed to OE specs as closely as OEM shocks are.

2. OEM Shocks Have The Right Dimensions

It's important that your shocks have exactly the right dimensions. For example, if either the upper or lower mounting loop is too wide, the shock won't slide into place. If the shock piston rod is shorter than OEM, suspension downtravel will be limited, and your ride will be harsh. OEM shocks are always the perfect size. Aftermarket shocks? Not so much. If you get aftermarket shocks that aren't exactly the right size, you'll have no choice but to return them.

3. OEM Shocks Provide The Right Performance

Replace shocks

Image Credit: TraverseForum

Do you want optimal handling and ride quality? Get shocks that accommodate your vehicle's weight. If you get shocks designed for a heavier vehicle:

  • The ride quality will be much stiffer
  • You won't be able to handle your car as well

If you get shocks designed for a lighter vehicle:

  • The ride quality will be much softer
  • The shocks won't be as efficient, meaning you'll experience all the problems that come with bad shocks

GM designed shocks with the right performance characteristics for your vehicle. Many aftermarket shocks are universal. Chances are they won't be able to support your vehicle the way they should. Some aftermarket shock manufacturers will claim that their shocks can support a certain weight range. But there's no way of knowing if their claims are true unless you test the shocks on your car.

4. OEM Shocks Are Built With Quality Materials

Many aftermarket shocks fail early. It's because many aftermarket manufacturers use cheap materials to build their shocks. If you inspect any aftermarket shock absorber, you may notice that the housing is cheap and poorly constructed. There's no way of knowing the quality of the materials inside unless you take apart the housing. So even if the housing is high quality, chances are the manufacturer cut corners on the parts inside.

The bottom line: you don't quite know what you're getting with aftermarket shocks. The only way to know if aftermarket shocks are well worth your investment is to use them. There's a good chance your aftermarket shocks will fail early, so is it really worth the risk?

OEM shocks are built to last. They're tried and true, considering how your car came with OEM shocks. So if you buy OEM shocks, you'll know that they'll last a long time because they don't contain cheap materials.

Do you have any questions about OEM and aftermarket GM shocks? Please send us an email!