Which shock absorbers are better, oil or gas?
Car device

Which shock absorbers are better, oil or gas?

At some point, each driver must change the shock absorbers, and then invariably asks the question: "What shock absorbers will replace the old, gas or oil?"

This question is really quite complicated, since in the domestic market there are many brands of shock absorbers and various types of brand frets, and each type has its own characteristics, pros and cons.

If you are currently faced with a similar dilemma and give us some time, we will try to introduce you to the two main types of shock absorbers, without missing any of their pros or cons.

Which shock absorbers are better, oil or gas?

Which shock absorbers are better - oil or gas?

We will not explain what shock absorbers are and why they are needed, since we are sure that you know perfectly well that these are suspension elements, thanks to which the car remains stable on the road, and we drive conveniently and comfortably.

That is why I will immediately turn to the main types of shock absorbers and their positive and negative sides.

And so ... Currently, several types of shock absorbers are available on the market, but two of them are widely used and therefore the most popular among car manufacturers and consumers.

Oil hydraulic shock absorbers

This type of shock absorber consists of a working cylinder (tube), a compression chamber and a piston rod that directs the working fluid (hydraulic oil). The vibration damping effect is achieved due to the oil, which, moving from one part of the shock absorber to another, absorbs the resistance of the springs, thereby damping its vibrations and taking away kinetic energy.

Oil shock absorbers are only twin-tube, their working fluid is only hydraulic oil and can only work in one direction (only when compressed).

One of the disadvantages of this type of shock absorber is the presence of an air mixture in the compression chamber. In other words, when the chamber has a low or zero air level, the effectiveness of the shock absorbers is zero or very minimal. Otherwise (if the air level is too high), the shock absorber will also fail, as it simply compresses and loosens without resistance (in simple terms, it will fall).

Another negative feature of oil shock absorbers is poor heat dissipation. What does it mean? The simplest explanation is that when driving on bad roads, the oil in the shock absorbers begins to boil, and a cavitation effect occurs (bubbles begin to form in the oil and it begins to boil). Bubbles form inside, which pass through the piston valve very quickly, which significantly impairs the performance and efficiency of the shock absorbers.

When cavitation occurs, the viscosity of the hydraulic oil also changes, which further reduces the effectiveness of the shock absorbers.

Despite these shortcomings, hydraulic shock absorbers also have positive characteristics that are worth noting.

A huge advantage of this type of shock absorbers is their affordable price and the huge selection of brands and models that you can easily find in any specialized store.

In addition, oil shock absorbers remain “soft” and comfortable and provide a very comfortable ride, and if you drive quietly, without heavy loads and high speeds, or if you drive more often on city streets and short distances, oil shock absorbers will be very useful.

We examined the main pros and cons of hydraulic shock absorbers, but let's summarize the main points "for" and "against" this type of shock absorbers.


  • oil shock absorbers are widespread and can be easily found and purchased in accordance with the make and model of the car;
  • simple construction;
  • their price is more than affordable;
  • they are durable (they can travel up to 60000 km before replacement);
  • guarantee a comfortable, soft and comfortable trip;
  • They are suitable for urban driving or short distances.


  • work only in one direction;
  • when driving on rough terrain or poor quality roads, the oil begins to boil and loses its properties;
  • not suitable for driving long distances or at high speeds.
Which shock absorbers are better, oil or gas?

Gas shock absorbers

Unlike oil shock absorbers, the gas chamber is not filled with air, but with gaseous nitrogen, which is pumped under high pressure (up to 28 atmospheres). It is a misconception that gas shock absorbers work only with gas, because each gas shock absorber has both oil and gas.

Two working substances are located in one chamber, but are separated from each other by a special membrane. Nitrogen gas is used to compress the oil, preventing it from foaming and bubble formation. Since nitrogen is pumped under high pressure, this causes the piston to always be in a compressed state, so when overcoming bumps on the road, the stability of the shock absorber changes nonlinearly, which ensures good and stable handling of the car.

In addition, gas shock absorbers are better cooled and, unlike oil shock absorbers, can be installed in different directions (horizontally, vertically or at an angle), without affecting their effective operation. This type of shock absorber is suitable for sports car models or if you like to drive at high speeds.

Pros and Cons of Gas Shock Absorbers


  • excellent road holding;
  • the suspension works not only for compression, but also for decompression;
  • cavitation is unlikely in them, since gas cools the oil and prevents it from foaming;
  • They are well suited for racing cars where high speed and overloading the car are common.


  • have a more complex design;
  • their price is much higher than the price of hydraulic shock absorbers;
  • there are few car models in which oil can be replaced with gas shock absorbers;
  • they are more rigid than hydraulic ones, which affects both driving comfort and other suspension elements that wear out faster and require more frequent replacement.

Which shock absorbers are better - oil or gas?

After everything we told you about the two types of shock absorbers, we assume that you still feel insecure about your choice ... and rightly so. The truth is that there is only one correct answer to this question, both types carry their own spat, as well as their disadvantages.

The choice of shock absorbers for your car depends only on you, your driving skills, the conditions in which you most often ride, and on whether you prefer a softer or stiffer suspension.

There are no good or bad shock absorbers, there are only shock absorbers that can be useful for your driving style.

If you have a sports car model or you like a tougher ride, if you often press the accelerator pedal or drive on bad roads, then you might consider buying gas shock absorbers, knowing that this type can provide you with better grip and more stability in long journey.

However, if you drive a regular car and your driving is measured, oil shock absorbers are a great (and cheap) solution for your car.

The choice of shock absorbers is really a private matter, and you should only do this according to your preference. We do not recommend trusting friends, relatives or acquaintances, as everyone has a different understanding of comfort and driving.

How to understand that it is time to change shock absorbers?

Regardless of whether the shock absorbers are oil or gas, there always comes a time when they must be replaced. If the recommended mileage is not covered, but the shock absorbers do not seem to be very effective, you can do some tests to see if they should be replaced or not.

You can determine the condition of shock absorbers in several ways:

  • by visual inspection;
  • by applying pressing force to the vehicle;
  • analyzing their condition during a test trip;
  • diagnostics in the service center.

To visually check the condition of the shock absorbers, you must carefully inspect each of the four shock absorbers. Carefully inspect for oil leaks or corrosion. If you find something like this, then it's time to think about replacing the shock absorbers.

Which shock absorbers are better, oil or gas?

In the next inspection method, you have to press the car with your hands several times to shake it. After clicking, you should observe its behavior. If the shaking stops quickly, then everything is in order, but if the car continues to oscillate, the shock absorbers need to be replaced.

The third method requires you to monitor the behavior of the car while driving. If you notice that the car is swinging strongly from side to side, if after passing bumps it will take time for the car to stop bouncing, if the car does not respond to the steering properly or you hear a rattle clatter when driving on rough roads ... it's time to change the shock absorbers.

If the shock absorbers are hydraulic (oil), you can also check them by checking their temperature. This check is based on the fact that the oil shock absorbers do not cool very well and generate a lot of heat during operation.

To perform this test, immediately after a walk around the neighborhood, you need to measure the temperature of all four shock absorbers and compare it. If one of them is warmer than the others, then it's time to change a pair (or four) of shock absorbers.

These three methods are good, but they cannot give you a complete and accurate picture of the condition of the shock absorbers. Therefore, we recommend that you make sure that the suspension and chassis of the car are serviced in the workshop to be completely confident in the effectiveness of the shock absorbers.

Mounting on a stand is not an expensive service and can give you not only accurate results about the condition of shock absorbers, but also during the test you can check the tire pressure, condition of the parking brake, other suspension elements, etc.

At the end of the question: "Which shock absorbers are better - oil or gas", let's say again that both types have their pros and cons, and there is no choice of better or worse. The right choice depends only on you, your requirements and expectations regarding the effectiveness of the shock absorbers that you install on your car.

Bottom Line: Which Shock Absorbers Are Better

There is no definite answer here, since initially you need to understand the purpose of shock absorbers, where and in what conditions they will be used, therefore, we will give an estimate, and according to it, everyone will choose what suits his tasks:

Oil shock absorbers - a comfortable suspension on any road. Rolls are present.

Gas-oil shock absorbers - the best or even the best option for an ordinary motorist who most of the time moves around the city and sometimes gets out of town to country roads.

Gas shock absorbers - very stiff suspension, good handling, no roll.

Questions and answers:

What are Gas Oil Shock Absorbers? In fact, these are gas shock absorbers; only for the safety of parts, lubrication is used. In some modifications, the sleeve is filled partly with gas, and through the membrane partly with oil (usually in a separate tank).

What shock absorbers are better for installing oil or gas-oil? Gas shock absorbers are hard, oil - soft. Gas-oil - the golden mean between them. You need to choose a modification based on the operating conditions of the car.

Which company is better to buy shock absorbers? Koni, Bilstein, Boge, Sachs, Kayaba (KYB), Tokico, Monroe are great options for road cars. Profit, Optimal, Meyle - packing companies that do not specialize in shock absorbers.

4 comment

  • gas shock absorbers

    what type of shock absorbers would you recommend for a vintage car?

  • Love

    Can I change the Kia 2014 diesel deficiency shock absorbers by oil shock absorbers?

  • Justin is sweet

    Hello, what is the purpose of the oscillation damper (shock absorber)
    A. Hydraulic type
    B. Gas type

  • Achim Hotz

    I almost ordered the gas shock absorbers for my VW Fox. Thanks! was a super helpful I could have

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