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Wrangling Rebound and Dampening: Challenger Shocks & Struts

Wrangling Rebound and Dampening: Challenger Shocks & Struts

You have a third-generation Dodge Challenger (2008-present). You’ve been reading up on how to make it faster by throwing mods at the engine and beefing up the meat on the ground. These are both major players when it comes to making a car go faster but what about the shocks? Shock absorbers are solely responsible for keeping the tires in contact with the ground at all times and keeping the car stable which naturally means they are major contributors to the way the car launches and steers. Upgrading them doesn’t just improve the way the car feels as you motor along it will also increase overall performance.

Shop Challenger Shocks & Struts

Drag racers and corner carvers alike need the proper shocks and struts to handle the pressure. Factory equipment is only meant for the divets and speed bumps of daily driving. Tougher and stiffer components will ensure you launch better and reduce body roll. For those of you with SRT Challengers, there's an electronic kit you can use to adjust the parameters in your ECU.

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What are Shocks and Struts?

So before you get started, you need to know what a shock absorber is. A shock absorber is a hydraulic device that lives in the chassis of the Challenger, or any vehicle for that matter. Their sole job is to push the wheels downward in order to keep the tires in contact with the asphalt at all times. 

This means as the chassis moves and flexes, the shocks are constantly working in order to keep the wheels down. Struts are also found in Challengers but operate a bit differently than a shock absorber in the sense that they have an additional task, which is supporting the weight of the vehicle. Struts are found on the front of the car because of this characteristic.

What is Rebound and Dampening?

Rebound and dampening are terms that are thrown around quite a bit when discussing the function of a shock. Rebound is a term used to describe a shocks ability to return to its original state. Dampening is the act of actively reducing the level of vibrations through the vehicle’s chassis. Both functions are crucial to the performance of the shock itself.

What About the Challenger?

By knowing what your car has and what you’re after, you may or may not want to throw a set of aftermarket shocks on the Challenger. From the factory, Challengers come equipped with street rated, gas charged shock absorbers. These are great for daily use in these cars because they are soft enough for comfort, but are hard enough to help the tires bite. They aren’t adjustable though and leave speed enthusiasts wanting more as they aren’t all-out performers.

Gas vs. Hydraulic

Earlier we told you that shocks absorbers use fluid pressure to operate and just now we said Challengers have gas charged shocks. Hydraulic shocks are designed to simply allow hydraulic fluid to flow through the piston on its own. 

Gas charged shocks work on the same principle but use gas pressure from nitrogen gas to increase the pressure within. Because of this, gas charged shocks are generally much stiffer. Considering the Challenger has gas charged shocks from the factory, you really should stick with this type of shock when replacing or upgrading the shocks. 

Upgrade Options

So, considering the Challenger comes with gas charged shocks from the factory we have a pretty good baseline to start with. Blindly purchasing aftermarket shocks won’t help you though considering it’s a good way to wind up with something you really don’t want. So what are your options?

Fixed Shocks: The use of the term “fixed” shocks is meant to describe non-adjustable shocks that are designed to either be stiffer or softer depending on what you purchase. The strong point of this design is that you will have the ride quality you’re looking for without having to tinker with the shocks. Though, for someone looking for total control, these aren’t all that great. 


  • No need to fiddle with the shocks out of the box


  • Non-adjustable designs reduces control

Adjustable Shocks: Adjustable shocks allow one to tinker with the rate at which a shock absorber expands and contracts. Having the ability to tap into these characteristics makes it easy for one to achieve total control over how the car handles regardless of the occasion. These are great for those who enjoy tinkering but for daily use, they can be a hassle. For this, mechanical adjustment is traditional but KW has introduced electronic dampening control systems which makes it that much easier to tune your suspension. 


  • Precise control over the suspension


  • Require adjustments for each occasion

Coil Overs: Coil overs are the upgrade tons of people are looking to make to their Challengers. This is because they provide precision control over the suspension and allow users to adjust the ride height of their car. The cons are that these are not comfort options at all as they are designed for performance and are also costly. They will also require the attention any adjustable shock system would.


  • Precise control over the suspension
  • Adjustable ride height


  • Costly
  • Non-comfort oriented
  • Requires adjustment for each occasion
Fitment includes: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, SRT-8, RT, SE, SXT, RallyeRedline, ScatPack, Hellcat, GT, TA, Demon