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How Your Silverado’s Suspension Works For You

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Shop Silverado Suspension

Your Silverado's suspension is what carries you from one job site to the next as well as home after an off-roading day. From lift kits to beefier shocks and leaf springs, modifying your truck's suspension can benefit your weekend hobbies and your 9-to-5.

Silverado Suspension >>

At face value, auto enthusiasts will judge a truck by the engine it has under the hood. In terms of performance and drivability, a Silverado’s engine will soak up all of the credit. In reality, the suspension is really what brings the truck to life. The configuration of the suspension is responsible for getting all of that power to the ground.

Silverado Factory Suspension Components

The first things you need to know about your Silverado’s suspension are the basic parts. With a general understanding of the parts upgrading the suspension will make more sense. Unless you’re making radical changes to the suspension, such as swapping a solid front axle under the front of your Silverado, the basic parts will still be used. All that will change is you’ll be swapping in aftermarket parts with different dimensions.

Silverado Shocks/Struts

Shocks and struts work to keep the tires in contact with the ground while dampening the forces of the springs while driving. Both shocks and struts work to achieve the same goal, but there are some differences in the design. A shock absorber is a fluid filled hydraulic tube that works to dampen forces of coil springs which support the weight of the vehicle. A strut fuses a coil spring and a shock into one unit so it dampens forces while supporting the truck's weight. On your Silverado, struts can be found on the front of the truck while shocks are on the rear. 

Silverado Springs

The springs present on Silverados will vary. On early models, leaf springs are found underneath while on late models coil springs are present. In either case, the springs intended purpose is to support the vehicles sprung weight as it drives down the road. 

Silverado Control Arms

Control arms are found up front on a Silverado. A control arm connects the vehicle’s wheels and suspension to the frame. Control arms also manage the up and down movement of the wheel as the truck drives down the highway. 

When to Alter a Silverado’s Suspension

The Silverado is a great all around truck and is known for its versatility. However, the factory suspension is designed to manage the abuses and obstacles of every day driving more than it's intended to handle any sort of performance driving. With a comfort based function is mind during design, it’s safe to say you can get more speed, crawling, and handling capabilities by modifying your Silverado’s suspension before anything else. 

Off-Roading Suspension Considerations

The traditional method of upgrading a Silverado’s suspension is for off-roading purposes. Attaining ground clearance will require bigger tires, and to fit bigger tires the suspension will need to be lifted. Changing shocks, control arms and springs will likely be addressed depending on the desired lift height.

Racing Suspension Considerations

When it comes to racing, the lower center of gravity you can achieve the better. When it comes to lowering your Silverado, almost all parts of the suspension will be affected as they would be with a lift kit. You will also be looking to stiffen the suspension as much as possible to ensure you maintain traction at higher speeds.

Work/Hauling Suspension Considerations

Silverados are known as work trucks and for hauling equipment. However, the factory suspension can be upgraded with tow rated shocks and spring modifications to help manage the additional weight of tools in the bed and a trailer attached to the rear.

Silverado: Lifting vs Lowering

In most performance-based builds, you’ll be adjusting the ride height of your Silverado. When you begin messing with ride height, springs, shocks, and control arms are all subjected to change. When you change the ride height of any vehicle, you risk suspension binding and other issues. Changing out the appropriate parts helps ensure your truck can maintain stability and traction without harming other components.

As a lift kit would indicate, the suspension needs to rise, and you’ll need longer parts to work with an installed lift. This isn’t always the case with smaller lift kits and leveling kits that use spacers. Once a lift of four inches or greater is achieved, the factory parts will begin to fall short of the demands. To maintain and increase travel, longer control arms, leaf springs, and shock absorbers will be needed to correct camber and keep the vehicle stable.

A lower suspension can usually be attained with lowering leaf springs in the rear and drop spindles in the front. For the most part, the factory control arms can be used while shocks and springs will need to be changed. For maximum performance results, though, aftermarket control arms are highly desirable for this configuration. They can account for the changes in camber due to the lowered ride height.

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