Your Nissan Xterra is one of the most underrated SUVs, super powerful and durable for years without causing you too much trouble. However, no vehicle is insured from basic maintenance, and replacing the shocks at the right time is a relatively trouble-free and inexpensive ordeal.
Driving with malfunctioning shocks can be dangerous, and also gives you a lackluster driving experience. With gears slipping and no cushioning from bumps in the road, you’re unnecessarily torturing yourself! Replacing your old original shocks with high-quality shocks with the latest technology can completely transform your driving experience — it’ll be tough to believe you’re driving the same truck!
Top 4 Best Shocks for Nissan Xterra
Here are the top 4 shocks in the market for the Nissan Xterra. We’ve done extensive research to bring the best-performing durable shocks that are compatible with your Xterra. Be sure to check out the FAQs section at the bottom of this article for some extra information on which shocks to finally purchase for your vehicle!
These shocks greatly improve ride handling and the stability of the truck while you change gears and give you a factory-like smooth ride feeling.
Bilstein makes some of the best shocks, with their parts imported from Germany, state of the art technology and prices that don’t burn a hole in your pocket.
These shocks are especially compatible with your Nissan Xterra and will greatly improve the comfort of your ride without compromising on performance. These shocks measure 46mm and are the standard OE size requirement, meaning they’ll fit with the Nissan Xterra perfectly.
These shocks are best suited for those who use their Nissan Xterra for daily driving most of the time, and just want an amplified ride that’s versatile and smoother than their original ride!
- Manufacturer: Bilstein
- Model: 4600 Series
- Weight: 4.54 lbs
- Dimensions: 46mm
- Exterior: Smooth
- Improved handling
- Stable ride
- Reduced nose dive and body roll
- Long-lasting and durable
- Can be on the firmer side for some
- Design can be unappealing
The Rancho shock absorber is a more heavy-duty shock that is adjustable and has been performing well for decades. Having these adjustable shocks essentially means that you are equipped to deal with any kind of terrain. It’s a solid choice for just about any truck or jeep, not just the Nissan Xterra.
The biggest benefit of these shocks is that they have nine levels of adjustability for damping control and the firmness of the ride. This shock absorber works especially well with trucks that do a lot of off-track driving since it has the capability to soften that ride but also keep enough firmness. Having these adjustable shocks essentially means that you are equipped to deal with any kind of terrain.
The nitrogen gas pressurized cylinder reduces the oil aeration, while the tri-tube body can handle extreme temperature changes. The graphite-filled fluon-banded piston reduces the harshness of a bumpy trail while also increasing the road responsiveness.
- Manufacturer: Rancho
- Model: RS9000XL Adjustable
- Weight: 8 pounds
- Adjustable shocks, varying control levels
- High oil volume
- Easy installation
- Not affordable for everyone
- Adjustment settings can be tough to read
This rear shock is also very top-performing. This is one of the best-selling rear shocks in the truck and jeep market because it has incredible off-road capabilities while still being good enough for daily driving needs.
Like the previous Bilstein shock we mentioned as our top pick, this rear shock is also very top-performing. Except the 5100 series has slightly different features.
If we compare this 5100 series with the 4600, you’ll notice that this one is much more firm because these are high-pressure gas shocks. Instead of focusing on cushioning your ride (though they do that as well, to an extent) they deliver supreme handling for lifted vehicles as well as better response for larger wheels and tires.
If you’re going to be taking your Nissan Xterra off the road, for your safari or just about any kind of adventure you’ve got planned — make sure you take the Bilstein 5100 with you.
- Manufacturer: Bilstein
- Model: 24-187169 5100 series
- Dimensions: 7.111 H x 67.818 L x 7.874 W
- Weight: 4.7 pounds
- Stiffer ride for better handling
- Levelling-kit ability
- Off-road capability
- Heavy tow-haul capable
- Relatively affordable
- Firmer than other shocks
The KYB 344353 Excel-G Gas Shocks are recommended by many technicians since they are a very popular replacement choice for original equipment standards. These shocks work great for the Nissan Xterra, and provide some durable cushioning that your truck sorely needs.
They work especially well for the Nissan Xterra owner who mostly has daily driver needs, since these are specifically designed to hold up well for long mileage on more-or-less smooth roads and give you the performance that you need through the course of its life span. However, if you’re planning to use these shocks for a lot of hauling or towing or off-track driving, you should keep in mind that they are on the affordable side and may not have those capabilities for the long run.
The Teflon coated piston band provides a seal that increases the life of these shocks, and triple chrome-plated pistol rod along with a multi-oil lip seal will ensure that these shocks stand the test of time. You won’t have to worry about rust and dust grit with this one!
But for someone who is not looking to spend big bucks on replacing the shocks for their Nissan Xterra and just needs a quick replacement in the Original Equipment standard, the KYB shocks are a hassle-free and reliable choice!
- Manufacturer: KYB
- Model: 344353
- Weight: 4 pounds
- Factory replacement shocks
- Very affordable
- Very soft riding shock
- Not the longest lifespan
FAQs – Frequently asked questions about Shocks for the Nissan Xterra
What type of shocks give the smoothest ride?
Shocks providing the smoothest ride are usually high-quality, gas-charged, or twin-tube shocks designed for comfort. Brands like KYB and Monroe offer premium shock absorbers that balance performance and ride comfort.
Which is better: KYB or Monroe shocks?
Comparing KYB and Monroe shocks depends on individual preferences, driving conditions, and desired ride quality. KYB shocks are known for their durability and firmer ride on multiple terrain, while Monroe offers a softer, more comfortable ride. Both brands provide reliable products.
How much does it cost to replace shocks on a Nissan Xterra?
The typical expense for a Nissan Xterra suspension shock or strut replacement falls between $280 and $410. Estimated labor charges range from $85 to $115, while the cost of parts lies between $190 and $300.
What shocks are better than Bilstein shocks?
Whether a shock is “better” than Bilstein depends on your specific requirements and preferences. Consider your driving needs, budget, and vehicle type when choosing the right shock absorbers.
How long do Nissan Xterra shocks last?
The original Nissan Xterra shocks should last you around 3-5 years. This a rough number based on your mileage, assuming it takes you that many years to reach 50,000-70,000 miles. However, many people report that their original Nissan Xterra shocks give way much before this number. We’re betting that you are one of them since you’re reading this article on replacement shocks for your Nissan Xterra.
The good news is, however, that the shocks on this list are not just compatible with the Nissan Xterra but are also far more high-quality than the original shocks are and will definitely last you a long time, with the potential to last over 100,000 miles. Investing in good quality parts pays off!
How do you change shocks on a Nissan Xterra?
First of, we’re glad that you’ve decided the change the shocks on your own. They’re remarkably simple to do by yourself. You should be done with the entire thing within an hour, even if you’re replacing all four shocks.
Getting a technician to do the simple job for you can cost nearly twice the price and also will take time to schedule a visit. Follow these easy steps to change the shocks on your own!
1) Jack your Xterra up so that it is securely lifted off the ground. You may need to use more than one because your vehicle is a big guy! Refer to your owner’s manual to find the right jack position.
2) You might have to additionally add ramps to help secure your Xterra. Now, locate the lug nuts and loosen them. This should be relatively simple to perform. Make sure you’re loosening the lug nuts on both sides of the front and back end.
3) Remove the wheels. Make sure that you have all the necessary tools to remove your tires.
4) Now, locate the shocks. They will be fixed to a vertical bolt that has to be taken out from the engine.
5) Now comes the tricky part. You’ll have to carefully inspect the old shocks. Chances are, they’re not working like they should because of rust and general wear and tear. It might be difficult to take them out because of the rust that’s clinging onto the rest of the vehicle. They’ll also have quite a bit of road grit attached to them. You might be lucky and the mountings are loose enough for you to simply take them off, but chances are that you might have to scrub them clean with some WD-40 or PB Blaster just so that they marinate in it for a bit and loosen up on their own. If you haven’t already, please make sure that you’re wearing gloves and safety goggles.
6) Now you have to remove the bolts from the shock tower. The Nissan Xterra has the top bolt under the fabric in the trunk, so you’ll most likely have to lift up that lining so you can remove them with a ratchet and socket. Keep greasing the bolts with penetrating fluid and moving them counterclockwise.
7) Using a socket set, disengage the shock from the suspension. Sometimes you might feel like there isn’t enough room to apply the splitter, so simply use more penetrating fluid.
8) Remove the shock absorber from the top and bottom bolts. You might have to do quite a bit of wiggling and penetrating fluid application as these will also be coated in rust. Caution: don’t get frustrated with the process and bang on the bolt as you can possibly damage it and make it impossible to reinstall the new shock!
9) Fit the new shock onto the suspension control arm. Screw back all the nuts tight so there’s no wobbling around.
10) Repeat for all of the other shocks you’re replacing!
Should I replace front and rear shocks at the same time?
Shocks aren’t crazy expensive, but they’re not exactly cheap either. The general advice you’ll hear is that you should only change a pair of shocks if they need to be changed while leaving the perfectly functioning ones intact. For example, if your front shocks aren’t working as well, you only need to change those. But if only your left front shock is giving you trouble, you’ll still have to change the front pair.
It’s also important to remember that you stick to the same model and brand of shocks for both the front and the rear. This is why people usually just buy four new shocks because they want to upgrade to higher quality shocks instead of simply buying another pair of the original shocks that came installed with their Xterra.
Furthermore, if you’re trying to put your vehicle first and invest in it in order for it to last a long time — you’ll greatly benefit from changing all four shocks. Changing all four shocks means that you’ve reset the lifespan of the shocks on all four, and they’ll now last together and come into problems together. It makes life easier than replacing the front shocks now and then having to replace just the rear shocks next year, and always having newer and older shocks working together.
How do I know my shocks are failing?
This is an extremely important question, as it completely decides whether you should change your shocks or try to drive with them for a bit longer.
Here are some tell-tale signs that your shocks are not functioning as they’re meant to and it’s time to get some new ones:
1) Bouncy bumper
This is one of the tell-tale signs that your shocks are not working. The bumper will usually bounce around and you’ll notice it, but if you want to be double sure, you can perform this quick test. Push down on each of the corners of your Nissan Xterra. If the vehicle continues to bounce even after you let go, your shocks need replacing. Good shocks will stop the bouncing almost immediately.
2) Unpleasant or rocky ride
You’ll usually notice when the ride is getting too unpleasant. Roads you’ve driven along earlier that seemed smooth suddenly feel like gravel, and your body will be noticeably sore and exhausted even after a quick drive. This usually means that your ride is not very smooth and your shocks have rusted or stopped working. Replacing the shocks will restore the buttery-smooth ride you so loved at one point.
3) Oil leakages
Another sign of malfunctioning shocks is oil leakages in your vehicle.
You don’t even know what your Nissan Xterra is capable of once you get the right shocks! It will completely take you by surprise, and you’ll enjoy the ‘band new ride’. While there’s nothing exactly wrong with the original shocks, getting the latest technology and anti-corrosion properties in your replacement shocks is a win-win situation!
While you could blindly choose any of the shocks on our list (since they’re all top-performing) the best shocks will serve you according to how you use your Nissan Xterra the most, for daily driving, off-road driving, or hauling and towing. We hope that you were able to make your choice for shocks from our list of the Top 4 shocks in the market for the Nissan Xterra.