Comparing a brand against another brand isn’t an exact science. In this detailed guide, I will give you an overview of most shock absorbers sold by KYB and Bilstein and compare them.
However, remember that both KYB and Bilstein produce hundreds of different shocks. Each of these is designed for a different vehicle – make, model, specification, etc.
To get the best outcome, compare KYB and Bilstein shocks that are suitable for your car. You can find all the details on any reliable parts website.
With that said, let’s get into it.
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What Are Shock Absorbers, And When Do You Need New Ones?
Shock absorbers – often shortened to ‘shocks’ – have the technical name of ‘dampers’.
They’re a type of piston pushing against a fluid (some kind of oil). Even ‘gas’ shocks contain a hydraulic system – the gas is used for pressurization.
The exact mechanism varies depending on the kind of shock absorber.
The job of shocks is to prevent coil spring suspension oscillations. Without them, your car would bounce along after hitting every little pebble on the road. This is dangerous and leads to a loss of traction, as well as an uncomfortable ride.
You need new shock absorbers as soon as one breaks for this reason. Over time or with significant impacts, they develop leaks. This prevents the hydraulic system from working.
You might also want to upgrade your shocks for a more comfortable or performance-orientated ride.
Bilstein vs. KYB
Both Bilstein and KYB shocks are top-of-the-range. They’ll both almost certainly have OEM parts ready for your vehicle.
Aftermarket versions are also available in abundance from both manufacturers.
Both KYB’s and Bilstein’s websites are easy to use, informative, and helpful. (They’re also very effective sales tools.)
Your nearby mechanic will almost inevitably have access to both KYB and Bilstein shocks. That isn’t something you need to fret about.
There’s a good general rule when it comes to comparing KYB vs. Bilstein.
- KYB shocks are less expensive but less likely to last as long.
- Bilstein shocks come at a premium, but many would argue they’re higher quality.
Does that make Bilstein shock absorbers better than KYB ones? As a general statement, yes, but they aren’t necessarily the best ones for you.
KYB Shocks Review
KYB shock absorbers are a fantastic choice for the average road-going motorist.
They’re sturdy, reliable, and reasonably inexpensive. In fact, you probably get the best value for money from KYB shocks.
You can notice they’re skillfully designed. The experience of your vehicle’s journey will seem fresh. In certain situations (if you choose an ‘improvement’), it may even feel superior.
Expect dampers from KYB to last as long as (if not longer) than any other shock absorber. Owners report an average lifespan of around eight years – above average.
KYB shock absorbers also come with a limited lifetime warranty. These are always a little tricky for the consumer to navigate.
While the warranty is good, it only covers the standard things – manufacturer defects. It doesn’t cover regular wear and tear. This makes it difficult to argue where damage originates from.
In the end, unless the shock breaks soon after purchase, you’ll most likely pay for a new one in full.
Bilstein Shocks Review
Bilstein shock absorbers, on the other hand, are a top-notch brand. And with valid justification.
The off-road range from Bilstein is (arguably) the best on the market. It has products designed explicitly for venturing off the beaten path, including the B8 8125 series.
Just like KYB, you won’t have any trouble getting hold of some Bilstein dampers. However, they’ll require a slightly deeper pocket. They are, in almost every case, more expensive. You should expect them to last a long time, though, so they’re still a good investment.
Bilstein shocks are built to last. Most owners report them lasting at least 100,000 miles – many times, far longer. They might even outlast your car if you spend all your time driving on the roads.
The Bilstein warranty is also a great feature, setting it apart from all the competition (including KYB). The limited lifetime warranty covers everything apart from neglect before reaching the expected lifespan.
Note that the limited lifetime warranty isn’t available on off-roading shocks.
Should I Get KYB Or Bilstein Shocks?
If you’re forced to pick between KYB and Bilstein, think along the following lines:
- KYB shocks are best for on-road journeys. They’ll do everything you need and more. For the vast majority of drivers, KYB does the job perfectly and at a lower cost.
- If you take your 4×4 or truck off-roading on a regular basis, consider Bilstein shocks. The premium you’ll pay for them is more than justified. You can expect them to last longer and perform better under harsher conditions.
In the end, you should get the best shock absorbers for your vehicle, whatever they may be. Ask a trusted mechanic for advice – they might recommend another brand entirely.