Z71 Suspension vs Regular: Which is Better?

If you’re looking to buy, or already have, a Chevrolet or CMC truck, you might have heard of a z71 upgrade feature.

If you’re wondering just what this is and whether you should spend your money on one, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this post, we’ll compare regular suspension to z71 suspension, to see which is the best option for you. Let’s take a look, shall we?

What does z71 suspension do?

The Z71 package will swap out a variety of standard suspension parts. With a Z71 package installed, the following features will be upgraded:

Shock absorbers: the Z71 package will swap out a truck’s ordinary shocks for new Rancho shock absorbers. These will be able to soak up a lot more punishment than standard ones, helping you to tackle all kinds of off-road scenarios.

Specially Tuned Springs: The Z71 package comes with heavy-duty springs. These springs are tuned for offroad use, and will allow your car to absorb heavier shocks, and distribute the vehicle’s weight across the tyres more evenly.

Mono-Tube shocks. The Z71 package includes mono-tube shocks, which will further dampen the impact from the road. They’ll also help to improve the overall durability of your suspension.

As you can see, the z71 package will seriously upgrade your suspension for off-road use. Not only will it give your suspension better overall durability, but it’ll also allow you to soak up bigger bumps whilst driving at speed, making your truck even better at off-road racing.

Advantages of z71 suspension

Here are the main reasons why you would want to buy a z71 suspension kit:

Off-road capability. The main reason you’d want to buy a z71 suspension kit is for the off-road ability it will give your truck.

Compared to regular suspension, a z71 kit can dampen bigger shocks, traverse steeper terrain and absorb more damage. It’s therefore an excellent choice for anyone who’s looking to seriously upgrade their off-road game.·       

Cheaper than modification. Many off-roaders who want to make their truck even more capable will opt for modification over a trim package like the z71.

But doing this can actually become much more expensive, and potentially risky. So, if you’re looking for a cheaper way to upgrade your truck, then the z71 package could be a great option.

Disadvantages of z71 suspension

Z71 suspension is by no means perfect. Here are its biggest flaws:

·Ride comfort. Unless you’re going to be off-roading frequently, the z71 package might hinder you more than it helps you.

This is because, for everyday use, the z71 suspension package is very uncomfortable. Whilst it excels at higher speeds, it will absorb hardly anything at a regular pace. This can make your vehicle unusable for normal use.·       

Price compared to regular suspension. Compared to a regular trim, the z71 package is very expensive.

So, unless you’re going to be pushing your truck to the absolute limits, it can be hard to justify spending so much money on new suspension. Because of the price, the z71 package is out of the question for many people.

Z71 Suspension vs Regular by part


The Z71 suspension includes an automatic locking rear differential which solves the problem presented by the open differential used in the regular suspension.

The automatic locking rear differential uses a mechanism that locks the rotation of one wheel corresponding to the other.

No matter how little or how much traction the wheels have, there will be sync in the rotation of wheels.

The automatic locking differential improves the distribution of drive shaft power. All Z71 have the automatic locking rear differentials as standard.

While the regular suspension uses an open differential, once the 4H mode is manually engaged and the centre differential is closed in the open differentials, the power goes to 2 driveshafts evenly in both front and rear differentials.

In this manual differential, you need to close the front or rear differential by a switch to close it. 

Other than the locking differentials, some vehicles also use limited-slip differential (LSD), limiting the dependability of right and left axles.

Pre-load spring-based and clutch-pack based are the two most common LSD technologies. These technologies allow the wheels to work normally on high traction and tarmac surfaces without the need of engaging or disengaging like the locking differentials.


Z71 Suspension vs Regular: Which is Better?

Monotube shocks used in Z71 perform better than regular twin-tube shocks. The monotubes offer an easier install from different angles, a better response, and the monotubes don’t foam.

The chance of aeration is less in monotube shocks. The monotubes have more damping ability which results in better ride quality.

The Z71 also provides suspension with twin-tube shocks, but the monotube shocks are really worth it.

The monotube shocks have only one back draw than the regular twin-tube shocks, which are a little expensive. But the performance of monotube shocks outperforms the cost back draw.

On the other hand, monotubes are very durable; the cast in the long term is less than a twin-tube because it requires very little maintenance.

The quality offered by Rancho is very good, which also outperforms the regular twin-tube shocks offered by other brands.


Z71 uses specially tuned springs to support the vehicle’s weight and tire contact. These springs are almost similar in size to other suspensions, but they are made for off-road activities, providing a stiff lifted ride in bumpy areas.

In practical spring performance in Z71 and regular suspensions seem similar; just the springs are not specially tuned, so they might not be as strong as Z71. The stiffness in Z71 comes from the other parts of the suspension.

Wheels and Tires

The Z71 package offers 18 inches aluminium wheels which are bigger than the regular trucks. It also offers on and off-road Blackwall tires which helps the suspension to perform better in overland activities.

These wheels and tires help the suspension to go over the bumpy areas smoothly, while in the on-road and street, you might feel discomfort because of the stiffness they provide.

These tires and wheels are more expensive than the regular suspension wheels tires.

The firm and stiff stability of the vehicle in overland activities comes from the group work of differential, shocks, springs, wheels and tires provided in the Z71 package. 

Z71 vs Regular Suspension Performance

Z71 Suspension vs Regular: Which is Better?

The Z71 package is built for off-road, so the suspensions in Z71 work much better than regular off-road activities.

The shock absorbers are much stiffer in Z71, and the wheels are 16 and 18 inches with fatter tires which helps them to over big bumps and overland terrains very easily. It might not be a good idea to buy a Z71 if you use your truck in the streets.

The regular suspension trucks are more of the street trucks. Suppose you are doing more miles than a regular might be a good idea for a comfortable ride. The Z71 is too firm and stiff, which is not comfortable on smooth roads and streets.

Which one is better from Z71 and regular suspension? It has been discussed for years. Mostly the people have two narratives that are based on the same off-road and on-road activities.

If you see the forums on the internet, Z71 is more of an off-road system that also has many upgrades day by day, while the regular office persons of street riders prefer the regular suspension systems for more comfort. GM mostly uses the Z71 system in their chevy trucks.

Z71 Vs Regular Suspension Cost

General Motors offers the Z71 for the range of SUVs and trucks from its Chevrolet division, including Silverado, Suburban, Avalanche, Colorado, and Tahoe.

If you want to buy the mentioned vehicle with the Z71 system, you need to pay an average of $1535 additionally. The price is for the whole Z71 package.

If you want to add Z71 to your regular truck, you will require to install badges, skid plates, shocks and a G80 locking rear differential. All the mentioned parts will cost between $1000-$1200 and the mechanic charges.

Which suspension should I get?

The kind of suspension that you choose to add to your truck depends completely on your goals and preferences.

If you plan to go off-road frequently and want to get the most out of your truck, then z71 suspension might just be perfect for you.

It’ll offer much better off-road capability than regular suspension, and you’ll be able to go much further with the upgrade installed.

You’ll also be able to trust your car more, thanks to the heavy-duty components like the shocks and springs that the Z71 kit provides.

But, if you want to use your truck for everyday driving, or you’re on a budget, regular suspension will be a better choice. It offers better comfort for normal use, and costs considerably less than z71 suspension.

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