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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I have the 2020 Bolt Premier and I feel like traveling 65mph on the highway and hitting a small (not even too deep) pot hole really "rattles" my Bolt. Suspension feels "flimsy."
What is your opinion about if I spend money to get 4 new shocks .... will I have a noticeably much smoother driving experience?

Related questions:
Are the OEM stock shocks bad, average or the best quality?
Best tires (best for traction) you can recommend for the wet Pacific Northwest?

Thanks!
 

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2023 EUV Premier Bright Blue
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Hi. I have the 2020 Bolt Premier and I feel like traveling 65mph on the highway and hitting a small (not even too deep) pot hole really "rattles" my Bolt. Suspension feels "flimsy."
What is your opinion about if I spend money to get 4 new shocks .... will I have a noticeably much smoother driving experience?

Related questions:
Are the OEM stock shocks bad, average or the best quality?
Best tires (best for traction) you can recommend for the wet Pacific Northwest?

Thanks!
Based on my experience with past cars, getting new shocks really only helps if the old ones are leaking and/or worn out.

One example is many years ago I replaced the front struts on my Cruze Eco. The OE struts were fine and fairly new at the time. I thought buying Bilsteins would really help with ride quality. Not the monotubes, which weren't available for this car anyway, but just the OE replacements. The difference was negligible and a waste of my money, and not fun labor.

It was easier to just learn to live with the ride quality of my Eco with it's factory lowered sports suspension, on crappy Minnesota roads. And likewise with our Bolt.

I would guesstimate the OE shocks are average. I haven't heard of a rash of failures on here.
 

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2017 Bolt LT
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Based on my experience with past cars, getting new shocks really only helps if the old ones are leaking and/or worn out.

One example is many years ago I replaced the front struts on my Cruze Eco. The OE struts were fine and fairly new at the time. I thought buying Bilsteins would really help with ride quality. Not the monotubes, which weren't available for this car anyway, but just the OE replacements. The difference was negligible and a waste of my money, and not fun labor.

It was easier to just learn to live with the ride quality of my Eco with it's factory lowered sports suspension, on crappy Minnesota roads. And likewise with our Bolt.

I would guesstimate the OE shocks are average. I haven't heard of a rash of failures on here.
3rd-party replacement shocks are usually a little stiffer than stock, so you can tell that something was changed. But only a little. I put Konis on a Capri many years ago, and it turned a sloppy, jiggly ride into one that practically required a kidney belt. Be careful what you ask for. And yes, I don't replace shocks unless the existing ones are damaged or obviously worn out - that used to be a bigger problem than it is now.
 

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2022 EV 2LT Black
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3rd-party replacement shocks are usually a little stiffer than stock, so you can tell that something was changed. But only a little. I put Konis on a Capri many years ago, and it turned a sloppy, jiggly ride into one that practically required a kidney belt. Be careful what you ask for. And yes, I don't replace shocks unless the existing ones are damaged or obviously worn out - that used to be a bigger problem than it is now.
Koni yellows or reds?

The yellows are single adjustable and can make a car go from riding on a washboard to squishy. The serious racers would show up to Solo II Nationals a day before to get in line early for the Koni trailer. They would custom valve your shocks to your car for the cost of parts. My days were always 3 and 4 so I missed them.

I have not looked to see if there is a front option for the Bolt. I think you can buy Koni yellows for the rear.
 

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2017 Bolt LT
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Koni yellows or reds?

The yellows are single adjustable and can make a car go from riding on a washboard to squishy. The serious racers would show up to Solo II Nationals a day before to get in line early for the Koni trailer. They would custom valve your shocks to your car for the cost of parts. My days were always 3 and 4 so I missed them.

I have not looked to see if there is a front option for the Bolt. I think you can buy Koni yellows for the rear.
It was a long, long time ago, but I think reds were the only thing generally available in the central Calif market. Yes, I know, they were theoretically adjustable, but once inside the struts in the front of the Capri they were basically inaccessible.
 

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2022 Bolt EUV Premier
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Simple question with complicated answer. This is the absolute best explanation of suspension components I've ever found, and why I purchased my custom King suspension through Filthy
 

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2019 bolt Lt
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If those rattles Brian bolt describes are actual panel rattles securing them can go a long way to make a more pleasant ride as was my experience with a
nissan 350z ,(what a rattle trap it was )rattles get worse with mileage.It,s not easy though ,isolate the source and. stuff some foam rubber weatherstrip into the gap far enough to disappear.Cheaper than new shocks.
 

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Possibly some day Ohlins will increase the number of automotive applications beyond Audi, Lamborghini and Porsche. Ohlins became famous as being in a class by themselves in motorcycle applications and specifically the Motocross application that takes shock absorbers to a new level. Bikes like Husqvarna always came with the Swedish shock absorber specialist.


If Ohlins ever ever opens up design to more cars, I would not be surprised if they immediately become 鈥渢he鈥 shock absorbers for auto racing circuits. They absolutely did it in every facet of motorcycle racing including the super bike series. Nothing else will provide the level of precision. But they are made of nothing but 鈥榬are metals鈥 by the prices 馃槺
 

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2017 Bolt LT
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Great question. I don't know actually of which I'm asking about. Basically I'm just trying to think up ways to have a smoother, beefier driving expeirence.
Are the springs something that can be upgraded to improve the experience for uneven road surfaces or shallow pot holes?
I think the issue is both, and is related to the econobox heritage of the vehicle. Think of the Trax, or that smallest Buick crossover: similar size to the Bolt (the Buick actually looks like a clone) but ICE, and they weigh about 500 lb. less. So the Bolt has a simple suspension with limited travel, and in order to handle the extra weight of the battery the springs have to be stiff. Then, the shocks seem to be pretty minimal in terms of control (and probably won't last the life of the car as they usually have in the Toyotas I've owned).

As for the tires, yes, a smaller wheel and taller sidewalls (so the rolling radius stays the same) would improve the ride, all other things being equal. It would also, all other things equal, make for sloppier handling. So it's a compromise. If you drive a Bolt "in character" the difference would probably not be noticeable, but keep it in mind. By the same token, if you want to do a track day, or spend 15 minutes (before range anxiety sets in) charging up some canyons, bring another set of wheels with more aggressive tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I think the issue is both, and is related to the econobox heritage of the vehicle. Think of the Trax, or that smallest Buick crossover: similar size to the Bolt (the Buick actually looks like a clone) but ICE, and they weigh about 500 lb. less. So the Bolt has a simple suspension with limited travel, and in order to handle the extra weight of the battery the springs have to be stiff. Then, the shocks seem to be pretty minimal in terms of control (and probably won't last the life of the car as they usually have in the Toyotas I've owned).

As for the tires, yes, a smaller wheel and taller sidewalls (so the rolling radius stays the same) would improve the ride, all other things being equal. It would also, all other things equal, make for sloppier handling. So it's a compromise. If you drive a Bolt "in character" the difference would probably not be noticeable, but keep it in mind. By the same token, if you want to do a track day, or spend 15 minutes (before range anxiety sets in) charging up some canyons, bring another set of wheels with more aggressive tires.
That is GREAT information. I appreciate it. To answer something you said. We just use the Bolt to go 18 miles to work on interstate, and then around town for usual stuff. Grocery store. Visit parents. For what I use it for, in your opinion would it be worth it to buy smaller wheels and taller tires?
 

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That is GREAT information. I appreciate it. To answer something you said. We just use the Bolt to go 18 miles to work on interstate, and then around town for usual stuff. Grocery store. Visit parents. For what I use it for, in your opinion would it be worth it to buy smaller wheels and taller tires?
For the record, I don't mind the ride all that much as long as the roads are reasonably smooth. Previous car was a Mazda Protege5, which had a similar ride but with better control by the shocks; that was a tradeoff for Nintendo handling - though the Bolt seems to have a little less understeer under normal conditions than the Mazda did.

If you want to try a smaller wheel with a taller tire (see blimo's post), you'll have to find a wheel that works. I haven't hunted for that. Other posters have, so they apparently exist. You'll also need a smaller wheel than standard to use snow tires, if you live where those are useful.
 
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