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How Do RC Piggyback Shocks Work?

RC miniature models of cars, planes, trucks, and even drones are designed in such a way that they can be controlled by a special type of transmitter controlling device and remote over a distance. First manufactured in the year 1966 by an Italian company, the business of RC car and truck models has only seen a positive response from the customers which has widened its consumer value and sales in almost all countries around the world.

Not just used as a hobby, these RC car and truck models are also a form of a great adventure. Racing games and competitions are a major hit in many countries as it allows the racing and automobile enthusiasts to indulge themselves in a thrilling, adrenaline-pumping competition without the expense of doing it with real cares. 

RC racing is not only for fun as an extreme sport but also often offers cash prizes and gifts as an enticement for people to join the races. 

When using RC cars specifically over rough terrain or in races the shocks that you have on the RC car are vital to its performance. These shocks are designed to allow you to land roughly and not damage the car in any way. 

Piggyback shocks are designed to make your ride much smoother and work by having larger amounts of oil in them which will keep the oil from heating up as fast which will keep it from thinning out while racing. 

Many people feel that piggyback shocks on RC cars do virtually nothing however since they don’t have the pressurized nitrogen like real piggyback shocks do. Since they don’t have this pressurized component it virtually defeats the purpose of the shocks and many people feel like they are more for show than function when used on an rc car. 

What are RC piggyback shocks and how do they function?

RC shocks are also commonly called dampers and these shocks play an important role in the handling of the vehicle. The main purpose of these shocks is to dampen the movement of the spring and help to control the damping of the vehicle on different types of surfaces or when landing after a jump. 

They even help RC cars handle corners much better as well. 

It is important that piggyback shock absorbers are oiled generously because if they are too stiff they can be the cause of harshness during your ride and you may suffer a bumpy ride which in turn will cost you time if you are racing and might even cost you the race entirely. 

You do have to be careful because if the shock absorbers are too soft they can become mushy and decrease the responsiveness of your ride too. A shock absorber is made up of different parts and it is important that every part works together perfectly so that the vehicle can achieve perfect shock absorption.

Various parts of a shock absorber:

  1. Shaft: It runs along the entire body length of a shock absorber and has a piston attached to it. There are mainly 3 different types of shafts that vary in a shock absorber.
  • The standard shock shaft: the functioning of these shafts is good but it is not hard-coated or provided with any type of covering which is the reason it can deteriorate at a very fast pace.
  • Unobtanium shock shaft: These are structurally similar to the standard shock shaft but the difference is it has a coating present which provides it with much smoother shock absorption. Due to this property, it is highly suitable for RC vehicles used in racing.
  • MIPs gold nitride shafts: These are similar to the basic unit but have gold nitride as their material for coating which provides it with better and effective shock absorption.
  • Other: You can find other shafts available on the market with the same basic utilities but different material used for coating. Each vehicle works best with a specific type of shaft, so it is highly recommended that you choose a shaft that fits with your vehicle and provides smooth functioning.
  1. Shock body: Made up of two materials that is either plastic or aluminium, the main function of the body is to hold oil along with supporting the shaft and the piston. The aluminium units are much more preferable especially for racing as it provides smoother functioning and easy tuning. The plastic units are light but the major disadvantage is that these units wear out very easily due to the friction that is created by the up and down movement of the piston and shaft.
  1. Pistons in the shock absorber: Another very essential part of a shock absorber is the piston. It is usually a round disc-like structure which has multiple holes in it and is directly attached to the shaft. The oil which is supplied to the shock absorber passes through these holes of the pistol and the number of holes and their size decide the rate at which the oil passes through them. The oil passes through these holes during the time of compression and rebound, and the more oil that flows the more responsiveness of the shock damping. Small size holes or few numbers of them can cause sluggish shock action and poor performance of the vehicle.
  1. Oil: It is an important factor while deciding the damping of your vehicle. It is always recommended to use lightweight oil as it can increase the responsiveness of the shock damping. Heavyweight oil can cause sluggish shock response and affect the function of your vehicle.
  1. Shock springs: The main function of the springs in a shock absorber is to maintain a steadiness of the car while cornering, de-accelerating, or accelerating. These springs are available with different spring rates and commonly stiffer springs make your car respond quicker but are not favorable for bumpy rides. It is effective on smooth tracks whereas on the other hand, softer springs are much more preferable for bumpy tracks.

Functions and advantages of a piggyback shock

The main purpose of using a piggyback shock absorber is to increase the performance of your vehicle and increase the responsiveness of your car or truck in regards to the damping. Some of the advantages are listed below:

  • Piggyback shock absorbers are provided with greater oil volume which increases the effectiveness of the function that is compression and rebound. Due to this more heat energy can be adsorbed and it stays thicker for a longer time period.
  • It splits the load of a single shock between two compression circuits which can increase the performance and causes less harm which is caused due to the rigorous compression.
  • It has a much greater IFP volume as compared to the non-piggyback shock absorber which results in much more linear strokes, which increases the effectiveness of shock damping and provides better performance.

While a piggyback shock offers certain advantages over a non-piggyback shock, you should only invest in them when they are certain that you actually need it and that it will increase performance because piggyback shock absorbers are a bit costly to buy as compared to other shock absorbers. 


Choosing the right shocks for your RC car can be a difficult process and the fact that there are all sorts of types as well as brands on the market makes it even more difficult.

Unless you are racing your RC car you will likely be fine with the standard shocks until they break and then at that point you can replace them with upgraded ones if you choose to do so.