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How to Replace Shocks on Chevrolet Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The shock absorbers on a Chevrolet car control and dampen the up and down travel of the suspension, which helps control ride quality and also with braking and contact with the road. When the shocks wear out, it becomes difficult to control the truck over bumps, and you could potentially get into an accident. To fix the problem, if you notice ride quality starting to dip, then you should replace the shocks on the truck as soon as possible.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace Shocks on a Chevy Truck

Jack up the wheel of the shock to be replaced and set the truck's frame onto the jack stands for support.

Remove the wheel with a tire iron and set it off to the side.

Locate the shock absorber lower mount bolt, at the bottom of the shock behind the brake assembly, and remove the nut holding the shock in place.

Remove the top mount bolts, which will be either two medium-sized hex head screws or a mount post that goes through the fender well. The mount post can be unbolted from the top of the fender well. Set all bushings and nuts aside, as they may have to be reused.

Work the bottom of the shock loose with a crowbar, sliding it along to the open end of the bolt. The top screw plate or mount bolt will pull straight down, and the shock will be freed for removal.

Replace with a new shock, bolting the top mount first. Replace any new bushings or nuts, and reuse what was not provided in the shock packaging. The zip-tie holding the shock in a compressed state should not be cut until the top mount is secure. It can be cut and slid onto the bottom bolt while the shock expands. Secure all nuts firmly.

Replace the wheel, and use the floor jack to let the truck off of the jack stands.

Items you will need

  • Socket set and driver

  • Crowbar

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

 How to Replace the Shocks on an S10

Front Shocks

Lift all four wheels of the truck off the ground with the jack and put the truck on jack stands. Remove all four wheels with the tire iron.

Unbolt the top of the front shock from the frame using the pliers and an open-end wrench. Unbolt the bottom bolts on the shock from the lower control arm using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket, then pull the shock out through the bottom of the arm.

Install the replacement shock up through the lower control arm and loosely tighten the top shock bolt into the frame by hand. Install the bottom of the shock to the lower control arm with the ratchet, then tighten up the upper shock bolt with the pliers and an open-end wrench.

Rear shocks

Unbolt the upper shock bolt from the frame using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket and an open-end wrench.

Unbolt the lower shock mount from the axle with the wrench and ratchet. Pull the shock off of the frame and axle with your hands.

Install the replacement shock on the frame mount with the ratchet. Extend the shock and mount it to the axle with the ratchet and an open-end wrench.

Reinstall the wheels with the tire iron and lower the truck off the jack stands with the jack.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Pliers

  • Replacement front shocks

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Replacement rear shocks

 How to Replace the Shocks in a Silverado

Removal

Raise the truck on its appropriate end with a floor jack and then support it on jack stands, then remove the wheels. Loosening the wheel lug nuts before raising the jack will help.

Raise the floor jack to support the lower control arm on its outer end if you are working on the front shocks.

Remove the upper mounting fasteners for the shock with a wrench. For a front shock, these are accessed from under the hood; don't remove the center nut. On the rear shock, remove the top fastener and skip to Step 4.

Loosen the nut connecting the L-shaped tie rod end to the steering knuckle using your wrench, then connect a separater/puller tool to the balljoint and twist it to separate the tie-rod from the knuckle. This is only for a front shock.

Unscrew and remove the lower fasteners; these connect the shock to the lower control arm on the front.

Lower and remove the shock from the vehicle.

Installation

Install the replacement shock absorber and install the upper mounting nuts. On a front shock, insert the mounting studs up through their holes. Don't tighten the nuts yet.

Connect the shock's lower mounting fasteners with your wrench

Reconnect the tie-rod end to the steering knuckle if you replaced a front shock, tightening a new nut on the ball stud.

Tighten the upper mounting nuts for the front shock.

Reconnect the wheels and lower the truck after replacing both shocks on that end of the truck.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Lug wrench

  • Wrench

  • Puller tool

 How to Replace Shocks on a 2000 Chevy Silverado 1500

Front Shocks

Apply the parking brake after parking the 1500 on a flat hard surface suitable for lifting the front axle.

Loosen the lug nuts on the two front tires a quarter-turn with the tire iron.

Raise the front axle, one side at a time, and place jack stands beneath the control arms. On two-wheel drive models, keep the jack stand away from the coil spring as the front shocks are housed inside.

Remove the loosened lug nuts and then remove the tires.

Remove the upper shock retaining nut using the ratchet and a socket. Remove the dampener and washer.

Remove the lower retaining bolt(s). The four-wheel drive model features a single lower bolt. Hold the head of the bolt with a hand wrench and then remove the nut on the other end of the bolt (a hammer and punch may be required to remove the bolt from its seat). The two-wheel driver model features two lower retaining bolts beneath the control arm. Remove those with the ratchet and socket.

Remove the shock absorber.

Place the lower washer and dampener on the top shaft of the replacement shock (these parts come with the replacement shocks) before installing the shock. Place the upper dampener and washer on the top shaft before replacing the retaining nut.

Replace the lower retaining bolt(s).

Torque the upper retaining nuts to 12-foot pounds and the two lower bolts to 24-foot pounds on the two-wheel drive models. For four-wheel drive models, torque the upper nut and lower nuts to 66-foot pounds. Be sure the lower bolt head is facing the rear of the truck.

Rear Shocks

Place a tire chock in front of one of the front tires.

Loosen the lug nuts on both rear tires one quarter-turn counterclockwise with the tire iron.

Raise the rear axle and support the truck on jack stands placed under the rear frame. Remove the lug nuts and tires.

Remove the upper retaining nut on the shock using the ratchet and socket. Remove the lower retaining nut with the ratchet and socket while holding the lower bolt head with a hand wrench. Use the hammer and punch if necessary to remove the lower bolt from its seat. Remove the shock.

Replace the shock by reversing the removal procedure. Torque the upper and lower retaining nuts to 70-foot pounds.

Items you will need

  • Tire iron

  • Tire chock (for rear shock replacement)

  • Truck jack

  • Jack stands

  • 1/2-inch drive ratchet and socket set

  • Hand wrench set

  • Hammer and punch

  • Replacement shocks

  • Torque wrench

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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