How to Replace the Front Struts on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

You can replace the front struts on a Vehicles yourself and save money on repair costs. You can change each side in about an hour and a half. The replacement process is a little different on the left than it is on the right since different components must come off to get access to the strut tower in the engine compartment. While you can do this by yourself, it is helpful if you have an assistant work with you.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace the Front Struts on a LeSabre

Loosen the lug nuts on the front tires with a tire iron and lift the front end of the LeSabre with a floor jack. Set jack stands under the frame of the car and lower it on top of them. Remove the lug nuts and pull the front tires off the car.

Locate the struts. Each looks like a skinny tube that slides into a slightly larger tube with a spring around it. Use a permanent magic marker to outline how the strut is oriented on the steering knuckle, the part that turns the wheel hub from side to side.

Use an adjustable wrench to unbolt the three nuts at the top of the strut. Remove the anti-lock brake speed sensor from the strut; unbolt the bracket holding it as well. Unbolt the bracket holding the brake line on the strut.

Unbolt the bottom of the strut from the steering knuckle. Use a wire hanger to hold the steering knuckle in one place and keep it from swaying and damaging the ball joint or half shaft.

Mount the replacement struts and attach the top three nuts. Torque them with a torque wrench to 35 foot-pounds. Orient the bottom of the strut to the steering knuckle using the magic marker marks as a guide and torque the nuts to 135 foot-pounds.

Bolt the brake line bracket to the strut as well as the anti-lock brake speed sensor bracket. Attach the ABS speed sensor to the bracket.

Mount the front wheel and torque the lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds. Lower the front end of the car and get it aligned.

Items you will need

  • Tire iron

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Permanent magic marker

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Wire hanger

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Front Struts on a PT Cruiser

Park your car in a safe place on a level surface. Open the hood and loosen the front wheel lugs using a lug wrench on the side you are replacing the strut assembly or both sides if you are replacing both strut assemblies.

Raise the front of the vehicle using a floor jack. Safely support it on jack stands and remove the tire or tires.

Match-mark the strut bracket to steering knuckle assembly using a pencil or other suitable marker to align the new strut during installation.

Remove the ground strap and wheel speed sensor from the strut bracket (if equipped) located behind the wheel assembly, using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Remove the bolts and nuts from the strut to steering knuckle assembly. Use a wrench as a backup tool to hold the bolt in place as you remove the nut using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Remove the three upper strut mounting nuts using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Remove the strut assembly off the steering knuckle. You might need to force the strut off the knuckle using a rubber mallet.

Set the new strut assembly in place and install the upper mounting nuts and torque to 23-foot lbs. (31 Nm). Install the strut to steering knuckle bolts and nuts.

Align the strut bracket to the match-mark on the steering knuckle. Hold the bolt firmly in place with a wrench as you install the nut using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Install the nuts in two steps. First, torque them to 40-foot lbs. using a torque wrench. Then turn the nuts another 90 degrees. If the bolts and nuts are rusted, replace them with new ones.

Install the ground strap and wheel speed sensor on the strut bracket.

Items you will need

  • Lug wrench

  • Floor jack and jack stands

  • Pencil

  • Wrench set

  • Ratchet and socket set

  • Rubber mallet

  • New strut to steering knuckle bolts and nuts if necessary

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Front Struts on a Jeep Commander

Open the engine compartment on the Jeep commander. Prop the lid open using the prop rod. Remove the air intake assembly using a wrench and set it aside out of the way. Disconnect the electrical wiring from the cruise control servo to gain access to the right strut upper nuts. Remove the retaining bolt from the coolant reservoir using a socket and ratchet. Move the reservoir aside out of the way.

Remove the bracket nuts from the power distribution center using a socket and ratchet. Move the power distribution center aside to gain access to the upper nuts on the left strut. Remove the mounting nuts from the upper struts using a socket and ratchet. Raise the Commander on the side that you are starting with using the automobile jack. Place a jack stand under the Jeep near the jacking point and raise it to the frame of the vehicle.

Loosen the lug nuts using a lug wrench and remove the wheel from the Jeep. Remove the bolts from the brake caliper using a socket and ratchet. Secure the caliper using a wire tie so that it is not hanging by the brake hose. Remove the brake disc from the wheel assembly by pulling it off. Remove the cotter pin from the upper ball joint using the pliers. Remove the castellated nut from the upper ball joint using a socket and ratchet.

Separate the upper ball joint from the wheel knuckle using the ball joint tool. Remove the clevis bolt from the lower control arm using a socket and ratchet. Remove the stabilizer bolt from the lower control arm using a socket and ratchet. Remove the strut-to-wheel-knuckle nuts using a socket and ratchet. When removing the strut to wheel knuckle nuts, you may find it easier to hold the bolts with a wrench so that they do not turn when you are removing the nuts with the socket and ratchet.

Place the new strut under the Jeep. Install the lower strut bolts and nuts using a socket and ratchet. Hold the bolt with a wrench while you tighten the nuts to keep them from turning. Install the stabilizer bolt on the lower control arm and torque the bolt to 90-foot pounds with a torque wrench. Install the clevis bracket and torque the bolt to 90-foot pounds. Install the upper ball joint and tighten the castellated nut using a socket and ratchet.

Install a cotter pin to the ball joint and spread it open with the pliers. Install the upper strut mounting nuts and torque them to 70-foot pounds using a socket and ratchet. Install the brake rotor on the wheel assembly. Cut the wire tie securing the brake caliper using a pair of pliers. Place the caliper on the mounting cradle. Tighten the caliper bolts using a socket and ratchet. Install the wheel on the Jeep. Tighten the lug nuts using a lug wrench.

Remove the jack stand from under the vehicle and lower it to the ground. Repeat the procedure on the other wheel. Move the power distribution panel into place on the mounting bracket. Tighten the nuts with a socket and ratchet once the project is complete. Install the coolant reservoir and tighten the bolt with a socket and ratchet. Connect the electrical wires to the cruise control servo. Install the air intake assembly and tighten it with a wrench.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Wheel chocks

  • Automobile jack

  • Jack stand

  • Lug wrench

  • Wire ties

  • Ball joint tool

  • Pliers

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Front Struts on a Toyota Corolla

Park the Corolla on level ground and pull off the hubcaps from the Corolla's front wheels.

Loosen all four nuts found at the center of the two front wheels with a socket wrench; turning counterclockwise.

Raise the front of the Corolla with a jack and axle stands and slide off both front wheels, exposing the front struts.

Detach the brake hose clamp from behind the struts by turning the socket wrench in a counterclockwise motion.

Detach the bolts that keep the struts attached to the suspension with a socket wrench; turning counterclockwise.

Pop the Corolla's hood to reveal the top of the strut mounts, found at each side of the engine and detach all three bolts found on top of them with a socket wrench, and slide the front struts away from the Corolla.

Pry off the caps found on top of each strut mount and detach the nuts with a socket wrench in a counterclockwise motion.

Place the coil spring compressor gently onto the front struts and pull and detach the mounts from the struts. Attach the new struts to the strut bar with the coil spring compressor and reassemble the strut mounts.

Repeat the steps in reverse in order to assemble all the components that were removed.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Jack and axle stands

  • Coil spring compressor

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.