How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in Chevrolet Carsby Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017
Think of your last trip home from the hardware store. If the nails you bought bounced all around the bed of your truck, you might need to replace the shocks in your Chevrolet car. Good shocks not only make the ride more comfortable, but they make it safer. This process only covers shock replacement because Chevrolet car doesn't equip the Chevrolet car with struts.
Under The Hood:
- How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Chevy Impala
- How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Chevy Silverado
- How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Chevy Cobalt
- How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Geo Tracker
- How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Chevy Camaro
Replace the Front Struts in an Impala
Raise the front end of the Impala with a floor jack, and support the frame with jack stands. Use a tire iron to loosen and remove the nuts holding the wheels on the front end of the car.
Outline the orientation of the strut assembly, where it connects to the steering knuckle, with a permanent marker. The strut looks like a coiled spring with hardware on either side connecting it to the frame on the top and the steering knuckle on the bottom.
Use a wrench to remove the three nuts on the top of the strut assembly connecting the strut to the frame of the car. Use a ratchet to remove the lower bolt connecting the strut assembly to the steering knuckle, and pull out the strut assembly. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 on the other side of the car.
Position the new strut in your suspension system with the bottom aligned with your outline on the steering knuckle. Connect the upper side of the strut assembly to the frame with the three nuts, and turn the dial of your torque wrench to 24 ft-lb. Tighten the nuts until you feel the torque wrench give slightly.
Slide in the lower strut bolt, and torque it to 90 ft-lb. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 on the other side of the car.
Mount the wheels back on the front of the Impala. Lower it, and have the front end aligned by a professional.
Replace the Rear Struts in an Impala
Lift the car with a floor jack, and support it by the frame with jack stands. Locate the strut assemblies and the place where they meet the steering control system at the knuckle. The struts are spring coils, and the assemblies are the surrounding hardware that connect them to the frame and the steering knuckle. Mark the orientation of the struts on the steering knuckle with a permanent marker so you know how to align them when you install the new ones.
Detach the negative cable from the battery terminal with a wrench, as well as the three nuts connecting the struts to the body of the car. Lift the car with a floor jack, and support the frame with jack stands. Use the tire iron to pull the bolts off and remove the rear wheels. Set them aside.
Remove the wheels from the rear of the Impala using a tire iron to loosen and remove the mounting nuts. Set the wheels aside. Ratchet off the upper mounting nuts from the struts as well as the lower bolt. Pull out the strut assemblies.
Disconnect the nut from the link holding the stabilizer shaft to the strut, and push the shaft away. Use a permanent marker to mark the orientation of the struts on the knuckle and support the knuckle with another jack stand. Remove the bolts holding the struts to the knuckle. Pull out the struts.
Align the new strut assembly with the marks on the steering knuckle. Set the dial on your torque wrench to 30 ft-lb, and tighten the three upper mounting nuts until you feel the wrench give slightly. Insert the bottom bolt between the strut assembly and the steering knuckle, and torque it to 90 ft-lb.
Put the wheels back on the rear of the car, and lower the car to the shop floor. Reconnect the negative battery cable to the terminal on the battery. Have the rear end of your Impala aligned by a professional.
Items you will need
Replace the Front Shocks in a Silverado
Lift the truck with a jack, and support it with jack stands. If you have selectable ride, disconnect the real time dampening rods (RTD) and the electrical connector by grabbing the locking tabs on the electrical wire running from the wheel well and twisting counterclockwise until they separate. Pull up the connector. Hold the metal tenon attached to one side with a wrench, and detach the nut with a ratchet.
Locate the shock absorber. It looks like a metal tube that slides in and out of another tube connected to the arm holding the wheel. Slide off the upper insulator. Keep the pilot ring. Ratchet off the shock absorber mounting bolt on the lower control arm. Pull out the shock absorber.
Poke the stem through the hole in the shock bracket on the frame. Line the shock absorber up with the lower control arm mounting holes. Twist the setting on your torque wrench to 59 ft-lb. Bolt the lower control arm to the shock absorber, and tighten the nut until you feel the wrench give.
Align the upper insulator to the shock with the pilot ring and slide it on. Loosely connect the tenon to the connector with the nut. Don't tighten it yet. Reconnect the RTD if you have selectable ride by aligning the tabs so they're perpendicular to the wrench flats, and push the connector down hard. Twist the locking tabs counterclockwise until you hear a snap.
Lower the car from the jack stands. Hold the tenon end of the connector with a wrench while you torque the nut to 15 ft-lb.
Replace the Rear Shocks in a Silverado
Lift the truck with a floor jack, and support the Silverado with jack stands. If you have selectable ride, disconnect the electrical sensor.
Use the ratchet to pull out the upper shock absorber nut and bolt. Unbolt the lower shock absorber nut and bolt. Remove the shocks.
Align the new shocks and insert the lower nut and bolt, followed by the upper nut and bolt. Torque both to 70 ft-lb.
Reconnect the electrical connector if you have selectable ride on the Silverado, and lower the truck from the jack stands.
Items you will need
Replace the Front Struts
Open the hood of the Cobalt, and remove the upper mounting nuts for the strut. They're the three nuts surrounding the strut cap cover directly over the wheel well. Jack the car up, and set jack stands under the frame so it's secure.
Use a tire iron to remove the bolts holding the wheel on, and set the wheel aside. Use a wrench to remove the nut on the stabilizer shaft link, the lower strut bolts and the antilock braking system (ABS) wiring bracket bolts. Pull out the strut.
Slide the replacement strut in, and connect it to the upper mounting nuts. Torque them each to 15 foot pounds. Attach the lower bolts and the ABS wiring bracket, and torque those nuts to 89 foot pounds each. Attach the stabilizer shaft link nut, and torque it to 48 foot pounds.
Put the wheel back on and let the car down to the ground. Align the front wheels.
Replace the Rear Shocks
Jack your Cobalt up and support it with jack stands under the rear axle near the shock absorber. Remove the wheels. Loosen and pull out the upper and lower shock bolts, and pull out the shock.
Replace the shock, and torque the upper bolt to 66 foot-pounds. Torque the lower bolt to 81 foot pounds.
Put the wheel back on and lower the car.
Items you will need
Replace the Front Struts in a Tracker
Lift the front end of the Tracker with a floor jack, and support it by the frame with jack stands. Use a tire iron to loosen and remove the nuts holding on the front wheels and set the wheels aside.
Locate the brake hose, which is the only hose running into the wheel hub, and follow it to where it clips to the strut. The strut looks like an assembly of parts with a spring coiled around them. Remove the clip from the strut with pliers. Support the lower control arm with a floor jack where it meets the wheel hub, and use a ratchet to remove the nuts holding the strut to the steering knuckle, which is the arm that turns the wheel hub from the steering system.
Pop the hood open. Look at where the strut connects to the frame from the bottom and then orient yourself to that position from the top side. Remove the upper mounting nuts from the frame of the Tracker. Go back under the SUV and pull the strut out from the undercarriage.
Repeat Steps 2 and 3 on the other side of the Tracker.
Slide the new strut assembly into the same position that the old one occupied and through the open hood, hand-tighten the upper mounting nuts to the frame. Set the dial on your torque wrench to 15 ft-lb, and tighten the nuts until you feel the wrench slip. Install the bolts to connect the bottom of the strut to the steering knuckle and torque them to 53 ft-lb. Remove the jack stand holding up the suspension from behind the wheel hub.
Reposition the brake hose, and secure it to the strut with the clip you removed earlier.
Repeat Steps 5 and 6 on the other side of the Tracker. Mount the front wheels. Lower the front of the car and close the hood. Have a professional align the front end of the Tracker.
Replace the Rear Shocks in a Tracker
Block the rear wheels to keep them from moving while you work, and lift the rear end of the SUV. Support the frame with jack stands, and slide a jack stand under the rear axle to keep it from lowering.
Locate the shock, which is the tube right next to the coiled spring with a tiny stem at the top, right behind the rear wheel. Use a wrench or a ratchet to remove the upper nuts holding the stem in its supporting bracket. Follow the shock to the bottom, and remove the bolt and nut holding it in the housing on the axle. Pull out the shock absorber and repeat this step on the other side of the rear of the Tracker.
Position the new shock, and insert the lower bolt through the mount and the housing to the nut. Make sure the head of the bolt is on the side closer to the center of the SUV. Torque it to 51 ft-lb. Install the upper retaining nut on the stem and the lock nut above it, and torque them to 16 ft-lb. Repeat this step on the other side of the Tracker.
Remove the jack stand from the axle and lower the rear end of the Tracker. Remove the wheel blocks.
Items you will need
Replace the Front Shocks in a Camaro
Lift your car using a floor jack, and slide jack stands under the frame to support it. Remove the front wheels with a tire iron.
Loosen and remove the upper shock mounting bolts and nuts with a wrench or a ratchet. Unbolt the shock assembly from the stabilizer bar, and mark the locations of the upper and lower coil spring mounts with a permanent marker.
Unbolt the lower mounting nuts and bolts from the shocks, and disconnect the lower ball joint stud from the steering knuckle. Take out the shocks. Use a spring compression tool to remove the springs from the shocks.
Compress the new springs and install them onto the shocks. Bolt the shocks to the lower control arm, and torque the bolts to 48 foot pounds. Bolt the lower ball joint back to the steering knuckle and reconnect the stabilizer bar.
Attach the upper shock assemblies. Torque the bolts to 37 foot-pounds and the nuts to 32 foot pounds. Put the wheels back on the front end of your car.
Replace the Rear Shocks in a Camaro
Prop up the rear axle with the jack stands so it's stable and won't collapse without the suspension connected. Don't jack up the rear of the car, but use the jack stands to support the axle. Fold down the back seat of the Camaro. Pull out the quarter panel trim and fold the carpet back from it.
Loosen and remove the upper shock nut, retainer and insulator. Unbolt the lower insulator and retainer and remove the lower shock-to-rear axle nut. With the jack stands propping the axle, it shouldn't move. If it does, run a check on all the other assemblies to the rear wheels, especially the brakes, to make sure none are disconnected.
Take out the shock absorber through the hole in the quarter panel.
Install the new shocks with the slower shock-to-axle nut. Torque it to 66 foot-pounds. Set the lower and upper insulators and retainers on the shocks. Put the upper shock mounting nut on the assembly, and torque it to 13 foot pounds.
Put back the carpet and the quarter trim assembly. Remove the jack stands from under the axle.
Items you will need
Spring compression tool