How to Repair Shocks & Struts

by Justin Cupler

Struts and shocks are designed to absorb the impact of potholes and other defects in the road while driving. The first true shock absorber was invented in 1926 by Monroe, the popular shock and strut company. Most vehicles today have two struts and two shocks, but some have four of each. When shocks and struts go bad, they must be replaced as they negatively affect the handling of your car and can increase braking distances.

Strut

Jack up the vehicle and secure it with jack stands.

Loosen and remove the bolts at the base of the strut using a ratchet, socket and wrench. There will be two bolts.

Loosen and remove the three nuts holding the strut to the strut tower using a ratchet and socket. These nuts are accessed from under the hood.

Pry the bottom of the strut away from the mount on the steering knuckle using a pry bar.

Pull the strut from the vehicle.

Compress the strut spring using the spring compressor. Perform this by hooking the compressor over the coils of the spring and tightening the compressor with a wrench.

Loosen and remove the upper strut nut using a wrench.

Pull the upper strut plate from the strut and remove the spring by pulling it off.

Place the spring over the new strut and put the upper strut plate into the new strut.

Tighten the upper strut nut using a wrench.

Loosen the spring compressor until the spring is fully extended inside of the strut assembly.

Place the strut assembly under the vehicle and push the upper strut studs through the holes in the strut tower.

Press the base of the strut into the mount on the steering knuckle. Push the lower strut bolts through the 2 holes at the base of the strut and hand-tighten the nuts onto the bolts.

Tighten the lower bolts with a ratchet, socket and wrench.

Hand-tighten the nuts onto the 3 upper strut nuts.

Repeat steps 2 through 15 for all additional struts.

Lower the vehicle to the ground.

Shocks

Jack up the vehicle and secure it with jack stands.

Loosen and remove the upper shock bolt using a ratchet and socket. This is where the top of the shock meets the frame of the vehicle.

Loosen and remove the lower shock bolt using a ratchet and socket. This is where the lower end of the shock meets the rear hub assembly.

Pull the shock from out of the upper and lower mounts.

Place the new shock into the upper mount.

Insert the upper shock bolt hand-tighten it.

Cut the plastic strap holding the new strut compressed with the side cutters.

Guide the shock into the lower mount as it slowly extends.

Push the lower bolt through the lower hole in the shock.

Tighten the upper and lower bolts with a ratchet and socket.

Repeat the process for any additional shocks.

Lower the vehicle to the ground.

Tip

  • check Take the vehicle to a shop for an alignment after replacing the struts.

Items you will need

About the Author

Justin Cupler is a professional writer who has been published on several websites including CarsDirect and Autos.com. Cupler has worked in the professional automotive repair field as a technician and a manager since 2000. He has a certificate in broadcast journalism from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Cupler is currently studying mechanical engineering at Saint Petersburg College.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Shock absorber image by Neryman from Fotolia.com