How to Replace Shock Absorbers

by Contributor

Shock absorbers are used to guarantee a smooth ride, even as you drive over bumpy terrain. After driving on a set of shocks for a while, they may become worn and need to be replaced. As with most automotive maintenance issues, you may be able to replace shock absorbers on your own.

Lift the back half of your vehicle off the ground with the help of a jack. Relieve the tension on your wheels and suspension system. Give yourself enough space so that you're able to slide beneath your vehicle comfortably.

Remove the wheels associated with the shocks you plan to replace. Hang onto the nuts, bolts and hubcaps, as you'll be replacing them shortly.

Unfasten the lower attachment bolts connected to the shock absorber. Cut through collected rust by using a rust penetrator.

Disconnect the shock absorber's upper attachment. This will need to be done to both ends of the shocks. You may need to purchase a fitted sprocket set to keep the piston rod from rotating while you work, though you may be able to use a pair of vice grips just as easily.

Install the rubber cushions that accompany your new set of shock absorbers. They're designed to fit on the threaded rod.

Remove the plastic straps that are used to compress a new set of shock absorbers. They're only compressed during shipping and storage.

Install your new set of shock absorbers. Use the same wrench and sprocket set to put your new shocks in place. Once they've been fitted into the correct position, tighten them in place.

Replace the wheels you've removed. Remove the vehicle jack.


  • check It's usually a good idea to replace your shock absorbers every 75,000 miles. Depending on the strain put on your shock absorbers, you may need to replace them sooner.
  • check There are two main kinds of shock absorbers used in cars today. Individual shocks attach to your car's suspension frame, while cartridge shock absorbers are a part of the suspension's strut.


  • close Some cars have shock absorbers in both the front and back. While it's easy enough to replace rear shocks on your own, the process for replacing front shocks is much more complicated. It would be a good idea to get professional help before attempting to replace front shocks.

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