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How to Replace the Shocks and Struts in a Subaru Outback

by Contributor

The Subaru Outback is a unique wagon that drives like a sedan, but can haul like an SUV. To keep your ride smooth and the handling as good as it should be, replace your shocks and struts after 60,000 miles under normal driving conditions.

Replace the Front Struts in an Outback

Step 1

Open the hood and locate the battery. Use a wrench to remove the negative battery cable from the terminal. It's marked either blue, black or with a negative sign. Lift the front end of the Outback with a floor jack and support it by the frame with jack stands. Loosen and remove the nuts holding the front wheels on and set the wheels aside.

Step 2

Find the brake hose on the wheel hub and follow it back until you reach the strut, which looks like a spring with hardware mounting it to the car on both ends. Disconnect the bracket holding the brake hose to the strut and remove the bolt holding the anti-lock brake sensor.

Step 3

Unbolt the bottom of the strut from the steering knuckle and the top from the frame in the engine compartment. Pull the strut from the undercarriage. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 on the other side of the Outback.

Step 4

Position the new strut assembly in the suspension system and set the dial on the torque wrench to 15 foot lb. Tighten each of the upper retaining nuts in the engine compartment until you feel the wrench slip. Insert the lower mounting bolts with the one with the round shaft in the lower hole. Torque them to 112 foot lb.

Clip the brake hose to the strut and the anti-lock brake sensor. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 up to this point on the other side of the wagon. Mount the front wheels and lower the front end of the Outback. Reattach the negative battery cable to the terminal. Close the hood and have a professional align the wheels.

Replace the Rear Shocks in an Outback

Step 1

Lift the rear end of the Outback and support it by the frame on jack stands. Remove the rear wheels and open the hatch. Roll up the floor mat.

Step 2

Support the rear arm with a jack stand. Remove the bolt holding the shock to the rear arm and the nuts connecting the shock to the body in the hatch. Pull the shock out and repeat this step on the other side of the Outback.

Step 3

Position the shock, and install the new upper retaining nuts. Torque them to 22 foot lb. Adjust the jack stand so the holes in the shock line up with the ones in the arm. Insert the bolt, and torque it to 118 foot lb. Repeat this step on the other side of the Outback.

Unroll the mat in the hatch and close the hatch. Mount the rear wheels and lower the rear end of the Outback.


  • If you ever take your Outback off-road, have a professional check your struts for wear every time you rotate or balance your tires because you might need to replace the struts before 60,000 miles.

Items you will need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Ratchet set
  • Torque wrench

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