How To Replace Vehicle Shocks

The shock absorbers on a vehicle help you enjoy a smooth ride by reducing vibrations after hitting bumps. If you suddenly experience rough riding, such hard bouncing or a rolling feeling, or if the front seems to dip or lean toward bumps, it may be time to replace your vehicle's shocks. 

The shocks keep the springs from bouncing more than necessary. However, they can get damaged from how you drive or from normal wear. Follow these steps to replace shocks.

Prepare to Replace the Shocks

To replace the shocks, gather:

  • work gloves
  • jack stands and wheel chocks
  • floor jack 
  • wrench set that includes a torque wrench 
  • socket and ratchet set
  • lubricant 

Park the vehicle on a hard, even surface. Turn the engine off, let it cool, and engage the parking brake. 

To determine if the shocks are damaged, push on the front of the vehicle or the hood over the wheel well until it bounces. Damaged shocks will commonly bounce more than twice or cause leakage around the suspension area, and tires may be cupped.

Slightly loosen the lug nuts on the front tires, but don't remove them. Jack the vehicle using the floor jack, referring to your manual for suggested jack points, and insert wheel chocks on the back wheels. Jack the suspension on the side you are repairing where the shock connects to the suspension arm to relieve pressure.

Remove the Old Shocks

Remove the tires, prop the hood up, and look for the shock bolts in the engine compartment. Loosen the top bolt and the bottom bolt. Some bolts may be located under the trunk fabric. 

Determine what kind of shocks you have. A single shock absorber, which is commonly twelve to eighteen inches long, connects to the frame or the suspension, and some vehicles have struts, tubes that twenty to thirty inches long, connected to the wheel hub. If you have a strut-and-shock system, get it professionally replaced.

Use the correct socket and ratchet to loosen the bolt, misting them with lubricant if needed. Completely loosen the retaining nut. Keeping a grip on the piston rod with pliers, pull the shock from under the A-frame and discard it. 

Install the New Shocks

Set the new shocks back into the mounting brackets and control arm. If the shocks won't slide easily into place, bend them slightly.

Tighten the top bolt and retaining nut, then get an assistant to support the suspension while you tighten the bottom bolt.  Check your manual for the required torque, or turn the bolts until they are snug, but not too tight. Lower the vehicle, reinstall the tires, and test drive the vehicle.

For professional assistance, contact a company like Prime Body & Paint.