Auto Repair Q&A



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How To Replace Shocks

Generic Shock Absorber

Even the most inexperienced of mechanics can likely change the shock absorbers on most passenger vehicles. Shocks are usually located in relatively accessible areas underneath the vehicle, with one end connected to a frame or cross-member and the other to the suspension arm, knuckle, or similar. Two large bolts hold them in place.

Note: strut replacement is very different than shock replacement and requires more tools, time, and know-how.

As you can see from the photo thumbnail of a shock absorber, one bolt goes through the large eye at the top and one at the bottom.

You will need at least one socket wrench and (preferably) also have a fixed wrench (open or box) of the same size to fit the bolts holding the shocks in place. Some new shock absorbers include replacement bolts, which should be used. Otherwise, be sure to inspect the bolts you're removing to be sure they are fit for duty.

The vehicle should be safely lifted off the ground so that the shocks are fully extended (or as much as possible).

Remove the old shocks one at a time, taking out the top-most bolt first (it will likely be the harder of the two to get to). Note the position of the shock (which end is up), then remove the bottom bolt. Replace with the new shock in the same orientation, putting the top eye in place and inserting the bolt (don't tighten yet) and then compressing the shock as needed until the bottom eye lines up. Put that bolt in and tighten, then tighten the top. Double check tightness of the bolts, then proceed to the next shock.