How to replace the front shocks or struts on your car. A step-by-step description about the process.
Whether the shocks are on the front of the car or the rear, there is not a great deal of difference in how to change them. The problem that arises is that modern front wheel drive vehicles do not have front shocks. They use struts instead of shocks. Struts really look like long shocks on steroids.
Either way, whether shocks or struts, they are not too tough to change. If it is your first time trying this job, allow plenty of time for learning. For someone who has done this before on other cars, it should go much quicker. Regardless, allow about an hour per side of the vehicle.
Buy the new struts or front shocks first.
Start the job by purchasing the correct shocks or struts for the front end of your car. This will help you in two ways. The first is obvious. You will have the hardware ready to install as the old hardware is removed. The second reason is to help you in finding the old hardware on your vehicle.
Most of these items look alike, but every once in a while you will find something that just does not look like what you are trying to find. Having the new ones in hand solves this potential rub. Double check with your auto parts supplier about any type of other items you may need to install these new shocks. Sometimes their are bushings or fasteners that can be purchased to make the job easier and more complete.
Locate the old struts or shocks on your vehicle and make a list of needed tools.
You may want to try this before you go to the auto parts house because if you do not have all of the needed tools, you will want to pick them up while you are there. You will need the proper sized wrenches and/or ratchet and sockets. Deep welled sockets may be the best choice if the bolts extend a little long through the nuts. On struts, sometimes the upper studs attached to the strut can extend a couple of inches beyond the housing where it attaches. If the bolts and studs look like there could be rust issues, you may want to get some WD-40 or a similar product to soak them before attempting to remove them.
For struts, take the upper end of the struts loose first.
These will be under the hood on most cars and not usually hard to locate. For shocks, jack up the car and put it on stands or blocks before beginning to remove the hardware. Again, remove the upper end of the shock first if possible. It will be more difficult than the lower end to reach and remove. For struts, once the upper end of the strut is loose, Follow the same advice for jacking up the car.
Published in: Do-It-Yourself