How to Replace Shocks

When you feel your car bouncing all over the place as you drive down the road, your shocks have gone bad and you need to know how to replace shocks yourself. Shocks are what make your car ride smooth. You shock absorbers and suspension should be checked about every 12,000 miles or once a year, depending how much you drive.

How to Know When Shocks are Bad

If your shocks have gone bad and you don’t get them checked right away, it can lead to more problems for your car. For instance, when you hit a pothole, if your shock absorbers aren’t working, the shock of that impact is transferred to other parts of your car. This causes damage to vital car parts or engine parts, and often causes pieces of your car to come loose or start working themselves loose.

In the long run, bad shocks cause problems all over your car, from the outer appearance to the inner workings of you engine assembly.

One way to find out if your shocks are going bad is to look at your tires. If you see concave cups on the tires, that means your car is bouncing a lot and riding unevenly. Your shocks need to be replaced.

How to Get Started Replacing Shocks

Before you get start to replace your shocks, make sure you have the correct tools for the job. Here’s a short list of essential tools for when you replace shocks.

Before you jack up the car, make sure to place the wheel chucks under the other tires, so the car doesn’t roll away. Place the jack underneath the car. Make sure it’s underneath the frame and not the suspension.

If you place your jack under the wrong spot of your car, you’ll cause damage to the car and jack. Position jack stands underneath the frame for support. Once you have the car hoisted, loosen the lug nuts on the tire and remove it.

Replacing the Rear Shocks

How to Replace Shocks

How to Replace Shocks

When replacing the rear shocks, remove the inner covers in the back of your car, to access upper shock mounting nuts. Once you find the mounting nuts, remove them. If they spin, hold them in place with pliers and loosen the nut with a wrench.

Loosen any nuts under the car. If you find any nuts that are rusty or stuck, spray them with some motor oil or penetrating oil, to loosen them.

Remove the mounting nut and washer underneath the vehicle. Next, remove the old shock absorber. If it’s rusty, use a pry bar to get the shock off.

Replacing Shock Absorbers

Compare the new shock to the old and make sure that the grommets and bushings are all in the same place. Once you finish inspecting the shocks, mount the lower end of the shock and tighten the mounting bolts.

Before you cut the retaining strap on the shock, make sure the top is in line. Once the shock is in line, cut the restraining strap and put in any grommets and the shock in place. Put on the upper grommets and mounting nuts.

Put the wheel back on and lower the vehicle. Rock the vehicle a little bit, so the grommets settle into place.

Replacing the Front Shocks

When you replace the front shocks, you need to jack up the car and remove the tires, just like with the rear tires. Unlike replacing the back shocks, when you start to replace front shock absorbers, (before you jack up the car) make sure that there are wheel chucks behind both wheels, so the car doesn’t roll away.

Once again, place the jack under the frame, not the suspension. Use jack stands to support the car. Jack the car up high enough, that you can access the shocks.

Loosen the lower attachment bolts and nuts. Remove them from the shock. Use a wrench to remove the upper attachment nut from the shock absorber, then simply remove the old shock absorber.

Putting the Front Shocks On

Once you have the old shock absorber off, place the first grommet on the shock with the round side up. Slide the rubber bushing down on the shock absorber, until it is seated on the grommet.

Take the second grommet and place it on the shock absorber, with the round side down and slide it into place, until it sits nicely on the bushing. If there is a plastic strip on the shock, remove it.

Place the shock between the upper and lower suspension arms. Push the piston rod of the shock through the upper suspension rod. Tighten the nut, so that it doesn’t fall out.

Compress the shock slowly, until it lines up with the mounting holes on the lower suspension arm. Screw in the nut and bolt and the shock should now be in place. Put the wheel back on and tighten the lug nuts.

Lower the car.

Test the New Shocks

Test drive the car with the new shock absorbers in a safe, open area, to make sure you have properly replaced the shocks. If so, you have learned how to replace shocks.

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