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How to Change Suspension and Shock Absorbers

09 November 2015, 12:59

How to Change Suspension and Shock Absorbers

For many people, the idea of changing the suspension and shock absorbers in their car is something that will fill them with absolute dread.

To a certain extent, you can understand this because it does come across as being a substantial job that requires a certain degree of expertise in the art of car mechanics.

However, even though it is not exactly the easiest of jobs that can be undertaken, that is not to say that it is impossible.

Indeed, there is a good argument that cars today became easier to repair in this way than those before and that can certainly be applied to the changing of both your suspension as well as your shock absorbers.


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Getting Started

First, you are strongly advised to purchase pre-assembled shocks especially if you are not that experienced at repairing various parts of cars.

You will also need to double check that you are getting the correct shocks and suspension system for the make and model that you own, but the company you purchase them from should be able to help you out with that by consulting their own database.

Next, you need to make sure that your car is on a level surface and then jack it up at the first corner. As an added safety feature, use jack ramps rather than just the jack itself, as this gives you some added security and it is less likely that there will be any accidents.

Once you have your car jacked up and secured, remove the wheel and find your shock absorbers. They are easy to identify as they will have a vertical bolt that generally has to be loosened off from inside the engine compartment or in the rear of the car for the back system. This bolt needs to be loosened and then knocked out in order to begin to free the shock absorber.

After knocking out this bolt, the next part is to remove the shock itself and this can be quite tricky as it will more often than not be quite greasy.

First, look at the mountings in order to determine if they are actually loose enough for you to remove them.

You will also need to check out the bushings and you can identify this by the fact that there is rubber around them. In some instances, you will need to break the rubber to then remove them, but that is absolutely fine.

Removing the Shocks

Next, is removing the shocks and you need to remove the nut that connects the shock to the suspension. However, some models will require you to remove part of the brake component to get access, but this is something that your manual will be able to advise you on.

You will then see that the shock is held by a bolt at both the top and the bottom and often this can then wriggle free.

If this is indeed the case, then think about what you are going to do with the spring as you may be reusing it in order to save yourself some money.

However, this is not recommended if you are relatively new to repairing your car, as it is not an easy process.

Installing the Brand New Shocks

Finally, we need to discuss how you go about installing the brand new shocks with the suspension.

The first step is to attach the brand new shock to the arm of the suspension and be prepared to have to use some force in order to really constrict the shock until it has been put into place.

There is also the chance that you may need some assistance to lift the suspension just slightly to make it easier for you to line up those bolts as this is something that needs to be absolutely perfect.

When the bolts are lined up correctly, tighten the nuts as much as you can to secure it into place.

Once this has been done, reattach the bolts that work through into either the engine bay or the back of the car and secure them before going to the next step.

The final step is to check the torque that is mentioned in your manual just to make sure that everything is indeed correct before you then go ahead and tighten everything up.

After this, the only thing you have to do is to then repeat the entire process with every shock absorber as there is a pretty good chance you will be doing them all.

As you can see, changing the shock absorbers is actually easier than you think, but the overall suspension is a bigger job that is harder to do and requires more specialist knowledge.

However, at least now you can see how it is actually possible to do this job on your own allowing you to take better care of your vehicle at a reduced cost.


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