Shock absorbers are important for the functioning of the car. These items tend to wear out with the passage of time and will eventually need to be replaced. Going to a mechanic to have this job done will definitely cost a lot. However one can save a good amount of money doing it in DIY style. This task initially looks challenging but with patience anyone can do this job.
The directions mentioned in this guide are not for any particular model or make and are standard in nature for being used on any type of vehicle. As every car is different, the good idea is to consult a repair manual specific to your model and year. Follow the directions.
- Basic hand tools
- 4 replacement shock absorbers
- Jack and jack stands
- Car repair manual
Loosen the lug nuts lightly on the either side of the end which is preferred to start with. They should not be unscrewed more than half a turn but making them a bit loose will make it easy to remove them once the car is jacked. Consult the car manual for the proper jacking points.
Take off the wheels and put them aside. Locate the shocks under the car, this is where things differ from one car to car. The shocks can be either mounted on top by a horizontal bolt or they can be attached with a vertical bolt. This is the point where the repair manual has to be consulted.
The nut connecting the shock to the suspension at the bottom needs to be unbolted using a standard socket set and has to be removed from the bolt. These steps have to be repeated with the nut located at the top and place them aside in order. Now the shock absorber has to be pulled off from the bottom bolt followed by the top. Lay it aside. Make sure you remember which shocks are new and which ones are old and have to be discarded, although it will be obvious because of the dirt stuck on the old ones.
The new shock absorbers have to be installed in the same way the old ones came off. It can be slid on to either top or the bottom bolt then to the other. Some pressure might have to be applied with hands to slightly compress the shock as it adjusts into its place. It normally doesn’t require too much effort to get it on to the bolt. When it is on, each nuts can be fixed on the top and bottom bolts and tight them with hands.
Now the rest of the bolts can be tightened with the socket set. Specific torque requirements are not needed and a regular hand operated socket set is enough for securing them in place.
Proceed to the other side and the same steps have to be repeated for replacing the other shock absorber. It is important for the parts to be identical from one side to the other. When both sides are completed, the wheels can be finally replaced and the lug nuts can be cranked back into their place. The work is halfway done at this point. Now proceed to the other end of the car and move back to Step 1 for replacing the other shock absorbers. This might be different from the front ones but the same steps are used for replacing these.
Tips and Precautions
- In case you a re not very confident about your mechanical abilities, then go to an auto shop to have this job done.
- Jack stands should always be used and never work on a car that is resting alone on the jack.