You’re feeling every bump in the road on your way to work.
It’s the dreaded time to replace your shock absorbers.
What are shock absorbers? They dampen the vibrations that come from the bumps in the road beneath your tires. Essentially, they’re essential in keeping your tires as close to the ground as possible, even when there’s a bump or crack below.
So, can you (a mere mortal) do your own shock absorber replacement? Indeed you can.
Paying someone else to change your shock absorbers could cost you an arm and a leg, which is why we’ve compiled this guide to help you do it yourself!
Table of Contents
Shock Absorber Replacement 101
First, let’s jump into some of the basics of when to replace shock absorbers.
You’re going to want to check how everything’s going about every 12,000 miles or so.
If your car seems to lurch forward when you’re braking, if it tends to drift off course when you’re driving long distances, if hitting bumps in the road feels like you’ve lived through an earthquake, or if your shock fluid is leaking, you’re going to want replacement shock absorbers.
A good way to check if your shocks are caput is to press down heavily on the hood of your car. A car with healthy shocks will bounce back and settle back into place pretty seamlessly. If your car continues to bounce up and down, that’s a good indication that it’s time.
Step 1: To Spring Compress or Not to Spring Compress?
You might get all ready to DIY yourself a smooth new ride, but once you get in there, you may realize your springs and shock are integrated. This is a common occurrence in many cars.
DO NOT TRY TO DIY THIS. Removing springs is a serious job. They can end up popping off and causing all kinds of chaos, especially to you.
We recommend bringing your car into an actual shop or renting a spring compressor. You’re going to need to read up on how to use that and be very, very careful. But that’s a whole other article we could write for a whole other day
Step 2: Buy the Right Shock Absorber Replacement for Your Car
Not sure what kind of shock absorber is right for your car? It’s as simple as heading to a local car parts store and asking an employee.
The internet is also rich with information and can lead you in the right direction. For instance, if you drive a Ford F150, you can find entire articles that let you learn more about the perfect shocks for your specific model.
Step 3: Lift Your Car up
Got a lift? Great. Why are you reading this beginner’s shock absorber replacement guide, again?
I’m gonna guess you don’t have a lift, so you’re going to have to jack your car up one side at a time. Make sure your car’s on flat ground and loosen the lug nuts on the back and front end of your car.
Consult your car’s manual to find the right way to jack your car up securely.
Once your car’s up and secure, remove the wheels and find your shocks.
Step 4: Ditch the Old Shocks
Taking out your old shocks may actually be the hardest part. It’s going to take a bit of work. Just imagine all the gunk in there that’s built up over time. The bolts are going to be a challenge to loosen up.
If the mountings are loose enough to come off, you’re the luckiest person alive. You may need to crack the bushing’s rubber surrounding (which is totally okay.) Or you may want to spray some lubricant in there to loosen everything up before you dive in.
Keep in mind, you may need an impact wrench to help you out.
Step 5: Install the New Shock Absorber Replacements
Replacing shock absorbers is actually the easiest part. You should be able to redo what you’ve just undone.
When you want to tighten the bolts with a regular wrench or a torque wrench is really up to you.
Then just, repeat it three more times on each of your tires.
Get Back on the Road
Test driving your car after you replace shock absorbers is an essential step. You want to make sure your car is driving right before you take it out on a regular ride.
And if you’re feeling good about that much smoother ride, maybe you’ll want to plan the ultimate road trip with your good-as-new car?
Who knew shock absorber replacements could be so delightful? Pleasant travels!