How to Install Shocks

Rancho car shock

Replacing your vehicle's shock absorbers is key to a smoother, safer ride.

You already know that your vehicle needs new shocks and/or struts thanks to the teeth-jarring, motion-sickness-inducing ride it delivers after encountering even the slightest bump in the road. Ok, maybe it's not that bad. But if you're feeling or hearing the symptoms of worn shocks and struts, it's time to switch them out. If you have any doubts, bounce the front or rear of the vehicle a few times—it should rebound no more than one and half times before stopping.

What you may be questioning is whether you're under-car savvy enough to do the job. The short answer is "yes." With the right tools, attitude, parts, and instructions, it's not a difficult job. Install new shocks today, and get ready to enjoy a more comfortable ride and improved vehicle control.

Vehicle System
Steering & Suspension Systems
Skill Level
Intermediate

This is a project that needs some know-how

Time to Complete
1-2 hours
    Watch The Video

    Check out this video for a play-by-play of how to change your shocks.

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface and block the wheels that will remain on the ground. Using a floor jack, raise the vehicle and secure it with jack stands. Leave wheels on the vehicle if possible for added safety. Be sure you place the jack stands in the right spots on the frame for stability!

  2. Loosen the lower shock retaining nut, but do not remove the bolt at this time. Nuts on the shock bolts may be rusted and/or difficult to remove. Use some penetrating oil, such as PB B'laster, and give it some time to work to help loosen them. You can also use a nut splitter to help remove stubborn nuts.

  3. Locate the attaching/mounting hardware at the top of the shock. Depending on the type of shock, it may be retained by two bolts that require a long socket extension to access.

  4. Remove the two retaining bolts. Your automotive shock absorbers may be retained by a single stud/nut on the top of the shock or a through-bolt.

  5. Finish removing the nut and tap out the bottom shock bolt using a plastic mallet.

  6. Remove the old shock.

  7. Install the new shock by inserting the lower bolt first. Hand tighten the nut.

  8. Once the bottom bolt is in place, use the utility knife to carefully cut the shock compression strap. The shock is under pressure and as soon as the strap is cut, it will slowly expand. As it does, be ready to insert the bolt(s) into the top of the shock and mounting hardware.

  9. Torque the nuts on the top and bottom bolts to the proper specifications.

  10. It's always recommended to replace shocks in pairs, so once you've finished with the first one, repeat the process on the second shock.

Last updated June 23, 2017

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