How to change shock absorbers on a car? (2022)

14 Min Read
Change shock absorbers

The shock absorbers degrade very gradually over time. You may go for a while without realizing that the ride is getting progressively more uncomfortable.

When you reach a certain point, however, you will no longer be able to ignore the mushy and spongey feeling you have while driving.

Change shock absorbers

In most cases, the problem is caused by worn shock absorbers. This is not only a nuisance but also a potential health risk. This article will walk you through the process of replacing shock absorbers and explain everything you need to know.

The components that make up a shock absorber as well as their primary functions

When traveling over bumpy terrain, the wheels’ movements are absorbed by a shock absorber, and the signal is only transmitted to the vehicle’s body in a muted and delayed manner.

This not only makes driving a more enjoyable experience but also makes it safer. When driven, the vehicle steers more precisely and does not veer off course as frequently as other vehicles.

We have a tough time imagining how unpleasant it must have been to drive in the days when carriages were the standard mode of transportation.

Not only did the roads not have the same level and smooth surface that we are accustomed to today, but the vehicles themselves had very little in the way of suspension.

Rather than providing a comfortable ride, the risky constructions of leather straps and leaf springs typically resulted in vertigo for the rider. In any event, these conventional approaches to enhancing passenger comfort were far too involved for automobiles.

As a result, different approaches were required. They needed to be scaled down and made more compact, but most importantly, they needed to be modified to accommodate the growing speed of the vehicles.

In the beginning, there was still an ongoing reliance on springs. They are produced at a low cost and have an excellent track record of dependability.

Because of this, you can still find them quite frequently on the rear axle of vans in the modern day. They were soon followed by oil dampers, which allowed for smoothing out minor irregularities and provided additional support.

Shock absorbers became much more compact due to the development of coil springs, a requirement for modern automobiles.

Oil shocks are employed in modern times on a much more infrequent basis. These shock absorbers are typically mounted on motorcycles’ front forks because they are in the most vulnerable position.

Most vehicles on the road today are equipped with gas-powered shock absorbers, which have the distinct advantage of delivering superior driving dynamics.

However, the most significant disadvantage of these components is that they are purely worn parts that cannot be repaired and must be replaced regularly.

How to determine whether or not a shock absorber has a problem.

A broken shock absorber did not produce the damping effect because it was defective. If this is the case, the vehicle is only supported by its coil springs.

If the car “sits” heavily on the front during braking and then bounces noticeably afterward, the damping effect is almost completely nullified.

This can also be checked while the vehicle is parked in a static position. See what happens when you force the vehicle down firmly on each fender and observe the results.

If the car bounces violently, the shock absorber has been damaged.

Gurgling sounds and oil leaks from the shock absorber are additional signs of the problem. If you hear clicking noises while riding, particularly when turning corners, this is a sign that the shock absorber cups are broken.

You are in a position to take advantage of the opportunity, given that the shock absorbers will also need to be removed to replace them.

Warning, this could endanger your life!

When the front axle has telescopic struts, the shock absorber forms a unit with the coil spring by passing through the middle of the braces.

The coil spring needs to be compressed to take it apart. During this process, a significant amount of tension is built up. The spring can cause severe injuries if it is allowed to lose its pressure in an uncontrolled manner.

CHANGING OUT A SHOCK ABSORBER REQUIRES THE PROPER TOOLS AT ALL TIMES! A spring compressor can be obtained from a specialized dealer for a price that is not prohibitively expensive.

It ensures a pleasant and risk-free handling experience. For example, any attempt with wires or straps poses a significant threat to the user’s safety!


This is merely a general description of how to change the shock absorber in your car. This is not a manual with step-by-step instructions.

We want to be clear that repairs of this sort are the responsibility of a professional with specialized training.

We disclaim all liability for any harm that may result from following the directions and performing the tasks suggested on this page.

How to change shock absorbers on a car

How to change the shock absorbers on the rear axle

Changing the shock absorbers on the rear axle is typically simple. The spring and damper units are typically placed separately in this scenario.

The car is raised until the front axle, commonly referred to as the “point where the wheels hang,” can be totally released from tension.

The shock absorbers are then removed by loosening the two retaining bolts once the wheels have been taken off.

This only applies when a full telescopic strut has not been installed on the rear axle.

Instructions on how to change the shock absorbers on the front axle

The shock absorber that is routed through the coil spring is the main part of the telescopic struts positioned on the front axle.

As a consequence of this, they are somewhat more challenging to disassemble.

1. Putting the car on the lift

Before raising the car, the wheel nuts must be loosened.

Always have a solid surface to work on when working on a vehicle. Supports that have been specifically designed for this purpose work exceptionally well.

Working with square timber, stones, or even a jack lift carries a considerable danger of harm. Make sure you’re always using the appropriate equipment.

At predetermined locations, the vehicle should be raised at all times. The body of the car could sustain significant damage if the jack lift is not set up properly.

2. Take off your wheels

The nuts are much easier to remove because they were already somewhat free before the car was elevated.

3. When the shock absorber can move freely, turn the wheel.

Two bolts are used to secure the shock absorber to the vehicle’s suspension. If these are challenging to remove, a tiny amount of penetrating oil, such as WD-40, might be applied.

4. Remove all presently attached components.

Cable ties are used to detach the brake hose, wear indicator cable, and ABS sensor cable, respectively, and set them aside.

The brake caliper can also be loosened and set aside to prevent a disruption of the brake circuit.

This makes it much easier to remove the shock absorber. Additionally, both the coupling rod and the bearing have been freed from their corresponding upper anchorages.

After that, the brake disc can be retracted, and the shock absorber will be unobstructed.

5. Take the cup off the shock absorber and set it to the side.

The cup keeps the shock absorber’s attachment to the car’s body in place. It is possible to remove the protective covers once the hood has been opened. After that, the screws located underneath can be loosened.

6. Rebuild the vehicle’s undercarriage

If the telescoping brace cannot be compressed, the entire component should, if at all possible, be replaced.

The springs deteriorate over time as well. A pre-assembled telescopic strut that has a coil spring and a shock absorber built into its design are significantly easier to replace.

Additionally, this results in a car that is very well-kept for its age. However, if the spring is to be kept and only the shock absorber needs to be replaced, disassembling the telescopic strut is required.

Untensioning the spring is required to gain access to the shock absorber. While the spring boxes are being loosened, the damper unit is being taken out of the car. An arrow indicates the direction in which the component should be mounted.

Important: If you’re installing a new shock absorber, avoid using impact drivers. To remove the screw on the opposite side, undo the previous procedure.

Should this go unnoticed, the shock absorber might break apart while the vehicle is being driven, leading to a highly hazardous situation.

You must always replace the cups in your car when you replace the shock absorber.

7. Various other duties

Everything is put back together in the opposite order.

The shock-absorbing device located on the opposite side is also being substituted. All front axle components are generally changed out in pairs, meaning they are done so on both sides of the vehicle.

This is true for the brakes and other components, such as axle shafts, ball joints, or steering rods.

When changing the shock absorbers, these components will be taken off or loosened anyway, so it is best to inspect them thoroughly before putting them back together.

If the components are getting close to reaching their wear limit, now would be the ideal time to replace them as a preventative measure.

It is also an excellent time to examine the inner and outer CV joints if you haven’t already done so. If they are cracked or porous, they need to be replaced as well, and this is especially important if grease is leaking from them.

Although doing so will require additional labor, it is essential to remember that in exchange for an additional fee, you will receive a front axle that is in pristine condition.

Because changing out the shock absorber necessitates making adjustments to the steering axle’s geometry, the vehicle must be taken back to the shop after it has been assembled so that the wheels can be realigned.

If this does not occur, there is a risk that the front tires will wear heavily and unevenly due to a lack of directional stability.

These modern shock absorbers offer both comfort and protection.

The vehicle’s overall safety has been restored after having its shock absorbers recently serviced. Driving the car will be a more pleasurable experience as it will be much simpler to maintain control.

It will continue to steer in the same direction and will not veer. You will immediately be able to tell the difference in the vehicle after the replacement shock absorbers have been installed, at the very latest.

As a result, it is in your best interest to monitor the condition of the shock absorbers in your vehicle at all times. It is possible to avoid unwelcome shocks by performing checks every 18,500 to 30,000 miles.

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