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How to replace your shock absorbers

Peter Sitkowski | 18th Jan 2024 | 5 minutes to read

Shock absorbers are integral for keeping constant traction on the road, which is important for safety while driving but also when braking, as tyre contact with the road helps to reduce braking distances.

They are also important for improving your overall drive, offering more stability for your suspension, dampening the impact of bumps and uneven road surfaces, and helping to preserve other suspension components such as struts, springs, and bushings.

Replacing your shock absorbers when they start to wear down can help to prevent the premature wear and damage to the other components of your suspension, as well as helping to preserve your tyres.

Below are the basic steps for a shock absorber replacement, but it does depend on your vehicle, so make sure you check the owner's manual and figure out the structure of your suspension system:

  1. Safety & Required Tools
  2. Preparing the Vehicle
  3. Removing the Wheels
  4. Locating the Shock Absorbers
  5. Preparing the Shock Absorber Mounts
  6. Removing the Old Shock Absorbers
  7. Installing the New Shock Absorbers
  8. Reattaching Wheels
  9. Testing the Shock Absorbers
  10. Suspension Components at Repco

Tools for the Job

  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Wheel Brace
  • Socket and ratchet set
  • Penetrating oil
  • Torque wrench
  • New shock absorbers compatible with the vehicle's make and model

Safety & Required Tools

A shock absorber replacement is relatively simple in many cases, but newer cars often have more compact, and therefore more difficult, suspension systems than older cars. As with any car job, rusted bolts, damage struts, or other problematic components will make the job more difficult and more dangerous, so be aware that you might have to take more time and care with an older vehicle as well.

You will also be dealing with coiled springs and heavy components, so make sure you take proper safety precautions when performing the replacement.

Make sure that your shock absorbers are compatible with your vehicle by either using our online Rego Search or by using your owner's manual or online resources. Make sure you have all the correct tools for the job, including jack stands for added safety, as any time when you are working under your vehicle, accidents can occur.

You'll also want proper PPE such as safety goggles, gloves, and steel cap boots to avoid injury to falling components.

Preparing the Vehicle

Park the vehicle on a level surface and engage the parking brake. Loosen the wheel nuts on the wheels using a lug wrench but refrain from removing them completely. Use a jack to lift the car, supporting it securely on jack stands to ensure stability and safety during the replacement.

Removing the Wheels

Fully remove the wheel nuts and wheels to access the shock absorbers. Set the removed wheels aside in a secure location. This step grants access to the suspension components for inspection and replacement.

Locating the Shock Absorbers

Inspect the vehicle's suspension to locate the shock absorbers. They are typically situated near the wheels and connected to the suspension components. Identify the upper and lower mounting points of the shock absorbers.

Preparing the Shock Absorber Mounts

Spray the bolts and mounting points of the shock absorbers with penetrating oil to loosen any rust or corrosion. Allow the oil to penetrate for a few minutes to facilitate easier removal.

Removing the Old Shock Absorbers

Using a suitable socket and ratchet, carefully remove the bolts securing the upper and lower mounts of the shock absorbers. Support the shock absorber as the last bolt is removed to prevent it from dropping suddenly.

Installing the New Shock Absorbers

Position the new shock absorbers into place, aligning the upper and lower mounting points correctly. Securely tighten the bolts using a torque wrench to the manufacturer's recommended torque specifications.

Reattaching Wheels

Place the wheels back onto the wheel studs and hand-tighten the wheel nuts in a star pattern to ensure even tightening. Lower the vehicle from the jack stands and use a torque wrench to tighten the wheel nuts to the specified torque settings.

Testing the Shock Absorbers

Before driving the vehicle, perform a visual inspection to ensure the shock absorbers are properly installed and secured. Test the vehicle's suspension by gently bouncing each corner to check for smooth movement and absence of abnormal noises.

You’ll also want to inspect around the wheels and suspension for any loose components or leaks. Dispose of any used materials responsibly and clean the work area.

Suspension Components at Repco

Not only do we have a wide variety of shock absorbers at Repco, we also have tons of suspension parts like leaf springs, strut mounts, springs, and sway bars to help you with your next build or fix-up project.