Struts are a very basic and important part of your car’s suspension system. Struts are a combination of a shock absorber and coil spring. They both function together to smooth out the cars travel and ride. From changing your struts, you can experience a very smooth handling and riding plus shorter stopping distances. Shock absorbers improve the quality of rides by resisting and limiting the motion of the suspension.
Both shocks and struts have a direct influence on the braking system of the vehicle as well as the handling system. Worn out shocks will not only make it a bumpy ride but also hard for you to handle your vehicle at all times. That is the reason you need to keep your shocks and struts well maintained.
Never ignore any symptoms your car shows as struts and shocks are a basic issue but can increase and make your car age fast. It will cause more issues in other car parts as well if not fixed in time. Your shock absorbers can make issues in your brake lines and transmission as well. The whole suspension system gets disturbed if shocks and struts have worn out. There will be very small problems faced at first; then the car parts will start getting weaker.
Here is why you should change your shocks and struts:
Why should you change your shocks and struts?
In every 12k miles, you need to check your shocks and struts, which is an essential point to consider for any car owner. The symptoms of worn-out shocks and struts are:
- Heavy braking rides
- Aimlessly driving on the highway
- Hitting hard rocks or debris
- Transmission fluid is leaking
Struts and shocks are worn out easily; that is why it is necessary to get them replaced even if you experience one of the symptoms mentioned above. Shocks and struts are in the urban language used interchangeably, but in real facts, they both are different in function and distinct parts. Shocks are found in the rear and struts are found in the front. They both have never worn out together too. So you need to check your car manual to be sure that what part exactly is not working.
How to replace shocks
With the right tools, parts, and instructions, you can change your shocks easily. To replace them with new ones, you need some essential items for the job. It is highly recommended to the right after noticing the symptoms of a worn-out shock, to repair them or replace them for a smooth and relaxing drive.
Here are the essential items that you need to replace your shocks:
- New shock absorbers
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Basic hand tools
- Penetrating oil
- Utility knife
- Plastic mallet
- PB’ Blaster
Here are the steps to replace your shock absorbers:
- Park the vehicle on a level surface and then shut down the wheels on the ground. Use a floor jack to raise and secure the vehicle with jack stands. For more caution, leave the wheels on the vehicle for your safety and car’s as well. For stability, you have to be confirmed, and sure to leave the jack stands in the right spots and frame.
- Make the lower shock retaining nut loosen up. But make sure not to remove the bolts. The nuts on the shocks may be worn out rusted and difficult to remove so use some penetrating oil such as PB B Laster and then give some time to help loosen up. Use a nut splitter tool to remove the worn out and difficult nuts.
- Then try to locate the mounting and attached hardware at the top of the shock. Inspect the type of shock and see if two bolts retain it. If it is then a long socket extension will be required for it to access.
- Remove those two retaining bolts then. Your shock absorbers are automotive and will be retained by a stud or nut on top of the shock or bolt.
- Finish removing the nuts and tap out the bottom shock bolt using a plastic mallet.
- Then using the same technique remove the old shock.
- By inserting the lower bolt first, install the new shock. You will have to hand tighten the nut manually obviously.
- When the lower bottom bolt is in place. You will use a utility knife to cut the shock compression strap out carefully. The shock comes under pressure now as the compression strap is no longer there. It will start expanding slowly. The moment it starts expanding, be ready to insert the bolts right into the top of the shock and attached hardware.
- Torque the bottom bolts and nuts on top and properly specified.
- It is recommended by car professionals to replace shocks in pairs of two, so once the process has ended, you have already finished the first one. Repeat the process then for second bolt or shock.
How to replace struts
- If your mileage vehicle has the following signs and symptoms, then it may be time to change your struts.
- After encountering a bump on the road, if you face excessive bouncing, then it’s a sign of worn-out struts.
- Swaying from side to side
- Front end dives downward when braking.
- Fluid leaking from the strut when parked or running.
- Tools that you will need to replace your struts are:
- Car strut assembling supplies
- Breaker bar
- Basic hand tools
- Jack and jack stand
- Penetrating oil
- Shop towels
Steps of replacing struts are:
- Loosen the front tire’s nuts but make sure not to remove them.
- Put a jack-up on the side of the vehicle and place jack stand to make the vehicle stand and make sure to secure the jack because it is highly unsafe to ignore it.
- Now you may remove the lug nuts and wheel.
- Locate the stud and make sure to look for any brake lines that may be fastened to it. And if there are then remove the brake line and the fasteners without damaging.
- Now unscrew the bolts and the ones that are on the bottom. Connect it to the wheel steering components. Then use penetrating spray oil, a socket, and breaker bar as well as a box wrench to remove the stubborn bolts if they are rusted or difficult to remove.
It also depends on your vehicle if there is anti-roll or stabilizer bar that is in need to be removed.
- Now you need to open the hood of the car and locate top of the stud where it is attached to the car. In most cars, it will appear to be three bolts in a circular pattern with a center bolt. You have to make sure not to remove the center bolt. As the strut compressed under high pressure and loosening the center bolt will allow it to fly loose and will damage anything that comes in its way.
It will be helpful if you have a partner to help you do the job. To hold the strut and keep it from falling etc.
- Now remove the old strut from the wheel and avoid contact with the CV axle, so you don’t damage them.
- Now install the quick strut following manufacturer’s directions in the manual.
- You will repeat the procedure now for the other strut on the next side.
- To make sure your job is done, take the vehicle for a short test drive. Confirm your repair then it will be taking your car to a trustworthy mechanic to align the car.
If you notice any symptoms of worn-out shocks or struts, use the info mentioned above and start repairing your car. But make sure to get it checked and aligned from your trustworthy care professional so you can confirm your car’s hardware. For basic maintenance of the car, you need to inspect your car every weekend so it ages gracefully and so you are in peace and so s your routine.
If anything happens to the car, your problems will only increase or add up. A car if fixed completely from a mechanic will get expensive for its repairs. You should know how to repair basic parts of the car such as the struts and shocks, so you don’t need to spend extra money on these basic issues. It will also make you feel stress-free, and you will also save your hard-earned money.