4 FAQs On Shock Absorber Replacement
Here are four frequently asked questions on replacing bad shocks:
1. What Is A Shock Absorber?
Commonly referred to as a “shock,” a shock absorber is a suspension component responsible for controlling the up and down motion of your car’s wheels.
The shock absorber’s function is to ensure your vehicle’s tires stay on the ground consistently by managing how the suspension and spring move. This allows your tires to touch the road surface whether driving straight, going over hills, or driving on a bumpy road.
2. What’s The Difference Between A Shock And A Strut?
A shock absorber and a strut are different components of the car’s suspension system.
The strut is built into your suspension system while the shock absorber connects two parts of the suspension. So the strut contains the coil spring and the shock absorber within itself.
Cars will either have a shock or a strut for each wheel — never both. Modern cars have struts on the front wheels and rear axle shocks on the back. So your vehicle’s weight is placed on top of the complete strut assembly and not the rear shocks when driving.
3. How Often Should Shocks Be Replaced?
Previously, the “rule-of-thumb” was to have your shock absorbers replaced every 50,000 miles.
However, as vehicle technology improves, your shock absorbers can last anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 miles.
4. How To Perform A Shock Absorber Replacement?
Replacing the shocks the wrong way can negatively impact the related steering, braking, and suspension components. The resulting additional wear can quickly add up to repair expenses.
So, unless you have ample automotive knowledge and the right tools, you should let a certified mechanic handle the shock absorber replacement for you.
Here’s an overview of how to replace a bad shock absorber:
Before the replacement:
- Do a thorough inspection of the car suspension system to confirm if the shock absorber needs replacing. Other suspension parts like the strut mount, ball joint, tie rod, etc., can also lead to an underperforming car suspension system.
- Gather all the tools required for shock absorber replacement — new shock absorber, floor jack, jack stands, hand tools, penetrating oil, rubber mallet, etc.
During the replacement:
- Use a floor jack, raise the vehicle and secure it with jack stands.
- Loosen the shock tower bolts using some penetrating oil
- Locate the mounting hardware at the top of the shock and remove the mounting bolt.
- Complete removing the nut and tap out the bottom shock bolt using a rubber mallet.
- Remove the old shock and install the new shock absorber by inserting the lower bolt first.
- Cut the shock compression strap with a utility knife.
- Torque the nuts on the top and bottom bolts to the correct specifications.