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How Much Does A Shock Absorber Replacement Cost
Expect to pay anything from $250 to $580 for a shock absorber replacement. Even if there’s an issue with one shock absorber, it’s usually recommended to replace the pair.
A single shock absorber can cost between $50 to $140, based on the car model. That’s anywhere from $100 to $280 for a pair of new shocks. The associated labor costs can be around $150 to $300, depending on your vehicle’s ease of access and the mechanic’s hourly rate.
If you have a worn strut, you’ll pay a higher strut replacement cost as you’d need an expert to disassemble the loaded strut and perform an additional wheel alignment.
How Urgent Is A Shock Absorber Replacement?
Unless a complete strut assembly fails, you can drive in the early stages of damage. Replacing the worn shock absorber is, however, an inevitable repair.
Plus, certain symptoms have a greater urgency than others. Symptoms such as a loss of driving control require immediate attention. Ignoring this can place you and others in danger while on the road.
Signs You Need A Shock Absorber Replacement
Here are eight common symptoms of a bad shock absorber:
Bumpy ride: When your shock absorbers are going bad, the ride in the vehicle is bumpy, especially speed bump drop-offs. It’ll worsen until you feel all road surface defects.
Knocking noise: If you’re going over speed bumps or potholes and hear a knocking sound, it could be a coil spring from your shocks hitting your car’s chassis.
Vibrating steering wheel: If the valve and piston seals in the shocks are worn, fluid flow won’t be regulated, causing the steering wheel to vibrate each time you hit a bump.
Fluid leak: Oil on the lower portion of a shock absorber, on the inner walls of your tires, or spots on the ground when you park, could point to broken shock absorber seals.
Swerving: A faulty shock absorber can cause the weight of your car to move in the opposite direction while you’re turning, and it’ll take more work to fix the turn.
Braking problems: Bad shock absorbers allow the front end of your vehicle to “dip” or “squat” when the brakes are applied, and your car may take longer to slow down.
Steering problems: Shock absorbers help stabilize your vehicle by maintaining balanceon a rough road. Bad shocks may impact your ride comfort by making your car dip, sway, or lift.
Uneven tire wear: Bad shock absorbers can cause your tires to be unevenly placed on the road. Your vehicle will begin to bounce as you drive, as some tire surfaces wear out faster than others.
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 afloor 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.