How to Replace Front Shock Absorbers

What You'll Need
Floor Jack
Jack Stands
Ratchets and Socket Set

Front shock absorbers are invaluable for a smooth ride. These shock absorbers dampen the vibrations caused by bumps in the road so that riding in the vehicle is much more bearable for the passengers in the car. If you notice that the front end seems to dip into the bumps, you feel a hard bounce, a vibration through the floorboards, or just an overall bumpy ride, your front shock absorbers probably need to be changed. Here are some easy steps to follow in replacing your front shock absorbers.

Step 1 - Park Car on Level Ground

Before you start to jack up the front of the car to get at the shocks, you will need to park the car on a flat stable area. Working in a garage would be ideal, but if that is not possible, then park the car on a flat area.

Step 2 - Loosen Retainer Nut

Once the car has been parked on a flat surface, you can then open the hood and locate the top retaining bolt of the shock. It is housed on the side of the engine compartment. Spray the housing unit with some WD-40 before you start. Let it penetrate into the threads to make loosening the retaining nut easier. Use the ratchet and start to loosen the nut, the washer, and the rubber mounting.

Step 3 - Jack Front End of Car Up

man carrying a hydraulic jack

Place the floor jack under the front end of the car, on the center area behind the radiator, and start to lift the car up in the air. Once it is up in the air enough, set the jack stands on the frame on each side of the car.

Step 4 - Loosen Bolts on Bottom of Shock

The front shock absorbers have a bottom retaining bolt that will also need to be loosened so that the shock can be removed.

Step 5 - Remove Old Shock Absorber

Once both ends of the shock absorber have been loosened, you can then pull the absorber out from the bottom of the A frame. Once the front shock absorbers have been removed, discard them quickly. You will not be using them again, and you will not want to get them confused with the new ones.

Step 6 - Install New Shocks

Slip the new front shock absorber into the A frame, and make sure that the top washers and rubber mounts are on the top bolt. Push the shock all the way to the top of the housing. Tighten the bottom retaining bolts to a torque that is the same as what it was on the old shocks or as your owner’s manual suggests.

Step 7 - Tighten Top Bolt

torque wrench

Go back under the hood of the vehicle and locate the top portion of the shock. Place the retaining nut back on the top of the shock and tighten.

Step 8 - Repeat Process on Other Side

With one side of the car completed, you can then move to the other side and repeat the process with the second front shock absorber. Once that is completed, remove the jack stands and lower the car. Take the car for a test drive to make sure that the shocks are working correctly.