How to Fit a Shock Absorber to a Car

Updated February 21, 2017

Shock absorbers dampen the suspension of most automobiles, and when they wear out they require replacement. Fitting a shock to a car is a simple process once you have removed the old shock. Just be sure to replace the shock with the exact size as the old model. The average backyard mechanic can replace a shock absorber in about 30 minutes, with only a few basic tools required.

Determine whether the vehicle must be lifted to access the shock absorber. You can remove some shocks without removing the wheel; other models have mounts that you cannot easily reach with the wheel in place. If you can take the shock out without removing the wheel, proceed to Step 3.

Lift the car with the floor jack, and remove the wheel by turning the lug nuts counterclockwise. Place a jack stand on the frame rail for support.

Remove the lower shock mount nut by turning it counterclockwise. Do not slide the shock from the bolt; it should remain in place at this time to prevent decompression.

Remove the upper mount bolt or screws by turning them counterclockwise. Some models have a mount plate with vertical screws; other models have simple bolts running through the shock's eyelet mount. Hold the bolt head while turning the nut counterclockwise, then slide the bolt out of the eyelet.

Slide the bottom of the shock off the mount bolt, and the shock will drop out.

Position the new shock onto the top mount first, securing the bolt or screws by turning them clockwise until they are tight. Slide the bolt into the eyelet mount, then hold it with a socket wrench while turning the nut.

Cut the keeper strap on shock body with the snips. The shock will begin to slowly decompress; as it does, quickly slide the bottom eyelet over the mount bolt. If the shock decompresses too far, you may find it difficult to push it into place. Secure the mount nut by turning it clockwise. Remove the remaining keeper strap debris.

Replace the wheel, if applicable, by turning the lug nuts clockwise in an alternating pattern. Remove the jack stand, then lower the car with the floor jack by slowly turning the jack's pressure screw counterclockwise.


Use extreme caution when working underneath a vehicle.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor jack
  • Jack stand
  • Lug wrench
  • Socket set
  • Snips
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Eli Laurens is a ninth-grade physics teacher as well as a computer programmer and writer. He studied electrical engineering and architecture at Southern Polytechnic University in Marietta, Ga., and now lives in Colorado.