The Honda Civic, no matter what year or model, retained a base design that makes it easy for the nonmechanic to perform general maintenance. In the long run, this makes the Civic an economically smart car to own. Replacing the shocks on a Civic is a job that can be done in a few hours with a minimum of tools. Best of all, once you've learnt the process on one type of Civic, you've acquired the skills to replace the shocks on all Honda Civics.
Loosen the lug nuts on the tire of the side on which the first shock will be replaced. Do this while the tire is still on the ground.
Jack the car up. Make sure you place the jack under the identified lifting points on the Civic to prevent damage to the frame. Consult the owner's manual for the exact location of these points.
Transfer the weight of the car from the jack to the jack stand by placing the jack stand near the jack, raising the jack slightly higher then necessary and lowering the car onto the jack stand.
Remove the tire from the car.
Fit a socket to the bottom nut on the bolt holding the shock in place. Loosen the nut on the bolt by turning the nut counterclockwise. Do the same on the top of the shock.
Remove the nut from the bottom of the shock and push the shock off the bolt. Wait a few minutes before continuing, as the shock will fully expand.
Pull the top end of the shock off the bolt and remove the shock from the car.
Remove the shock from its packaging but do not remove the plastic handing around the shock. This is what holds the shock in its compressed position.
Slide the bottom of the shock over the bottom retaining bolt and hand-tighten the nut.
Line the top of the shock up with the top shock retaining bolt. Break the plastic compression band. Hold the shock and let it expand slowly, sliding the top bolt hole of the shock over the bolt when they meet.
Hand-tighten the nut onto the top shock bolt. Use a socket wrench to tighten both the bottom and top nuts to finish installing the new shock. Turn the nut with the socket wrench one turn past "hand-tight" to properly secure the shock.
Reattach the tire and repeat these steps for each shock to be replaced. Make sure that the tire is securely attached to the wheel hub before lowering it back to the ground and raising the next side of the Honda Civic on which the shock needs to be replaced.
Always replace shocks in pairs, whether the front pair or the rear. This will prevent uneven wear on the tires.
Never replace shocks on any car with the car only supported by a jack. Jacks can easily collapse or fall, causing serious injury.