How to Replace Truck Shocks: Detail Guide
For that smooth and even ride, you need your car to have great shocks. Your vehicle will come with shocks, but they will eventually wear out. Once they do, those potholes and bumps will be a nightmare and impossible to ignore.
Thinking about the suspension of your car can be intimidating. However, once you start working on it, you realize that it is much less complicated than putting together some of the furniture in your home. By doing some of this suspension work yourself, you will save a great deal of money. However, before you dive into the project, there are a couple of things you must understand.
The terms struts and shock are used together struts are great for suspension assembly which includes the installation of shock absorbers. They also include other parts like the coil spring.
Before you embark on changing your shock absorbers, you need to know the signs to look for when they wear out.
Signs that your shock absorbers have worn out:
For instance, when you notice your vehicle bottoms out over railroad tracks, it keeps bouncing well after a pothole or dips into the bumps on the road. You will also see that your car will produce some noises when you go over a bump.
It may even start to sway in turns, and sometimes the front end of the vehicle will dive sharply in hard breaking. In some severe cases, you will notice uneven tire wear or loss of steering control.
These shocks will not wear out at once. So you may be riding a bouncier car for so long that you may not realize it. It is a lot like the way you get used to longer stopping distances as the brake pads in your car continue to wear out.
A great way to test whether your shocks are great is to push down hard on every corner of your car. If the vehicles continue to bounce after you have let go, your shocks should be replaced. But this test will need a lot of strength and most high-riding SUV and truck will not have the power it needs to get the amount of bounce required for this test.
If your truck does not have enough strength for the bounce test, you may want to get a professional to look at your strut and shocks. The expert will check for leaks and any physical damage which will affect your vehicle’s bounce.
How to replace them:
Once you have seen that you need new shocks, changing them is easy.
Buy your shocks
Make sure that you contact a professional and thoroughly go through a user manual for your car’s model. That manual will tell you the most suitable shock absorbers for your truck. However, it is always recommended that you upgrade your shock absorbers for better cushioning. If you are an off-road adventurer, an upgrade will improve your general experience and will save you money because you will not have to change them as frequently.
Jack your truck into an appropriate position
Make sure that you have parked your car in a leveled place. Loosen the lug nuts on both the rear and the front end. Secure your car with jack stands or ramps. Read your user’s manual thoroughly to find out which is the correct positioning. Once the car is up, remove the wheels and find where the shocks are located.
In most cases, the shocks are affixed and have a vertical bolt that needs to be removed from the trunk. Sometimes, it may be at the top and requires a horizontal bolt that needs to be fastened and knocked out of position.
Spray the mountings with a metal cleaner
When your shocks are old, they will start leaking oils. Therefore the mountings will be dirty. Removing the shocks will probably be the toughest part of the entire project because they tend to be gunky. This fact makes it hard to remove bolts and bushings. If the mountings are not loose enough to be removed, spray a metal cleaner in there. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and try to loosen the bolts that you were unable to remove before.
Remove the bolts from the shock tower
Most trucks have a top bolt that is found under the fabric of its trunk. You will, therefore, have to lift the lining up to get to the shock bolts and to remove the socket and the ratchet. For most specific guidelines, check your user manual. Once you have found those bolts, unfasten then and turn the ratchet and socket counterclockwise. You also have to grease them with a penetrating fluid that will reduce the chances of rusting.
Disconnect the shock from the suspension
To disengage the nut that connects the shock to the suspension, use the nut splitter and remove it from the bolt. You can also use a penetrating solvent if there isn’t enough space.
Remove the old shocks.
Wiggle the shock absorbers can be problematic especially if your shocks have been mounted on studs with a retaining bracket and everything that is rusty. Wiggling it will allow it to come off.
Installing new shocks
You have to fit the shock back to the control arm. You may end up having to use a bit of pressure to constrict the shock so that it can fall into place. You might also need to have a helping hand for this part. It may be difficult for you to lift the suspension back up and to reinstall them into their correct position. You need to do some balancing so that will need another set of hands.
If you removed the antiroll bar, reinstall it at this point. Then replace the tower nuts that you removed during the process.
Repeat this process for the rest of the absorbers that need to be changed.
Replacing your shock absorbers by yourself is not tough. However, you have to be keen so that you replace everything and leave it exactly as you found it. It will save you money and leave you knowing a lot more about your precious truck.