Shocks And Struts Replacement: What You Need To Know

Car shocks and struts need to be replaced periodically and often if your car has worn out shocks and struts you might also notice other symptoms such as shaking or excessive tire wear. This article will explain the importance of car shocks and struts, how to recognize symptoms that your shocks and struts need to be replaced, how much struts replacement costs can vary depending on the type of car, and how it’s possible to get discounted rates.

The Importance of Shocks and Struts

A strut is a mechanical device that holds the wheel to the car’s chassis. They are attached from one side of the vehicle to the other, so they’re a critical part of a car’s suspension system. The struts themselves are made up of metal and rubber components. They’re responsible for absorbing shock and controlling the movement of the wheel when going over bumps or uneven roads.

Strut failure can lead to serious trouble. For example, if the strut is damaged, the wheel may move up and down with violent tugs of the steering wheel. It might even flip and land on the driver.

With a malfunctioning suspension system, the car may begin to hydroplane, or “float’ over wet roads. This is because the strut and wheel lift off the road at high speeds, causing the car to tilt and roll over on its side.

Since the suspension is at fault, struts are often an early suspect in any vehicle that shows abnormal handling or performance problems. Some folks have theorized that a strut being low on fluid could lead to complications with the steering. This is a theory that hasn’t been proven, but a strut check can at least eliminate a problem.

This test involves a mechanic checking the strut fluid level and mobility by hand, or by an electronic monitor to ensure the level is correct, and that no leaks are present.

Strut replacement Cost and How Long Does It Take

Strut replacement cost is usually determined by the type of vehicle and the extent of the damage. Some vehicles require an entirely new set of struts while others can be fixed with a strut boot or a new bearing. It typically takes around three hours to complete the job and the cost ranges from $400 to $800 depending on what needs to be done with an additional $100 to $200 for labor.

car strut
Car strut.

Some shocks may require additional parts, which can increase the total cost. When replacing just one strut, they tend to go bad more quickly than they otherwise would by themselves. For this reason, it is important to always replace them in pairs not reusing the bad strut or overlaying a new one on top of an old one.

How To Check Strut Oil Level

Place a container under the strut and loosen the cap. If the fluid level is low add a small amount of new fluid.

Car oil dipstick.

Check that the level is correct by checking it with a dipstick. A new fluid should be about halfway up the stick. If you find that the level is low adding some fluid (an ounce or so) and then checking the level again will help to confirm that the new fluid is at the correct level. If it is, tighten the cap and check the vehicle for fluid leaks.

If you can go out into the open and look under the car, you will see if there is any fluid leaking out of the engine or oil pan. There should be none if your car is leak-free. If there is, there is something wrong and you should have it checked as soon as possible.

What Should I Do If I Get A Leak?

Liquid puddle from leak under the car.

If you notice a leak after the repair, then call the shop and let them know. They will send out a technician to check it out and if they notice a leak, then they will be able to fix it for you. You can also call a local auto parts store for assistance. They will be able to replace the specific part you need and it will save you money as well.

Can You Replace It Yourself?

It’s possible to replace struts yourself if you feel confident about doing so. But it requires a lot of time and effort, and in the end, you may not be able to do it correctly. If you don’t want to spend your time doing this, then call in the pros. They will be able to replace the part without any hassle.

Shocks replacement Cost and How Long Does It Take

Shocks are usually replaced when they reach the end of their service life. If you drive in prolonged high-impact conditions, your shocks will generally wear out much quicker than if you maintained a more sedate driving style.

Replacing shock absorber.

It is important to understand that parts such as shocks and struts wear out as a result of the forces on them. When the springs begin to wear out, the parts start to move under cyclic forces that are applied to them. Eventually, they just give up and stop working providing you are not regularly driving over rough surfaces that are causing them to vibrate.

The average cost to replace struts and shocks is around $1500. This includes labor and parts. If you’re looking to get an estimate, just contact a local auto repair shop and they should be able to give you a quote over the phone.

Shocks replacement procedure

There are a few things to consider when replacing shocks on a vehicle. The most important of these factors is the actual shock type. There are many different types of shocks, but the two most common are gas-charged and oil-filled.

Gas shock absorbers (left photo) and oil-filled shock (right photo).

For cars with gas-charged shocks, they do not need to be drained when they are replaced. The process is much the same as replacing a tire. The driver should make sure to use jack stands and safety goggles and gloves and resist the urge to over-torque the bolt.

Oil-filled shocks do need to be drained when they are replaced. This is because the old oil can drain out and leave the shock without the necessary lubrication. The process is otherwise much like replacing a tire, but there are specific tools that need to be used.

Depending on the size of the shock it may need to be removed from the vehicle by hand or with a floor jack. Owners should refer to their owner’s manual for the specifics on how to do this. The process of changing shocks can go up to 3 hours for a specialized mechanic, and would even take longer if you decide to do it on your own.

How to Replace Oil-Filled Shock

Oil-filled shocks can be very difficult to install as they have a dial on the back that has to be twisted to the proper setting. This is not something you want to mess with, as you could over-inflate the shock, and then the reservoir will leak.

There is also a fitting that can be unscrewed at the base of the shock, but this will displace the fluid that is contained in the reservoir. Some vehicles will allow you to remove the reservoir, but the same problem will occur as you cannot be sure that you have drained all of the fluid from the shock.

This process must be done very carefully. First, disconnect the airbag system. Then use some release agent on the reservoir’s base cap to stop it from sealing if one is provided. If the reservoir is removed, the fluid level will slowly go down over time, and there is no way to raise it unless you refill it with fluid. If the reservoir is not removed, it will be very difficult to remove all of the excess fluid in the shock.

If you have a vehicle that has this shock, here is how to proceed.

  • Disconnect the airbag system next. Then wait while some release agent is placed on the base cap of the shock. This will prevent it from sealing if one is provided.
  • While you are waiting, check the fluid level to be sure there is enough there to repair the shock.
  • After about 30 minutes, disconnect the negative battery cable of the vehicle to be sure it stays off.
  • Then unplug the negative battery terminal of the shock. This will allow you to more easily remove and replace the reservoir and shock cap.
  • Remove and replace the shock cap. If the reservoir is leaking, replace it with a new one. The fluid will have to be drained out of the old one at this point to prevent damage.
  • Replace the reservoir and shock cap, and reconnect the battery. Replace the positive battery cable of the vehicle to be sure it stays attached.
  • Reinstall the shock cap and tighten it to specification. Check that you have secured it properly with a screwdriver, and if necessary, reinstall the top or bottom radiator hose clamp.
  • Check that you have removed all of the air bubbles from your new coolant. While there should still be enough air in the system to run without any leaks, you may want to go over the whole system again to make sure there are still no air pockets.
  • Check the hoses to make sure they are securely fastened. Blowing air out of an air hose is a common cause of leaks. Replace any hoses that are showing any signs of leaks.
💡 Tip: It may help you remember the order to do the work if you name each hose as you check them. If you are doing this for the first time, or perhaps if you have not checked all of your hoses for a while, it may be a good idea to work from the radiator first and then on to the engine.

Given the technicality of the whole procedure of changing the struts and shocks, it may be very challenging for you to do it on your own.

Technically, the process requires a lot of attention and professionalism to make sure everything goes where it is supposed to. Additionally, there are various tools and equipment required for this job. It would be costly for you to consider purchasing them just for use once in a year when you need them. In this case, seeking the services of a qualified technician for an all-in-one service.

Symptoms of bad struts

How do you know if the struts are in bad condition? Struts help keep a car’s tires well aligned and under proper tension. Bad struts can accelerate tire wear by negatively impacting wheel alignment and stability, leading to abnormal tire wear patterns and pressure points.

A car that sways too far to one side or that jumps excessively, especially on rough or uneven terrain or at high speeds, is often a car that has worn struts. Worn struts lose their ability to maintain a car in tension and proper control, allowing a vehicle to experience excessive body sway, it also lose their ability to effectively stop excessive vehicle movement.

Most vehicle struts are filled with some type of hydraulic fluid, when struts go bad, they often begin to leak hydraulic. Another sign of bad struts is you can hear squeaks and creaks when you are turning the wheel while driving.


The strut replacement cost varies because it depends on the type of struts that are needed for the vehicle. For example, dual-stage or twin-tube gas-charged strut replacements are more expensive than the same strut replacement using rubber only. The reason is that rubber and metal do not tolerate each other.

It is very important to check the condition of the strut before replacement. The same can be said with the struts of other types. There is no such thing as a “stretch” or “strut” that is specific to your vehicle. What you install depends on the make and model of your car, not the make of struts.

When you need strut replacement costs, we can help. Big or small, we have the knowledge and experience to get the job done right. One of our top priorities is your safety and we will take all necessary precautions to ensure that any work we do for you is completed safely and with care.

If you want to learn more about auto repair in the best way possible, make sure to go online and read the articles. Get the best tips and tricks for all your automotive-related issues there. Also, make sure to keep reading this site as we will be publishing more information about auto repair and other related topics so stay tuned.

FAQ: Can I get price quotes from this website?

Answer: Yes. We are experts in this field and we have dealt with all types of struts and shocks for many years. We can give you the best advice on when to change your struts and shocks and the best products in the market.

We want to hear from you! What questions do you have about strut replacement cost? Ask them in the comments and we’ll be sure to answer.

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About Matthew Webb

Hi, I am Matthew! I am a dedicated car nerd! During the day, I am a journalist, at night I enjoy working on my 2 project cars. I have been a car nerd all my life, and am excited to share my knowledge with you!

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