Struts are an essential component to any car that help it travel more smoothly and prevent unnecessary, uncomfortable bounces. Usually, you’re advised to change the struts every 40,000 miles, but to check if your car really needs its struts changed, check the tire treads. If the car starts having problems with handling or the tread marks on it are uneven, you will need to change them. You can get all the equipment required to change your car’s struts at your local automotive shop; ask for assistance and give the vehicle type to get pointed in the right direction. Also, something with very useful information that anyone rarely references can come in handy, your car’s owner’s manual! It has all the information there is to know about your vehicle.
The basic tools you’ll need will be: a wrench set, a socket set, a hammer, a Johnson bar, a spring compressor, jaw pullers, a torque wrench, and your car’s torque specifications. Make sure the tools and equipment are the correct ones before you get started, no improvising. The last thing you want is to get injured, inadvertently hurt the performance of your car, or create an unsafe driving experience because you decided to take the easy way out. The job is also gonna require a car jack, which you can either rent or buy. Now, once you have everything you need, we can move forward to the actual fun part:
1. First off, raise the car on the jack as if you were going to change the tires and make sure it’s safely supported.
2. Next, remove the wheel corresponding to the strut you’re changing.
3. Remove the end-link of the strut, replace if necessary. Also, remove any brackets or wire clips that may be on the strut.
4. If the tie rod is attached to the strut, you will need to remove that with a jaw puller.
5. Loosen the strut-knuckle bolts on the strut to remove the brake caliper. In some vehicles, you may need to remove another part, such as the rotor, to be able to loosen the bolts.
6. Remove only the upper and lower nuts and bolts! NOT the center. Once you do this, the strut assembly will come loose and you can remove it.
7. After using the spring compressor to remove pressure off the upper strut mount, remove the shaft nut with a wrench or socket. You should now be able to remove the strut.
8. Evaluate your struts. Check to see what needs to be replaced and what you can use again.
9. Replace all the parts that need replacing on the strut and save all the parts you will transfer.
10. Using torque specifications, torque the shaft nut onto the new strut.
11. Lastly, reinstall everything in the corresponding order from removal. Double check everything and do the same for the next 3 struts.
Remember that struts always need to be replaced in pairs for safety reasons, to avoid an off-balanced driving experience. If there are any strange bolts or fasteners that you don’t have the tools for on the top or bottom of the strut, you can spray these with penetrating fluid to loosen them up a bit before starting. It’s better to be organized to avoid losing any important parts or pieces. After you have finished replacing the struts, you should always get an alignment check to make sure the strut changing was a success. Anyone can change struts if they have the right tools and equipment as well as the knowledge to do so. However, if you find yourself in some trouble, you can always get professional help from your local mechanic to avoid doing anything catastrophic.