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How to Replace Your Rear Struts

If you feel as if you're riding an amusement park ride instead of a car, there's a great chance that you may have to replace your struts. Apart from endangering your safety, postponing the replacement of your worn-out struts will also result to a rough and bouncy ride. Replacing the struts can be a long and tiresome job. However, armed with the right tools and a handy set of instructions, you can save up on repair costs and replace your faulty struts by yourself.

Required skill level: Intermediate

Needed tools and materials

  • Strut spring compressor
  • Wrench and socket set
  • Lug wrench
  • Anti-seize compound or spray lubricant
  • Jack and jack stands
  • Preparing your vehicle

    Loosen the lug nuts on the wheels before jacking the vehicle up. After supporting it securely with the jack stands, fully remove the lug nuts followed by the wheels.

    Removing the brake line bracket and the sway bar link

    For some vehicles, the brake line is attached to the strut assembly. Remove the clip that holds the brake line using a screwdriver. Using the appropriate socket, unbolt the sway bar link from the strut housing.

    Unbolting the strut

    Since the strut assembly has probably rusted and gathered debris, apply some lubricant or anti-seize compound. Let it soak the area first before removing any bolts. Remove the pinch bolt that holds the bottom part of the strut. Finally, remove the top strut bolts followed by the rest of the strut assembly.

    Compressing the strut

    Using your spring compressor, collapse the spring on the strut. Remove the top nut on the spring while holding the spring compressor in place. Remove any washers and bushings before removing the strut from the spring. Place the spring on the new strut.

    Installing the new strut

    Mount the new strut in place and bolt it from the bottom up. Repeat the previous steps to replace the struts on the other side.

    Tips and warnings

    • For safety purposes and to ensure a smooth and balanced ride, always replace your struts in pairs.
    • Don't forget to have a wheel alignment procedure after replacing your struts.

    Struts Articles

    • KYB vs. AC Delco: Who Makes the Best Strut? 22 February 2013

      The quality of the shocks in your car can greatly affect ride quality, so if you want to get a comfortable driving experience it's only right that you get a high-quality strut. But with so many options in the market, finding a good strut can be difficult especially for the novice buyer. In this review, we've tested two of the most popular brands of struts - KYB and AC Delco - on a 2009 Equinox to determine which one provides the best performance at an affordable price.


      Reliability

      Both KYB and AC Delco struts feature drawn-over mandrel tubing for high temperature and wear resistance, although the AC Delco struts features a lubricated chrome piston rod that is more resistant to corrosion and wear (particularly during high-temperature operating conditions). Both struts also feature a heavy duty O-ring piston seal that protects against oil blow-by and increased resistance.

      WINNER: AC Delco


      Performance

      One of the main selling points of the AC Delco strut is their custom-tuned gas-charge, which allows for increased driving comfort. KYB struts, on the other hand, focus more on keeping the vehicle's original handling and control by featuring components calibrated to adapt to various suspension systems. We took both AC Delco and the KYB struts for several spins around the track, and while the AC Delco strut gave quite a comfortable ride, the KYB strut felt like we were driving with a stock strut - which can be good or bad depending on your preferences.

      WINNER: KYB


      Extra features

      KYB struts are designed for OEM specifications, meaning that they are meant to function in the same manner as the stock strut and thus don't have much in the way of extras. On the other hand, AC Delco does feature motion-sensitive valves that immediately adjust to various operating conditions as well as electrostatic paint for optimum protection even under intense operating environments.

      WINNER: AC Delco


      The verdict

      If you are the type of person that likes the same old suspension feel of your vehicle, KYB struts are a good choice. But if you want something with a little more oomph, an AC Delco strut is definitely something worth choosing.

    • How to Install Struts in 5 Steps 22 February 2013

      A malfunctioning strut not only impairs a vehicle's steering and suspension but also puts the lives of both the driver and passenger at risk. So if you notice any signs that your car's struts are not functioning properly (such as rattling noises or a bouncy drive, for example) it must be inspected and replaced if necessary. Thankfully, installing a new pair of struts in most vehicles is relatively easy and can take a couple of hours to an entire day to accomplish depending on your experience in handling and repairing car components.


      Required skill level: Intermediate

      Needed tools and materials

        Wrench and socket set

        Jack and safety stands

        Strut spring compressor

        Breaker bar


      Raise the vehicle up

      Loosen the bolts securing the wheel (but don't remove them) and lift the car up with your spare tire jack. Place a pair of jack stands underneath the chassis to prevent the vehicle from falling in case the jack fails. Once secured, detach the wheel and place blocks under the control arm.


      Remove the sway bar links and brake lines

      Take out the end-link of the sway bar from the car's control arm. We also recommend inspecting the end-link for damage or severe wear and replace it if necessary. In addition, if your car has brake lines or ABS wire that's supported on the strut assembly, you should remove these as well.


      Take out the pinch and top strut bolts

      In most cases, the strut is held in place by a pinch bolt and must be removed. This can be a little difficult to take out however, so we recommend using a breaker bar to make this task a little easier. Next, place another jack under the brake disc or drum and raise it just enough to alleviate some pressure on the strut. Remove the access panels in the trunk your of car interior and unscrew all the top strut bolts.


      Remove the strut assembly

      Once all the nuts and bolts have been removed, remove the strut assembly from your vehicle. Use a spring compressor to take the pressure of the strut mount spring and remove the shaft nut with a wrench. Once that's done, detach the strut from the strut assembly.


      Install the new strut

      Take the new strut and attach it to the strut assembly. Put back the assembly in the reverse order you removed it, making sure that the strut shaft nut is tightened according to specs and the spring compressor removed properly. Reinstall the brake hose, end-link and other parts you removed previously. Reattach the wheel, lower the vehicle, and repeat the process on the other side.

    • The Clash of the Struts: KYB vs. Monroe 11 January 2013

      When it comes to improving your vehicle's ride quality or restoring its 'new car' feel, going for topnotch struts is the way to go. But with several brands and options on the market, the hunt for the perfect struts can be quite challenging. To help you with your search, here's the lowdown on two very popular manufacturers of aftermarket struts: KYB and Monroe.


      Product range

      With five different product ranges, Monroe offers you more choices for struts. Monroe has the Sensa-Trac premium shocks and struts, the Quick-Strut series for the fastest and easiest strut installation, the OESpectrum struts that gives an incomparable original equipment feel, the Reflex series that prioritizes ride comfort, and the Monro-Matic Plus that features nitrogen gas-charged struts for cheap yet comfortable performance. On the other hand, KYB presents two great strut options: the KYB GR-2 or Excel-G struts for those who want original equipment performance, and the AGX struts for those who want more power from their struts.

      WINNER: Monroe


      Ease of installation

      Although Monroe offers the Quick-Strut assembly that only requires you to remove and replace the struts without the hassle of compressing and taking apart the whole assembly, we chose to pit the KYB Excel-G struts to the Monroe Sensa-Trac struts instead. Although both are slightly more challenging to install than the remove-and-replace Quick-Strut, they are still much easier and faster to set up than other conventional struts.

      WINNER: KYB and Monroe


      Performance and ride quality

      Even though both struts flaunt original equipment performance, we found out that they actually give a somewhat different ride quality. When we tested the struts on our Chevy, the Excel-G struts seemed to offer a firmer and more controlled handling than the Sensa-Truc struts and even a bit firmer than the OEM ones. While both struts were comfortable and presented near-OEM quality, we prefer the KYB Excel-G ones a tad more-especially when combined with the KYB Gas-a-Just shocks.

      WINNER: KYB


      Verdict

      If you're looking to restore the original ride and handling of your vehicle, then both KYB and Monroe offer some good strut options. In terms of performance, KYB struts can give your car a sportier, firmer ride. But if you're looking for a softer feel, the Monroe struts are the way to go. Since their price differences are very small, the deciding factor in this strut clash is your ride quality preference.