Getting the Perfect Shock and Strut Boot
Your suspension system takes a lot of stress and strain to keep your vehicle running smoothly and comfortably. With a boot in place, you enhance the durability of your overtaxed shocks and struts. Buying a replacement isn't too complicated if you know what to look for. Just follow this simple list of do's and don'ts to get you on the right track.
Do make sure that you buy one that is specific for the make and model of your ride. Some heavier vehicles have larger struts and shocks. There is no"one-size fits all" when it comes to the protective boots.
Do look for the right dimensions when picking a boot. There are universal shock & strut boots out there, but they still vary based on the length and diameter of the shock and strut that they can accommodate. Check these measurements on a catalog very carefully.
Do try to go for the flexible accordion-type of boot as this allows for a greater deal of flexibility and compressibility. Because the shocks and struts tend to move about a bit, a boot that can follow along is a big plus.
Don't just buy the first one you see. Even when you find one that matches your make and model specifically, it pays off to check the dimensions of the openings against the ones you have on your car. Too loose and too tight simply won't cut it.
Don't be cheap. If you pinch a few pennies and get a boot made from cheap, flimsy plastics, you might just end up spending more later on. Rubber is the far more superior choice when it comes to the boot because it's far more flexible and less prone to cracking.
Another thing that bears mentioning is the mount that is almost always paired with the boot. You find this mount closer to the body of your vehicle, and it is a near-perfect match to the attached boot. It is less prone to damage, so if you want to save a little extra, you can safely just replace the boot, provided that the replacement matches the new boot.
Matching and pricing considerations
It helps to take advantage of online retailers that offer a drop-down matching system that lets you input your vehicle's year, make, and model prior to searching for a shock and strut boot. This makes the whole process more convenient. A good set of shock and strut boots (counting even the mount) will only set you back at least $10 and, at most, $30.
Shock and Strut Boot Installation Made Easy
Constantly checking on your boot goes a long way to protect your exposed shocks and struts from abrasive damage, corrosion, and rust. With this simple guide, we take the mystery out of shock and strut boot replacement, and allow you to undertake replacing and installing a new boot simpler and more cost-effective!
Time to Complete: 45 minutes to an hour
What You'll Need:
- New shock and strut boot/s
- Jack stands
- Owner's manual
- Socket set
- Pry bar
- Wrench set and pry bar
- Spring compressor
Step 1: Disengage your battery and wait at least half an hour before beginning.
Step 2: Jack up your vehicle and prop it carefully on stands.
Step 3: Loosen the lug nuts and carefully remove your wheels.
Step 4: Remove the three nuts at the top of the strut-do NOT however remove the central nut as this will decompress the strut and may cause you harm.
Step 5: Pry the strut away and remove the strut.
Step 6: Using a spring compressor, tighten the spring down flat.
Step 7: Take off the strut mount pulling it and its spring off.
Step 8: Install the new mount and boot-in that order-and re-install the spring and mount, reversing the steps above.
Step 9: Repeat steps 3-8 for each shock and strut that you want to install the boots on.
Step 10: Secure and fasten the wheels onto the car-check for tire pressure and secure tightness of lug nuts before removing the stands and lowering your vehicle.
Step 11: Reattach battery and do a couple of test drives-at slow speeds-to ensure that everything is a-ok.
- Always wear safety goggles and gloves before working on your vehicle.
- Make sure that the jack stands are underneath a solid and strong part of your undercarriage before placing yourself under your car.
- Check each bolt and screw after reinstalling them to make sure they fit tightly.