Does your Nissan need new shocks or struts? If you have never replaced your shocks or struts before, this guide will walk you through every step of the process. By replacing your own shocks or struts, you’ll get to save money on labor and ensure that the job is done right.
The Difference Between Shocks And Struts
If you’re not sure whether your Nissan has shocks or struts, we have good news: it’s really easy to tell the difference between the parts.
The strut is a part of the vehicle’s structural system whereas the shock is not. Shocks simply absorb the impact when your car drives over a bump. Struts do more than absorbing the impact. Struts also have springs that support the weight of the car.
Some cars have struts at all 4 wheels, some have shocks at all 4 wheels, and some have struts at 2 wheels and shocks at the other 2 wheels. If you’re not sure what your car has, look behind your wheels. Shocks are installed vertically behind the wheel and they’re simple tube-shaped parts. They’re connected to the frame or body and the axle or control arm. Struts have a more complicated design with a coil spring wrapped around an integrated shock absorber. As the strut supports the weight of the vehicle, struts have beefier mounting points than shocks do.
Shocks are pretty easy to replace because they’re typically only connected to the car with two or three bolts. Struts are harder to replace because there is a lot more work involved and it's fairly complicated. However, it can be done with the right tools and this tutorial.
Signs Of Worn Shocks Or Struts
There are many telltale signs that your shocks or struts have gone bad. A few of the most common ones include:
- Shaking steering wheel
- Nosediving when braking hard
- Uneven tire wear
- Increased stopping distances
- Rougher ride
If you want to formally confirm that your shocks or struts are bad, here's a diagnostic guide to follow.
Why You Should Replace Your Shocks Or Struts ASAP
Even though you technically can still drive on bad shocks or struts, it’s still not a good idea to do so. Malfunctioning shocks lead to a lot of issues, including:
- Longer stopping distances
- Less control during acceleration
- Poor handling
- Faster wear and tear of other parts like the tires and springs
How To Replace Nissan Shocks
When you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and replace your shocks, here’s a set of instructions to follow:
- Lift your Nissan. You can do this either with a floor jack or a car lift.
- Remove one of the wheels you’re going to be working on.
- Remove the top shock mounting bolt.
- Remove the bottom bolt.
- Take the shock out.
- Install the new shock. Make sure the holes line up with the bolts. Sometimes it helps to use a floor jack to raise the lower control arm to align the holes.
- Tighten the bolts.
- Reinstall the tire.
- Repeat the process with all the other shocks on your car.
How To Replace Nissan Struts
If you have struts that need to be replaced, here’s how the process goes: (Please note that this is an overview. It's best to look up a video for your specific vehicle.)
- Remove the wiper blades.
- Remove the rubber trim around the cowl.
- Remove the cowl.
- Lift your Nissan with a floor jack.
- Remove the tire.
- Remove the cables and hoses that are connected to the strut.
- Remove the upper sway bar link that’ attached to the strut.
- Remove the two bolts on the bottom of the strut that’s connected to the lower control arm.
- Loosen the top bolts under the cowl you removed earlier.
- Remove the whole strut. You can ask a friend to help you remove it to prevent it from falling on your feet.
- Install the new strut in the reverse order of removal.
Finding Affordable OEM Replacement Shocks And Struts
Not only will you save a lot of money on labor by replacing the shocks and/or struts yourself, but you can also save quite a few bucks on the replacement parts. At NissanPartsPlus.com, we offer wholesale pricing for genuine OEM Nissan parts, including shocks and struts. Check them out to see how much money you can save!