If you have noticed that your vehicle has been experiencing rougher than normal handling, then chances are you may have a problem with the struts. One way to repair this problem is to take the vehicle into your mechanic and have them do the work for you. However, that method can be a tad expensive with it costing a minimum of $250.00. Save a bit of money by doing the work yourself and take the saved money and use it for something fun, like going out on a date.
- Obtain the replacement parts. Before you can begin replacing the struts on your vehicle, you will need to obtain the replacements. The easiest ways that you can do that is by going to your local auto parts store, or by going to your local dealer purchasing them there. The thing is, the local auto parts store will usually be a whole lot less expensive.
- Locate the strut tower. Open the hood to your vehicle, and then locate the strut tower. These can usually be found near the wheel wells on the side of engine housing.
- Loosen the bolts. When you have found the strut towers, locate the bolts that hold it in place. Using the appropriate tools, loosen (but do not remove) the bolts. Typically all you will have to do is break the tension on the bolts. Be sure that you loosen the bolts on all the struts.
- Raise the car. If you have one, use a lift to raise the entire vehicle. However, if you do not have one, then simply use some jack stands. Simply raise the car as you would when changing a tire, and place the jack stands appropriately.
- Remove the strut assembly. With the appropriate tires raised, begin removing the strut assembly. Typically these assemblies are held in place with three bolts, so when you remove them be prepared for the assembly to actually fall down. Be sure that you place each of the bolts in a secure location so that you don't lose them. With the bolts removed, you should have no problem removing the assembly (that is if it didn't fall). Place the assembly off to the side.
- Install the spring and strut bearing. On the old strut, point the compressor away from you and make sure that it is completely secured before you use a spring compressor to, well, compress the spring. Look at the very top of the strut, you should see a large nut on a disc, this is the strut bearing. Remove the nut, by holding the strut in place and using the appropriate tool to remove the nut. Set the spring and strut bearing onto the replacement parts.
- Assemble the replacement. Once you have put the spring over the new strut, you can begin assembling the replacement. Make sure that you have included any and all parts that you may have removed from the old strut that are not on the new one, and that you also replace the strut bearing and nut. Double check and make sure that you the proper amount of torque on the bearing and nut, by checking the manufacturer's specifications.
- Install. Put the new strut assemblies into the steering assembly, but only tighten the bolts finger tight, which will allow the assembly to move with little difficulty. Once the strut assemblies have been put in place, begin tightening the bolts to the correct amount of torque. Continue your efforts by replacing the tires the same way that you would when changing a tire. Lower the car off of the jacks or lift, and then again tighten the lugs on the wheels and on the strut tower.
- Inspect your work. With the vehicle back together, double check to make sure that all the bolts have been properly tightened. With the bolts tightened, take the car out for a quick spin and see if it is handling better. Be aware that the alignment may be off due to your work, so you may need to have an alignment job done.