Unlike the front struts, rear shock absorbers are usually not too difficult to replace. They are much smaller and easier to access. If you have a lift, changing shocks can be one of the easier repairs to do on a car. Even without a lift, only a minor amount of mechanical ability is needed to do this job quickly and efficiently.
Start the job by purchasing the type of shocks that you will use for replacement. Most of the time, you will just buy replacement parts that identical to the ones being removed. However, this can be a good time to install heavy duty shocks or an upgrade on the quality of shocks. Putting in heavier shocks can be a benefit if you are always carrying loads near the weight capacity of the vehicle. They are not as good as beefing up the springs, but you will get some benefit in the vehicle’s stability. Upgraded shocks will come with a better warranty and should last longer.
If you choose to use a jack for this job, use stands to hold the vehicle up rather than depend on the jack to do it alone. Since you will be almost fully beneath the car tugging and pulling on it, protect yourself by using the stands. Also, you might want to let someone know that you will be under the car in case of an accident. Having someone check on you once in a while could mean the difference between life and death.
You will need a ratchet and socket or a good end wrench for most of this job. It will most likely be between a 5/8″ and a 3/4.” However, it might also require a metric wrench in the same size range. If you have good access to all four nuts that have to be removed, a ratchet will make the job much easier and faster.
Remove the first shock by taking off the nuts and/or bolts that secure the shock to the vehicle. Some shocks slip over a stud on each end, but some use a bolt that passes through two holes with the shock in between. Inspect the shock after it is off of the car. While shocks generally are the same on both sides, there might be a slight difference between the right and left shock on some vehicles. Just take a look, it will not be hard to determine if both shocks are alike.
Slide the upper end of the new shock into place and secure the bolt and nut. The lower may need a little more care. You will either have to extend or compress the new shock to make the lower end fit into place. On some vehicles, you may need to jack up the frame to make it fit. This is rare, but it does happen.
When the first shock is completed, the installation of the second shock will follow the same pattern. If you have any problems breaking the bolts loose that hold the shocks, you may need to spray them with some WD-40 or a similar product. Wait about 15 minutes after spraying for the product to do its work. You should be able to remove the shock after the rust is penetrated.
Carefully, lower the car back to the ground. You can put up your tools and wash up. Dispose of the old shocks. The job is complete.