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How to Replace Struts in your Car or Truck

hey guys chrisfix here and today I'm

going to show you how to replace struts

in your car or truck in this case we're

working on a 2006 Mazda 3 but changing

out the struts in most vehicles is very

similar to this so if you follow along

in this video you'll be able to change

the struts in your car or truck not real

quick before we go and change out this

old strut with a nice new strut how do

you know when your struts are bed and

when they need to be changed struts are

basically one of these shock absorbers

with a spring coiled around them as one

unit and the important thing to know is

this style strut is called a McPherson

strut and it actually acts as your upper

control arm so it's super important for

your suspension and how it handles and

also just the safety of everyday driving

now you should inspect your struts at

about 50,000 miles and there are four

quick ways to know if your struts are

bed and need to be replaced and they are

if you're driving and your car feels

unsettled and you're bouncing around

almost like driving on a trampoline

which is the problem with this car if

the struts are leaking any oil at all if

the struts are physically damaged like

if they're bent or if they're rusted to

the point that they're no longer safe

and if you drive the car and it's a

harsh ride and your cars just sitting

too low and bottoming out so those are

the four main ways to tell if your

struts bed and we know our struts bed

here you always replace in pairs so with

that information let's change out the

struts and here are all the tools you'll

need this job is very simple and we're

using all common hand tools pry bars

hammers screwdrivers ratchets and

wrenches torque wrench breaker bar and

we also want to make sure that we're

using penetrating fluid and that's what

I'm going to do right now because we

want to get a lot of penetrating fluid

on here so things come off easily we're

going to be separating this strut from

the knuckle right here so get a ton of

penetrating fluid on there there's also

a nut up here which we'll be removing

which holds the sway bar end link to the

strut so soak that with penetrating

fluid and then there's another bolt back

here that we're going to be removing so

get some penetrating fluid on that and

also if you want you could add the

penetrating fluid a day before you do

the job so it soaks in there and works

even better now that we're done soaking

these bolts we'll let it sit for a few

minutes and then we'll start removing

the strut so the first thing we're going

to remove is this brake line right here

that connects to the strut and to do

that you just use a flathead screwdriver

and pop it right off and you always want

to make your job as easy as possible so

work with the vehicle so let's turn the

wheel

so we have more access to this side and

look how much easier it is now to get to

that brake line so we could remove it to

remove the brake line use a flathead

screwdriver and you're going to pop this

clip out just like that and then the

brake line should pop right off with our

brake line unhook from the strut since

we're on this side let's remove the

pinch bolt that's holding the base of

the strut into the knuckle in this case

the bolt is 17 millimeters and you want

to make sure you use a breaker bar so

you could break this bolt free and once

that bolts broken free we could use our

regular ratchet and loosen it the rest

of the way and there we go that bolts

out alright so with our brake line

removed and our bolt down there removed

we have one more bolt to remove down

here and it's for the sway bar end link

right up here so let's turn our steering

wheel so we have easy access to it now

you can see how much easier it is to get

to that sway bar end link bolt right

there now typically with these bolts

what you have to do is you have to get a

wrench around the actual bolt and it's a

14 millimeter and then you have to use

one of these torques right in the middle

here and awesome typically the stud

strips on the inside because it gets all

rusted but this nut broke free and it's

coming loose if it does happen the strip

I'll show you a tip in a couple of

seconds on how to get it all so now this

stud might be at such an angle that you

can't easily pop it out instead of

hitting a hammer against the stud we're

going to jack up the suspension real

quick and you can see as the suspension

gets jacked up that stud is

straightening out and now it'll slide

right out just like that

now this sway bar end link came out a

lot easier than it normally does usually

the stud gets all rusty and the inside

gets stripped and you can't loosen it

easily so what you're going to want to

do is you want to grab a vice grips and

you can see that there's this little

metal piece right in the back here it's

right before the rubber you don't want

to grab the rubber with the vice grips

because then you'll tear and you'll need

new sway bar end links but what you want

to do is you want to get your vice grips

and clamp them down just like that and

then you'll be able to get the nut off

just by turning the nut because the vise

grip is going to be holding this stud in

place it's also a lot easier if you have

an impact gun use the vise grip impact

it right out and you might even consider

switching these out right now because

you have everything apart and they're

cheap enough all right so we have

everything removed so now we're going to

take our hammer and we're going to hit

the knuckle downward

so that we separate the knuckle from the

strut but we don't want to break this

clip right here this is for your abs so

I suggest removing that getting that out

of the way and that just prevents you

from hitting it with the hammer just in

case you miss and you just want to

hammer away until you see the strut

start separating from the knuckle just

like that and keep going until it

separates completely perfect

now the knuckle and the strut are

separated so we're going to go up top

and loosen the three bolts at the strut

tower now these bolts should come off

pretty easily but if not you could use a

breaker bar and that's one two and on

this last bolt it's kind of hard to get

a good angle on here because we have

this weather stripping in the way so you

might have to use a wrench like this so

you can get to this bolt and that's the

last bolt so let's remove the strut and

with a little wiggle the strut comes

right out although we already remove the

bolts I want to share a top tip on this

strut tower these bolts are set in place

they're not adjustable

but on some strut towers these bolts

could actually be moved around to adjust

the camber on your strut so if you get

new struts you can get close to your old

alignment by marking the bolts with one

of these markers and just trace around

the bolts so you outline them that way

after you remove the bolts you can see

exactly where they need to go when you

put the new strut back in so a little

top tip like this will help you get your

alignment pretty close now before we put

in the new strut I always like to

compare parts so get the old strut and

compare it to the new strut you want to

make sure that there's the same amount

of bolt holes you can see here the sway

bar end link mount is in the same spot

and then the break clip mount is in the

same spot and then when I got this strut

I thought it was damaged because it

looks like there's a little indentation

right here but then if you look at the

old one it has the same indentation so

that's good and that's why you always

compare the old strut to the new strut

and now we could go and install our new

strut before installing our brand-new

strut there's one thing I want to do I

want to make sure that we clean out

where the strut and the knuckle meet all

you have to do is get a metal wire brush

and we're going to clean right inside

here so that any dirt and debris doesn't

get stuck between the strut and the

knuckle and you could even use a little

bit of break clean to clean that out and

then use a paper towel to clean it all

up and now we could install it when

you're installing the new strut angle

the top in first then bring

bottom part of the strut to meet the

knuckle and when you have your strut in

place like that we're going to come to

the top here and instead of using the

bolts that we removed the struts come

with brand new bolts with the washes and

if we take a look at our original bolt

you can see that there's Loctite right

on the threads here so what I'm going to

do is I'm going to grab some Loctite and

put it on the threads of the new bolts

that we're installing so now you want to

align the strut so you can get the bolts

in and you just want to hand tighten all

three of them only a couple of turns so

all three of these bolts are in place

holding the strut in but they're still

really loose so now we could go down to

our strut and before we push the strut

into the knuckle we want to make sure

this back piece here is aligned this

metal piece right here which the bolt

goes through the whole dish strut in

place has to slide right in between this

little gap in the knuckle so that looks

like it's pretty well aligned and now we

can jack up the knuckle watch your

fingers but push the strut to align it

in the knuckle as you jack it up and

keep on jacking it up until it's all the

way in and you'll know when it's all the

way in by looking at the bolt hole in

the back and if it's clear to slide your

bolt through then it's all the way in so

now we're going to go slide our bolt in

to hold the knuckle and the strut in

place but before we do that

clean the bolt with a metal wire brush

and you can see there is some Loctite on

here so again we're going to add some

Loctite

now we'll just slide the bolt in place

and tighten it up now we'll grab our

ratchet and we'll tighten it down as

much as we can and then we're going to

grab our torque wrench and this bolt

gets torqued down to 65 foot-pounds

alright with our strut in place tighten

down to the knuckle that bolts all

torqued up we're going to go put in our

sway bar end link just simply pop it

into place

don't forget your ABS wire bracket and

tighten it down until it's snug then

torque it down to 40 foot pounds and

with that in place you don't want to

forget to connect your abs now we have

one last thing that we have to do here

and that's to get this brake line and

pop it into place

and take the breakline clip and lightly

tap that in alright we are almost done

everything down here is done so now we

just need to lower the suspension and

remove the jack and then we'll tighten

down our bolts up here and now I'm going

to just tighten all these down with the

ratchet it's a little tough to get the

ratchet to this last one so I'm just

going to use a wrench and now that all

of them are tightened

let's talk them down the 25 foot-pounds

that's one two let's see if I can get

the socket in here and that's three

beautiful and we are done

that's how you replace a strut in your

car or truck now check out this before

and after here's the before with the old

struts and it's easy to bounce around

and it feels like you're driving on a

trampoline and here's the after with the

new struts and the cars a lot harder to

bounce and it feels way more controlled

and less bouncy while driving what a

difference remember you want to replace

struts in pairs so make sure you do the

other side as well and this job really

is that easy

as always hopefully the video is helpful

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videos you can click on the screen or

find the links in the description below

also in the description are links to any

tools or products I used in this video