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Shock Absorber Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your shock absorber replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your shock absorber replacement.
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John Davis
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost to replace shock absorbers?

The exact price you’ll pay to replace your car’s shock absorbers will depend on its make and model and your location. But the average cost is around $500-$1,000.
How long does it take to replace shock absorbers? Replacement times can vary based on the vehicle and the type of shocks. But a trained mechanic will generally take one to three hours per axle to replace standard shock absorbers. If your car has strut assemblies, the process will take more time, and your vehicle will require a wheel alignment afterward. 
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for my shock absorber replacement, and how much do those parts cost?

You should consult your
owner’s manual
and repair guide to learn more information about your specific vehicle’s suspension system. But here’s a general breakdown of the parts you may need:
  • Shock absorbers: The new shocks are the primary parts you’ll replace. They’re responsible for dampening and controlling the movement of your car’s suspension. Prices can vary, but a pair of shocks typically costs between $100 and $300.
  • Strut assemblies: Many vehicles have struts instead of standalone shocks. These suspension parts combine shocks and coil springs into one unit. A pair of new struts can cost between $300 and $750. 
You can purchase shock absorber parts for your car from auto parts stores like AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and RockAuto. Three of our recommended brands for shock absorbers are Monroe, KYB, and Bilstein. For strut assemblies, KYB, Monroe, and Sachs are our top recommendations. Keep in mind that the best parts and brands for your car will vary based on its year, make, and model.
When it comes to automotive repair jobs, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are usually the best option—especially for newer cars.
Your car’s manufacturer designs OEM parts precisely to fit your make and model. They come with a strong warranty and are typically made from high-quality and reliable materials. The drawback to OEM parts is they can be pricey and are sometimes difficult to find for older vehicles. 
Aftermarket parts are produced by third-party companies for a wide range of cars. They are usually cheaper than OEM parts but are available in budget, premium, and performance options. Aftermarket parts are a good choice for older vehicles, car owners looking to save on repair costs, and enthusiasts who want to customize their cars with specialized parts.
You can buy OEM parts from your local dealership or an authorized parts supplier. Aftermarket parts are available at most auto parts stores—like AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts—and online retailers like RockAuto and Amazon.

Where can I get my shock absorber replaced?

Finding a reliable auto repair shop can be challenging. Fortunately, you can use Jerry's
GarageGuard™
to compare the hourly rates and repair estimates from over 2,500 U.S. shops.
Jerry's GarageGuard™ uses the actual hourly rates from local shops to provide fair price estimates. Use it to learn about diagnostic fees, budget for upcoming repairs and maintenance, and find shops near you with the highest customer reviews.
Check out some of our excellent vetted shops below and download the app to search for quality repair services near you.
176 Reviews
Kenny and Billy's Auto Center
address
473 Iselin, NJ
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$130
172 Reviews
All in the Wrist Auto & Diesel Repair
address
2400 San Mateo Pl NE, Albuquerque, NM
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$30
154 Reviews
Cleve-Hill Auto & Tire - Cheektowaga
address
680 Wehrle Dr, Buffalo, NY
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$140
107 Reviews
HMS Auto and Fleet
address
7887 F St, Omaha, NE
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$134
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic replace my shock absorbers?

Here are the general steps a mechanic will follow to replace your shock absorbers:
  • Lift the car off the ground—if you’re replacing only the rear shocks, you can do everything from beneath the vehicle; if you’re replacing the front shocks, you may have to lower the car and open the hood to access the upper mounting bolts
  • Remove the upper mounting bolt(s)
  • Remove the lower mounting bolt(s)
  • Remove the old shocks
  • Position the new shocks and install the upper mounting bolt(s)
  • Install the lower mounting bolt(s)
  • Torque the bolts to the manufacturer’s specification
Keep in mind that these are generalized steps. If your car has struts, the replacement process will be significantly more complex, and you’ll need to align the vehicle after you finish. 

What happens if I don’t replace my shock absorbers?

If you have bad shocks and choose not to replace them, you’ll likely develop the following problems:
  • Reduced ride comfort: Shock absorbers help stabilize your vehicle and absorb shocks. When they fail, your ride quality can drop drastically. You may notice excessive bouncing and jolting. 
  • Decreased stability and vehicle handling: Shocks help your tires maintain contact with the road, improving stability and handling when cornering and braking. If the shocks fail, you may experience reduced control, and the car might skid. 
  • Increased braking distance: When the tires lose contact with the road due to bad shocks, it can lead to longer stopping distances. This is unsafe and can lead to accidents.
  • Uneven tire wear: Faulty shocks can cause your tires to wear unevenly. This can lead to reduced handling and more frequent tire replacements.
  • Damage to other components: Bad shocks can put extra stress on other steering and suspension components, like tie rods, control arms, and the sway bar. This can lead to premature damage and expensive repairs.
  • Safety issues: Shocks help keep your ride stable and under control. If they fail, the risk of accidents and loss of vehicle control can increase significantly. 

What are shock absorbers?

Shock absorbers—also known as dampers—are critical parts of your car’s suspension system. Their primary job is to absorb and dampen shocks and maintain vehicle stability.
Shocks are made from hollow tubes filled with gas, oil, and a piston. When you hit a bumpy or uneven surface, the piston moves through the tube and displaces the oil and gas. This creates a damping force to reduce shocks and bounces.
If you don't have shocks, your car’s coil springs or leaf springs will bounce continuously until the energy dissipates. Instead, the shocks work with the springs to control and dampen the bouncing and create a smoother ride. 

When should I replace the shock absorbers on my car?

The lifespan of shock absorbers is typically between 50,000 and 100,000 miles or five to seven years. You’ll most likely need to replace yours within that time frame. But you should consult your owner’s manual to learn the manufacturer’s recommendation first. 
Outside of the regular replacement interval, you should replace your shocks if they fail. The most common signs of bad shocks include:
  • Excessive bouncing: While a small amount of bouncing is normal when driving over uneven terrain or potholes, if your car bounces excessively or continuously, the shocks may be bad. 
  • Vibrations: If you have bad shocks, you may notice vibrations in the steering wheel as you drive. 
  • Nose diving or squatting: If your car squats in the rear when you accelerate or dives forward when you brake, you may have worn-out shocks. 
  • Uneven tire wear: Uneven tire wear is typically a sign of steering or suspension system damage. If you notice this sign and another symptom, like excessive bouncing, there’s a good chance the shocks are to blame.
  • Oil leaks from the shocks: If you notice oil leaks around the shocks, it probably means they’re worn out and need to be replaced.
  • Cracked bushings: If the bushings at the shocks’ mounting points are cracked or damaged, you should replace the shocks. 
Keep in mind: These symptoms can indicate other issues, like worn-out brakes or bad struts. The best way to accurately diagnose your car’s problem is to visit a certified mechanic.

How often should I replace my shock absorbers?

Generally, you should replace your shock absorbers every 50,000 to 100,000 miles or every five to seven years. Outside of that timeframe, you’ll need to replace your shocks if they begin showing signs of wear or failure. Common signs that it’s time to replace your shocks include excessive vehicle bouncing, increased stopping distances, and poor handling. 

Can I replace my shock absorbers myself?

A shock absorber replacement can be a solid DIY project. It generally requires mid-level mechanical skills and basic tools. Experienced hobbyists and home mechanics should have no trouble replacing their shocks, but automotive novices might be better off calling a professional mechanic.
If your car has struts, the replacement process is a bit more complex. A strut replacement is a mid-to-advanced level job, and it requires more experience and specialized tools. 

FAQs

Yes—it is absolutely worth replacing the shock absorbers. Shocks are a vital part of your car’s suspension system. They help stabilize the vehicle and reduce bounces, helping you maintain control of the car and contributing to a smooth ride. 
You can drive with bad shocks, but it may be both uncomfortable and unsafe to do so. Shocks are important for helping your tires maintain contact with the road. If the shocks fail, your vehicle will be less stable, and you may have trouble maintaining control of the car. 
Replacing shock absorbers is a fairly straightforward task. And a trained mechanic may take between one and three hours to perform the service. The replacement is a solid DIY project for hobbyists with mid-level automotive experience, but it may be too complex for novices.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.