Shock absorber replacement cost – how much will you have to pay? | RAC Drive (2024)

Shock absorber replacement cost – how much will you have to pay? | RAC Drive (1)

2nd Jul 2024

A suspension system is an integral part of keeping a vehicle safe and road legal – and shock absorbers are vital components within it.

Vehicle control and ride comfort should be consistent whenever someone is behind the wheel, so ensuring that the suspension is in the best condition possible is important for all drivers.

Although there are many parts that are used to make up the suspension, the shock absorber controls the ‘up and down’ movement of the wheels – and looks like a large spring.

This guide looks at how much it will cost to replace one – and best practices for keeping them in great working order.

Shock absorber replacement cost

According to WhoCanFixMyCar, the average cost to replace a pair of shock absorbers is £397.92 – with the average price for the front pair at £416.91, and the rear set at £327.47.

When it comes to the average cost per make, here are the costs to replace a shock absorber (average for two pair of front and back shock absorbers).

Car manufacturerCost to replace shock absorbers
Nissan £400

What is a shock absorber?

A car shock absorber is a part of a vehicle's suspension system and softens the impact and oscillation caused by road irregularities, such as bumps, cracks, and potholes.

This helps to provide a smoother ride and maintain better control of the vehicle – creating a safer journey for the driver and surrounding road users.

In summary, when a car drives over a rough surface, the wheels move up and down. The shock absorbers control this movement by absorbing and dissipating the energy from these movements, preventing the car from bouncing excessively.

By controlling the motion of the wheels, shock absorbers ensure that the tyres remain in contact with the road surface as much as possible – improving safety and ride comfort.

The shock absorbers increase the longevity of vehicle by protecting the tyres and internal components.

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How does a shock absorber work?

Shock absorbers work by dampening the impact of an uneven surface when the car is travelling on a road.

The various components within it play a crucial role.

Inside the shock absorber, a piston is attached to a rod. The piston moves within a sealed tube that is filled with hydraulic fluid.

As the piston moves, it forces the hydraulic fluid through small tubes, which creates resistance and slows down the piston’s movement.

The valves control the flow of the fluid, allowing for precise damping adjustments.

Issues with shock absorbers

Common problems you will notice if you have a problem with your shock absorbers include poor handling, large vibrations, increased stopping distance, sagging vehicle with reduced ground clearance, and leaking hydraulic fluid.

There are several reasons why you may have problems with your shock absorbers – they include:

  • Damaged seals or worn-out components: This will result in leaking fluid and poor handling.
  • Large noises and vibrations: Lack of fluid and damaged components.
  • Damaged tyres: Increased wear and tear over time caused by lack of dampened impact when driving on uneven surfaces.
  • Rust and corrosion: Over time when they are exposed to the elements, they can become weak – leading to common symptoms of a damaged shock absorber.

You may also see one or more dashboard warning lights if there is an issue with your shock absorbers.

Regular car maintenance is something all drivers should be doing – and can help extend the lifespan of your shock absorbers.

If you are unsure on what the issue is, or how to fix it, then call a mobile mechanic or visit your trusted local garage.

How many shock absorbers are in a car?

In a car, there are four shock absorbers – one per wheel.

Each absorber has a ‘strut’ that connects the absorber to the rest of the suspension system.

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How long do shock absorbers last?

Shock absorbers in your car should last up to 100,000 miles – however, this can vary depending on many factors including make, model, age of vehicle, quality of the components, quality and consistency of maintenance, and where the vehicle is stored when not in use.

All parts of the suspension system will be checked during the annual MOT. Regular servicing of your car will also help prolong the absorbers.

Shock absorber maintenance

Regularly checking your shock absorbers will ensure that you’ll notice and rust, corrosion, or leaks – but there are other helpful tips you can use to keep them in great condition.

By also monitoring tyre wear and overall ride quality, you can pre-empt any more serious issues with them and get to a garage as soon as possible.

A yearly service can help with this.

It is also advisable to alter your driving habits by using smoother driving – avoiding sudden stops and rapid acceleration. This puts extra stain on the components.

If possible, avoid rough terrain and uneven road surfaces.

It is important to remember that if you are looking to replace a shock absorber, you should always do it in pairs (both front or both back – or all four at the same time).

This increases consistency in the suspension system.

Shock absorber replacement cost – how much will you have to pay? | RAC Drive (2)

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Shock absorber replacement cost – how much will you have to pay? | RAC Drive (3)

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Shock absorber replacement cost – how much will you have to pay? | RAC Drive (2024)


Can you drive with bad shocks? ›

Can I drive with a damaged shock absorber? Yes. Although it won't be a comfortable journey. A broken shock absorber will result in your car bouncing around, as well as excessive rolling, squatting and diving.

How much should replacing shocks cost? ›

Shocks and struts replacement costs somewhere between $450 and $1,100. It's possible to remove just the shocks or the struts, but it may produce mixed results performance-wise. Common symptoms of failing shocks and struts include knocking sounds, bumpy rides, cupped tire wear pattern, and more.

How much does it cost to fix a broken shock absorber? ›

If you have a bad shock absorber, it's better to have it changed before it affects other components too. A typical shock absorber replacement can cost you somewhere between $200 to $500, including the labor charges and part costs. The labor cost of replacing your shock absorbers can range between $100 to $200.

How long does it take to replace a car shock absorber? ›

The time it takes for mechanics to replace shocks varies due to different car makes and models. However, our research shows that on average it takes garages between 1.5 to 4 hours to replace shock absorbers.

How long can you drive with a broken shock absorber? ›

Regardless of whether it's a broken coil spring or a broken shock absorber, you cannot drive a vehicle which has any element of the suspension that is broken. This is because driving with a damaged or collapsed coil spring can cause sagging, which could cause more damage to your vehicle in the long-term.

Will bad shocks cause rough ride? ›

Though the whole suspension system contributes to how your vehicle rides, when the shocks and struts are worn, the bumps and dips are more pronounced. Even if you don't notice it, your passengers may complain about the rough ride.

Should I replace all 4 shocks at the same time? ›

Monroe recommends that you change your shocks and struts in pairs. If the front left strut has failed and needs to be changed, you should also install a new front right strut. Similarly, if the rear right shock needs replacing, be sure to change the rear left shock.

What happens if you don't replace bad shocks? ›

Increased wear on other suspension parts – Worn shocks and struts can have a negative effect on related steering, braking, and suspension components. As the shocks or struts wear, they allow more suspension movement, meaning that other steering, braking and suspension components can suffer the same effects.

Is it worth replacing shocks? ›

Enjoy benefits of replacing worn shocks and struts

It also means longer tire wear. New shocks and struts also help reduce potential wear of other steering and truck, SUV or car suspension components.

Does insurance cover shock absorbers? ›

Additionally, many auto insurance contracts will also help cover the cost of repairing your shocks and struts if they are damaged in an accident, theft or severe weather.

What is the average price of a shock absorber? ›

However, the shock absorber price range for a standard passenger vehicle is usually between R700 to R2000.

Can I still drive with bad shock absorbers? ›

If you choose to wait to inspect worn shocks and struts, you jeopardize your ability to stop, steer and maintain stability. There are a variety of consequences when driving with worn shocks or struts that range from annoying to safety critical.

How much is labor for shock replacement? ›

The average cost for a Suspension Shock or Strut Replacement is between $924 and $1,043. Labor costs are estimated between $213 and $269 while parts are priced between $711 and $775.

Is it OK to change just one shock absorber? ›

Why should shock absorbers be replaced in pairs? Any time a shock absorber needs to be replaced, its companion across the same axle (front or rear) must also be replaced to ensure that at least both shocks are in equivalent working condition.

How many miles can you get out of shocks? ›

Generally, shocks and struts wear out every 50,000-100,000 miles. If you're a more aggressive driver and/or frequently drive on rough roads, they will wear out faster. Shocks and struts don't go out all at once; they deteriorate slowly over time.

What happens when your shocks go bad? ›

If ride control parts like shocks and struts are worn, they might not properly respond. Additionally, stopping distances might increase and brakes and tires could wear more quickly. Plus, there could be added strain on the springs.

Will bad shocks make your car sit lower? ›

When it's damaged, it cannot properly support the vehicle's weight, causing the vehicle to sag. A blown shock can also be the culprit as it may cause the vehicle to place more pressure on the spring than it can handle, making the vehicle sit lower than it should.


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