How to change shocks and struts for '02 - '09 Chevy TrailBlazer

Looking to upgrade or repair the suspension on your Trailblazer? No problem. With the right equipment and parts from AutoZone, you can do this job at home with hand tools. Use the video and guide below to help you safely install Duralast Loaded Struts and shocks for a faster insall and better ride control.

Tools needed

  • Torque Wrench
  • 18mm Deep 3/8 Socket
  • 15mm deep 3/8 socket
  • 24mm ½ socket
  • 19mm ½ socket
  • 10mm ½ socket
  • Block of wood
  • Screwdriver
  • Breaker bar
  • 3/8 extension
  • ½ inch ratchet
  • 3/8 ratchet
  • 18mm combo wrench
  • 15mm combo wrench
  • Mallet
  • Straight Punch
  • Flat Punch
  • Safety Gloves & Goggles
  • Hydraulic Jack
  • Jack Stands
  • Rust Penetrant

Suspension Replacement how-to guide


Safety First

Make sure you chock wheels and engage the parking brake to keep the car steady. Wear safety gloves and goggles. Break lug nuts before raising the vehicle. Use a strong and secure hydraulic jack and jack stands. Make sure the engine is not running. Do not smoke while working on the vehicle. Remove any rings, watches or jewelry, and tie up long hair or loose clothing.


Raise the vehicle and remove the wheel

Break the lug nuts before jacking up the car. Use secure points for the jack and jack stands. Remove the wheel once the vehicle is safely raised.

Person using a screwdriver to loosen the air filter cover on a Chevy Trailblazer

On passenger side: Remove the air filter cover and hose to access top nuts

Should be able to do this with a screwdriver. Just remove the three screws, remove the cover, then move the air filter hose out of the way.

Person using a ratchet to remove the bolts which attach the shock assembly to the vehicle frame

Loosen and remove the two top nuts

Coming in from under the hood through the opening created by moving the air filter case and hose. Use an 18mm socket with an extension.

Person using a ratchet to remove the brake line from a Chevy Trailblazer

Detach the brake line

Back in the wheel well now. Use a 10mm socket. There are two bolts holding it in place.

Person disconnecting the wheel speed sensor on a Chevy Trailblazer

Detach the wheel speed sensor

A simple screwdriver will open the tab, then the cable can be set aside.

Person unbolting the upper control arm ball joint and nut

Remove the upper control arm ball joint bolt and nut

Use a 15mm wrench and 15mm deep socket here.

Person separating spindle from upper control arm

Separate the upper control arm from the spindle

This may take some jiggling.

Person removing the top bolt from the strut mounting bracket

Remove the top bolt from strut assembly mounting bracket

Size is 18mm.

Person removing the lower bracket mounting nut

Remove lower bracket nut

Size is 24mm.

Technician removing strut assembly from the front drivers side of a Chevy Trailblazer

Remove the assembly with mounting bracket

Pull that whole thing out. You may need help from a mallet here.

person knocking the knock out bolt from the strut assembly

Knock the bolt out from the mounting bracket

Set up some wood for stability and use a punch and a mallet.

Person separating the mounting bracket from the strut assembly from a Chevy Trailblazer

Remove the mounting bracket from the assembly

Use a punch or separator with a mallet to help here.

Person installing a mounting bracket onto a strut

Install mounting bracket on the new assembly

Leave the separator in. Fit the bracket over the lip of the strut, and then remove the separator.

person installing strut's upper bolt

Install the upper bolt on the mounting bracket

The mallet helps.

Technician showing how to install a new strut assembly on a Chevy Trailblazer

Install the new assembly

The strut arm bracket should be attached. You may need an extra pair of hands to hold everything in place and line everything up. Line up the top studs with top holes and slide the bottom of the bracket back onto the lower control arm stud.


Put everything back

Under the hood: Install the top nuts. Attach the air filter hose, filter, and install the cover (on passenger side). Install the bottom nut on the lower control arm stud. Install the nut on the bracket bolt clamping onto the strut assembly. Reattach the knuckle to the upper control arm. Install the upper control arm bolt and nut. Install the wheel speed sensor. Install the brake hose.

Put the wheel back on. Tighten the lug nuts (not all the way). Raise the vehicle and remove the jack stands. Lower until the wheel is just touching, then torque the lug nuts to 103 ft. lbs. Then lower the vehicle the rest of the way.


Repeat installation on the other side

Then you're ready to move to the rear.


Move to the rear, Safety First

Continue following the same safety procedures each time you move to a new wheel. For the back, break the lug nuts, raise the vehicle, set on jack stands, and remove the wheel following the same safety steps as the front.

A hydraulic jack placed under a Chevy Trailblazer's lower control arm to install the rear shock

Use a jack for support

This will support the knuckle and also help with alignment during installation.

Person removing the lower shock bolt

Loosen and remove the lower bolt and nut

These are at the base of the shock. Use an 18mm socket and wrench. You may need help from the mallet getting the bolt out. Adjust the jack for alignment to help with removing the bolt. Save the bolt and nut to install with the new shock.

Removing the upper shock bolt and nut

Loosen and remove top bolt and nut

Still using the 18mm socket and wrench. This is at the top of the shock and should be easy to reach. Save the bolt and nut to install with the new shock.

Technician installing new rear shock on a Chevy Trailblazer

Remove old shock, install new shock

Line up the top and bottom and then install the nuts and bolts.

Person installing the bolts on a newly placed strut

Install nuts and bolts

Start with the top nut and bolt, and then install the bottom. Install both before tightening, then tighten each. Adjust the jack to help with alignment if needed.


Remove jack from support, install wheel

Remove the jack from the support position. Install the wheel and lugs. Raise the vehicle with the jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle until the wheel is just touching, then torque the lug nuts to 103 ft. lbs.


Finish up

Go for a test drive to get a feel for the new suspension. It's a good idea to get an alignment check after a job like this, as well. After that, enjoy your safer, smoother ride.

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Advice, how-to guides, and car care information featured on and AutoZone Advice & How-To’s are presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs from a general perspective only and should be used at your own risk. Information is accurate and true to the best of AutoZone’s knowledge, however, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.

Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.

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