I am going to need to replace the back shocks on my 2002 Kia min van, not something I would even consider doing, but was wondering, for a professional how tough is it to do and about how long labor wise should it take?
I think it’s a pretty routine job for most shops. It should take no more than a couple hours, but that doesn’t include the alignment, which should always be done when you replace shocks or struts. The last time I got new struts (four of them), it cost about $650, and that was after I searched a long time for a special and found a coupon in the paper.
Keep in mind most shops don’t charge an hourly rate based on how long the job ACTUALLY takes. Most shops base what they charge on how long it NORMALLY takes, which could benefit you if they run into complications.
Well, if they’re shocks and not struts (I don’t know) then I’d skip the alignment. Do you know which you have?
Front are struts, back are shocks. I will buy the shocks myself and have my local mechanic install them.
Clear your idea with your local mechanic first. Shops have valid reasons why they don’t like to use customer supplied parts. Many shops won’t accept the job with customer supplied parts.
Be advised that if the shocks are “coil overs”, which means that the shock runs up the center of the coil sping and the shock shaft mounts into an upper mount like a strut assembly, the job will entail removing the shock/spring assembly, compressing the spring, undoing the shaft nut, etc. etc. just like a strut. It’ll be all the labor of a strut except for the alignment. My car is set up like that. Coil-over shocks in back and struts in front, but the back is a coil-over with the suspension geometry controlled by double wishbones.
On most vehicles back shocks are relatively easy to access and change out. Since they do not have a spring around them (a la a strut) they do not need to be compressed. This should be a “lay up” job for most mechanics. Things can get complicated if there is a lot of rust to deal with, and if the mounting brackets are rusted or hard to access.
Don’t be surprised if your tech won’t install your shocks. Mainly it’s a liability issue. If it goes bad and you wreck it’s not on him since it’s not his part. His labor maybe but maybe your bad shock caused his labor to fail.
It’s not worth it. Let him make his buck from his part.