I have one (slowly) leaking shock. It was pointed out to me by a service place, and they also told me that they would recommend replacing both shocks (i.e. the left and right side) at the same time even though there is currently no problem with the other side shock. They didn't really give me a solid reason so I felt like they are just wanting to get twice the money from me if the other shock is perfectly fine. I'm not sure how worn the shocks are.

Should I just replace the one shock or is it better to replace both at the same time? Why would you need to replace both of them simultaneously?

  • 1
    Yes mechanics like to reccommend in replacing pairs, whatsoever exists in pairs. Even a washer. Mazda 3 has big washers on shock absorbers. My mechanic, who is a good man othehrwise, said me BOTH washers. As I did not know exactly what they really are, I stupid, accepted. And the mechanic first replaced the good one. I realized I was stupid not requesting to replace first the broken one, then I'll stop him to do the good one. I have some other examples when mechanics offer to do what is not necessary to do. I bet most customers accept it. I am a retired mechanic, but unfamiliar with mazda cars
    – john paul
    Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 17:04

5 Answers 5


Yes, you need to replace both shocks at the same time. One new shock can (and will) have an adverse effect on the handling and thus safety. A new shock has different damping characteristics as the old one and it can lead to weird steering behaviour, loss of grip on one wheel, etc.


Definitely replace them in pairs, depending on the wear of them you might even have to replace all four as combining worn shocks with new ones can (a) have very undesirable effects on the handling and (b) tends to accelerate wear on the already worn shocks, leading to even more (a).


My Toyota official car service gave me the service report which recommended replacing only the front right shock absorber. When I asked; they said: you don’t have to replace them in pairs unless both have problems. They said other unofficial car service shops recommends changing pairs for money.

  • Is this a new car with a failed shock, or an old car with a worn shock? If the car is very new, this may be indeed correct advice.
    – juhist
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 18:13

I have a 2005 camry that had a front left broken coil at 70000miles. I went ahead bought ONE complete shock assembly. Brand name Unity life warranty and OE replacement. The job went well, 45 minutes in my driveway with a floor jack. The handling is amazing, the suspension works well, no alignement needed. I DID NOT replaced them in pair, i was only concerned on that left strut being stressed for i dont know how long because of the broken coil so thats why i choosed to change the whole assembly. Do not believe the all made thinking do not be scared do not repair what is not broken and do not believe the "because its always been like that" or "everybody does it".

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    Replacing a shock because it's broken is different than replacing a shock because it is worn.
    – tlhIngan
    Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 21:21
  • There seems to be a lot of conjecture in what you are saying. Do you have any links or hard evidence beyond the anecdotal about why what you're saying is accurate? Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 21:43

My garage (reputable and which likes to charge for most things if they can) spotted some oil misting on one shock and recommended it for changing - when I queried the other they said that they didn't need to be replaced as a pair and would not impact handling ... brakes and steering components would be but, but fully working shocks, no.

  • ... that said ... if you want the other done and can get it done cheaper as one big job then go for it.
    – Chris.C
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 23:33

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