I will be changing my wife's shocks and struts next week on her 2012 Outback. The service manual says not to tighten strut mounting nut until the car is on the ground. Do I really leave the nut that locks the cylinder to the mounting plate loose until the car is lowered?

  • The answer given applies to tightening all suspension components.
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 5, 2019 at 5:19

1 Answer 1


You should leave them just about snug, if not just a little loose. If you tighten them before you put it on the ground, when you do get the car on the ground, there will be tension on the parts, which means it will wear quicker. So, leave them a little loose, then tighten once on the ground ... there's no worries about safety when doing so. It's not like its going to detach from the vehicle ... the nuts/bolts are still there.

  • For clarity, I think a better description would be to tighten the bolts once the weight of the vehicle is all back on the wheels. So the car could be on a lift or raised off the ground with blocks of wood under the wheels, as long as the wheels are supporting the full weight of the car. It doesn't literally have to be back on the ground.
    – HandyHowie
    Jul 5, 2019 at 7:45
  • Should all the top nuts be a touch loose or just the ones that fasten to the car?
    – salisboss
    Jul 5, 2019 at 11:12
  • I agree with @HandyHowie, however, the weight needs to be as it would be on the ground ... ie: all four should be suspending the weight of the vehicle at the same time. IIRC, a Subaru has two bolts which attach the bottom of the strut to the steering knuckle. These two I'd tighten. With the ones on the top, it wouldn't hurt for all of them to be just a tad loose. Try to get them back to where they were to begin with for adjustment. Don't forget to get an alignment done. Jul 5, 2019 at 14:06

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