Shock absorbers - Labor to replace


New member
May 19, 2004
Thanks so much for this thread, the one thing i miss most about my old car are the koni reds that went with them. Finding a shop though that was open to me bringing in my own products was always a little iffy... Now at least i know ballpark where i should be and everything else that i should do when i get there....

Maybe we should make this a sticky as well :)


Veteran Member
Apr 28, 2004
15 Sportwagen
If the shop has actually done them on a passat, thats the first thing to ask,, Reg spring compressors dont work well in there, I needed to help the fronts out with a 2x4 section on a floor jack,, and you need the strut spreader tool to get them out,, so start spraying PB blaster or better GM penetrating fluid on them,, The top bearing will be shot too,, I did my struts and springs within 4 months of new, and saw signs of rust..If.. they had the tools, and done the before,, I bet 2-3 hrs for the job..with no surprises...It prob took me that on my first attempt in a barn with a crap set of compressors ..

Trade Wind

Veteran Member
Feb 16, 2016
RIP 2012 Passat SE 6 spd MT
The small shop actually charged me $580 with tax. He said he was surprised to see the hours guide give him over 6 hours. I asked if he would keep track of his time and help me out if it came in a lot less than 6 hours, he said yes.

I originally thought it was high, but the only reference I had was my 99 GMC Sierra 1500. I did those myself and it was about as easy a job as you could hope for, only a few leisurely hours. No struts or integrated springs. I pulled a front and rear wheel off the Passat, and after looking it over (and trying to find a good Youtube procedure, which by the way I could not) I decided I would be in over my head. Sounds like $580 maybe wasn't a bargain but at least was fair.

BTW I went with Bilstein OE. No noticeable change in ride from original VW shocks, still rides awesome. I'm on my 2nd set of Continental Eco Plus rear tires since buying the car with 72,000 miles (what came on the car, then at 76,000 miles I swapped front to back and put used Michelins on the front). Rear tires had faint howling noise when I bought car. I swapped front to back at 76,000 miles, howling went away, but now at 90,000 miles it came back.

Howling is actually not that big a deal, only hear it on really smooth roads, and it is faint. But I just want to fix root cause before investing in new tires.

So... new shocks, 5,000 mile rotation, and alignments every 6 or 12 months (I paid for lifetime alignment at Tires Plus) is the plan going forward. I'll probably put the front tires on the rear now and wait another 10,000 - 15,000 miles (6-9 months for me) to make sure the problem is fixed before investing in new tires.

Anyone having similar problems as above, I'd love to hear about it!
I wanted to post an update, since I now have 16,000 more miles on the car since I replaced the back shocks. Lo and behold, the faint howling noise went away, and has not come back. The mechanic I talked to who did the final alignment and looked at the worn tires said, yup I was getting checking or cupping because of worn rear shocks. I love the way the car drives now, best driving car I have ever owned.


Veteran Member
Mar 6, 2012
2012 Passat TDI SE 6MT (BB'd), 2015 Passat TDI SE 6MT
On our cars, do you have to remove the wheel hub off the CV axle? Seen footage where on some VW cars they keep it on. Will it drop enough to get the strut assy out ?

Do you need to support it somehow so that CV joint doesnt get damaged ?


Active member
Aug 19, 2018
Space Coast FL (321 area code)
2015 Passat TDI SEL, phase 2a
looking at it - compared to volvos, an audi A8, and a few VW's I've owned and changed struts on -- its probably like this for front:

20 minuutes:

1. jack/brace/parking brake/tires off BOTH SIDES
2. loosen 3 strutmount top bolts - dont remove yet.
3. 10mm and allen or torex to remove swaybar link end

4. remove brake caliper&bracket/rotor - ZIP TIE caliper out of way.

5. unplug and tie back ABS sensor wire very carefully.

6. remove 3 nuts from the bottom ball joint and separate from lower arm. good time to change arm/bushings right now or replace ball joint..

7. supporting the strut from falling and damaging BOOT of the AXLE, remove the top mount bolts now and remove stut from car. good time to replace AXLE right now -- only the interior mounting bolts need to be removed with the funky 24mm spline (not allen/not torex!) sockets. 2xmm... will need to verify that size with a set of them. advanced auto or autozone has sockets in stock usually.


with CELLPHONE camera - take pictures of spring alignment 360 degrees around each strut. sometimes this saves the day later on reassembly.

what I do -- (do not follow this yourself, get a mechanic friend to do this with your help and use his tools)

15-30 minutes (longer if your tools prove the wrong size or springs are being modified, HD, lowered, raised lift)

with SAFETY GLASSES and heavy leather gloves -- and a big 1/2" drive socket wrench.. (I use impact, which is not advised - the vibration makes the spring compressors slide). first break lose the top nut and only turn it a half turn. some top nuts require the rod to be held from rotating -- allen wrench on top/slots on top/giagantic slip pliers on shock rod/recessed open ended wrench/impact. it could kill, blind, cut/chop-off fingers, etc if that nut is fully removed right now. it's basically a loaded gun with up to 1000 pounds of pressure.//// I compress springs and put multiple zip ties around a dry spring coil wire to help keep the fingers of the compressor from sliding around. once compressed and secure, remove the top nut -- quickly disassemble, swap in new parts, and reinstall mount, spring, bumper & rod cover, and thread on new mount top nut to spec torque. remove compressors carefully. helps me to have 2 sets of compressors in case first compressor fingers get stuck. this process is lightly dicey on a midsized sedan - but nearly insane on a lifted 4wd offroad truck with HD suspension.

reinstall strut and all items removed.