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How to Replace Install Front Struts 09-12 Chevy Traverse

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How to Replace Install Front Struts 09-12 Chevy Traverse

Created on: 2018-02-26

How to repair, install , fix, change or replace your front struts with their loaded struts on 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13 Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia, or Saturn Outlook.

  1. step 1 :Removing the Wheel
    • Loosen the 22mm lug nuts with the vehicle on the ground
    • Raise the vehicle with a floor jack
    • Secure the vehicle on jack stands
    • Remove the lug nuts
    • Pull off the wheel
  2. step 2 :Removing the Wiper Arm
    • Place tape on the windshield to mark the wiper blade's position
    • Pop the end cap off the wiper arm with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Remove the 15mm nut from the wiper arm
    • Rock the wiper arm back and forth to loosen it
    • Remove the wiper arm
  3. step 3 :Removing the Cowl Panel
    • Pry the weatherstripping out of the cowl panel
    • Pry out the push clips along the edge of the cowl panel
    • Unscrew the ground lug with a 15mm wrench
    • Lift the cowl up from the side panels
    • Unclip the hood cable from the side of the cowl panel
    • Remove the trim panels from the edge of the cowl panel
    • Pry the fuse panel cover off
    • Remove the cowl panel
    • Place the fuse panel cover on
  4. step 4 :Removing the Front Strut
    • Remove the upper bolt from the sway bar link with an 18mm wrench and 8mm socket and ratchet
    • Move the upper sway bar link out of the way
    • Pry the ABS wire clip out of the strut
    • Remove the lower strut bolts with a 21mm wrench and 24mm deep socket
    • Remove the three 15mm nuts from the top of the strut
    • Remove the strut from the vehicle
  5. step 5 :Installing the Front Strut
    • Remove the warning sticker from the strut
    • Insert the strut into place
    • Tighten the 15mm nuts evenly
    • Connect the knuckle to the strut
    • Insert the bolts to the bottom of the strut
    • Tighten the bolts with a 21mm wrench and 24mm deep socket
    • Torque the lower strut bolts to 44 foot-pounds
    • Torque the upper strut bolts to 33 foot-pounds
    • Tighten the sway bar link into place with an 18mm wrench and 8mm socket and ratchet
    • Torque the upper sway bar link bolt to 55 foot-pounds
    • Clip in the ABS wire
  6. step 6 :Reattaching the Wheel
    • Slide the wheel into place
    • Start the lug nuts by hand
    • Tighten the lug nuts preliminarily
    • Lower the vehicle to the ground
    • Tighten the lug nuts to 144 foot-pounds in a crossing or star pattern

Tools needed for replacement

  • General Tools


    Jack Stands

    Wire Brush

    Floor Jack

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

    Rust Penetrant

    Painter's Tape

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

    Needle nose pliers

  • Ratchets & Related

    Socket Extensions

    Torque Wrench


    1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Screwdrivers & Related

    Flat Blade Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

    Complete Metric Socket Set

  • Specialty Tools

    Trim Tool Set

  • Wrenches - Metric

    Complete Metric Wrench Set

Installation Video
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Hi, I’m Mike from 1A Auto. We’ve been selling auto parts for over 30 years!

With the vehicle on the ground, you use a breaker bar and a 22mm socket to loosen the lug nuts. Raise and support your vehicle with a jack and jack stands. We're using our two post lift. Use the socket and finish removing the lug nuts. There it's seized to the hub. Take a couple of lug nuts—just thread them on lightly. Use a dead blow or rubber mallet, hit on the tire, and that will knock it free. Lug nuts will keep the wheel from falling off. Now it's loose. Finish taking the lug nuts off. Just going to support it so it doesn't fall.

I'll put some tape on the edge of the wiper blade, just mark where it is. When I remove the arms and reinstall, them I'll know where to align them. I'll just do this for both wiper arms and blades. You could use tape or even a permanent marker on the glass would be fine because it will clean off. Use a small flat bladed screwdriver, pop these caps up and off the end of the wiper arms. Do the same thing for both sides and remove that nut. Use a 15mm socket extension and ratchet extension to remove this. Get it free. Take it off.

We need to close the hood. Actually lift it up and rock it back and forth, pull it off, to lay back down, and open the hood. Get the wiper arm out. Just going to put the nut back on here so we don't lose it for now. Do the same for the other wiper arm. Cap up, to the side, and loosen the nut. Close the hood and rock it back and forth. Pull it right out.

This weatherstrip is just clipped into this outer plastic piece, just kind of pop it up and out. It can remain clipped to this to the cowl. There's push clips along the edge of the cowl. Take a flat blade screwdriver and pry them up. Pull them right out and put the center parts right back in. Just going to go along the entire edge and do the same.

The weatherstrip from right here too. Going to unscrew this ground lug for jump starting using a 15mm wrench, closed in, just unscrews. Take it right off and slide this trim up and around. It'll sit like that. Do the same for the other side. Lift up on the cowl, pull it out, and unclip the hood cable. Push it right up. That's loose there. Go to the other side and loosen it.

I'm going to move this fuse panel out of the way and push the locks in. Lift the cowl panel up and out. I'm going to put this cover back on so nothing in there gets damaged. Top of the sway bar link bolts through the strut. I'm going to use a wire brush and just clean the threads off so that when I remove the nut that's holding it, it'll spin easier. Just knock off some of the dust, knock off some of the dirt, rust and then I can spray some rust penetrant on here too. This nut is 18mm.

I'm going to use an 8mm socket on this breaker bar to counterhold the end of the sway bar link so it doesn't spin while I'm trying to remove it. Make sure it gets on here. It's a little rusty. Push it on, brace that against the knuckle, and remove this nut. Go this way with it. Spray some more rust penetrant on here, help get rid of some of the rusty chunky bits that are coming off. The nut is self-locking.

It's not perfectly round on the end—that's what locks it. It's going to be hard to turn, but it should turn and just keep doing this until you thread it all the way off. If you're replacing the strut, make sure you have a new sway bar link on hand because sometimes they break and they'll need to be replaced. As it gets towards the end and the locking part is coming off the threads, it should get looser and easier to turn. Let's see, take this off now. Just going to spin it off with my fingers.

It's stopping on that socket—I got stuck. Just give it a couple of turns. Socket’s loose and now just come off with my fingers. Need to push the ABS wire clip out of the strut, so we'll use some needle-nose pliers, and I'm just going to push down from the top and push it right out. Pops right out. This one down here—use some needle-nose pliers, just grab onto the connector, and work it out of the strut. Once you get some clearance there, the needle-nose underneath, just kind of pry it out.

Use a trim clip tool to get this lower one. Just want something to slide under there, and then you can pry it out, just like that. You put aside two bolts, holding the strut to the knuckle. I'm going to spray some rust penetrant on the threads and try to spray some between where the strut goes around the knuckle. Use a 21mm wrench to counterhold the head of the bolt. I'm going to use a long ratchet and a 24mm deep socket to remove the nut. You may need to use a breaker bar, but we'll try this. Repeat this for both bolts. This procedure will be the same on both sides.

If it's loose enough, you can just take it off by hand. We're going to leave that bolt in there for now. We'll loosen the bottom one. I have that loose, going to throw a little extension on here and give me some clearance against the brake caliper. The bolts have actual splines that sit inside here so they don't spin, but you do want to counterhold them as you're trying to get them off so you don't tear up those splines.

I'm going to reinstall the nuts just loosely on both of them. Use a ball-peen hammer and just tap them out. You see the splines here. Just keep tapping it. It's nice and loose—bolts come right out. I have to wiggle this around to get the bolt to come free. Lift up on it a little bit—there it is. Okay. That'll just sit like that.

Going to remove the three 15mm nuts that are holding in the strut to the strut tower. There's three studs that go through from the strut, and they have 15mm nuts on them. Use this 15mm deep socket extension and ratchet, and I will begin to loosen them. Kind of loosen them out evenly. Don't just take them all out because the strut will fall out, so you're going to loosen them all. And then when you get the last one loose, you'll reach underneath, support the strut and remove it, and then pull the whole strut out from inside the wheel well.

Get this one loose, right to the top of the threads and leave it. I'll remove the other two the same way. Go after the last one here. As you loosen this, the strut will actually start to lower down. Just going to push the strut off the knuckle. It's real loose in there. Push that up, and now it's only hanging by one of them. I'm going to reach up under here and support it, lift it up, and I can thread off the last nut by hand.

Now I need to guide this out of the wheel well. Just be careful that there isn't anything to support this brake line, so it is just kind of sitting here like that. It's okay, we're not over-stressing it but we're going to leave it like that.

This is our original strut for our vehicle. This one was leaking. It's got a little bit of fluid coming out of the top seal here, so dampness and dirt stuck to it. Here's our brand new complete strut assembly from This is just a warning sticker telling you that the spring may settle after it's installed. You can just remove that. But it is a complete strut assembly—no need to swap over this spring to a new strut. Got a new top mount bearing, everything all ready to go. Makes this a real easy job. It will fit great and work great for you.

Before you install it you can remove this warning sticker too. This just tells you there's no need to loosen this nut that's in here that's holding the whole thing together. It's already all tightened and adjusted—you don't have to touch it. There's a bearing in here. I really can't spin it. I don't have enough leverage. But it will spin once it's bolted to the body of the car and connected to the knuckle. That way if it doesn't line up, attach these points and then turn it down here and line it up with the knuckle.

To reinstall the strut, going to take the nuts off. The new ones off the top of the studs that have them ready. Put them right up top here on the cowl panel. Bring the strut into the wheel well and slide it up into place. There are four openings, but three studs, so I'm going to put the stud back in the same place that one was originally, and you can see where the nut made a mark in the paint.

I'm just going to loosen it, and I'm going to lightly tighten the nut on there. Then I'll lift up the strut with the nuts on the O-ring and on the last one. I'm maneuvering the strut around with one hand underneath and installing the nuts with the other hand. They're going to stop when they get to the locking part of them. Take the 15mm socket and ratchet and tighten them up evenly. This will draw the strut up into the body. Just a couple turns so the other side you've got some turns and just repeat this till the strut's all the way up, and then I'll torque them afterwards.

So this will turn on the bearing now, so if you need to turn it and just line it up with the knuckle. It's at the knuckle. Lift it right into place because the sway bar link is not attached. Just lift right up. If you need to you can use a jack. Have one of the bolts handy. They do go in from this direction. Lift it up into place. Get the other one caught.

The little splines, they're lined up with the nuts on. I'm going to tighten the nuts and draw the bolts through. Just use a longer ratchet because they're getting a little harder to pull in because they're setting into the splines. I torqued these lower strut nuts to 144 foot-pounds. Put the wrench on here and counterhold the bolts. There you go. Torque the nuts for the upper strut mount to 33 foot-pounds.

Reinstall the sway bar link. We install the new one with our new strut. If you didn't damage your old one, you can reuse it. You can see how the opening is not perfectly round because it is a locking nut, sort of oblong or oval shape. As you tighten it down, it'll lock against the threads so you can thread it on as far as it'll go. Then we'll need to use a socket and ratchet to tighten it the rest of the way.

The back side of this is a six point. It looks like it would be a nut, it fits 18mm. Put it on there to counterhold it, and we use an 18mm socket to drive this in. If you're reinstalling the original one you took out that installation will be the reverse of the removal. Just tighten this down. This'll be the same for both of these, both the top and the bottom. Just get it tight and I'll come back and torque it. I want to do the same for the other side. Torque for the top one, it's 55 foot pounds. Hold it.

Reinstall the ABS wire where you clip it to the strut body. Push that in and then push this one in up here. Install lug nuts by hand. Going to use the socket to thread these down. We'll re-torque them with the vehicle on the ground. Torque the lug nuts in a cross pattern to 140 foot-pounds.

Reinstall the cowl panel cover. This is the inside of it. There are some hooks that will hook underneath the windshield, and it'll lay down over this lip here. Feed it around the hood strut and lift up on this plastic. Lift up on this clip here on the outside of the fender corner. It's going to slide underneath that. Slide it over and get the other side set. Lift up this plastic around the ground screw. Lift more like this and then it's going to go up, clip underneath. Put this rubber back, that down, and push the clip back in. Push this back in—the same for both sides.

Push the washer nozzle hose back in here. Put this down underneath. Clip it in place. Clip this down. Go ahead and reinstall all the push clips. Push these clips back in. Got this clip. I'll put it back in. Put the ground lug back on—it just threads back on. Give it a couple of turns to tighten it. That feels good there, I don't want to break it off.

Reinstall the wiper arms. The one with the shorter end here is the driver side. Move the nut that I put back on there so I wouldn't lose it. Just going to lay them in the same place with over the wipe transmission and wiggle it down and it'll go into the splines. That's where it was before. Get the nut started. The same for this one. Going to tighten these up. If I feel it getting tight I'll stop. I don't want to break off the wiper transmission. Same for this one. Replace these little caps. They just snap right back into place. They kind of pivot. Clip it right down. Do the same for both of them. Peel your tape off. Job is complete.

Thanks for watching. Visit us at for quality auto parts, fast and free shipping, and the best customer service in the industry.

Tools needed for replacement:

    General Tools

  • Hammer
  • Jack Stands
  • Wire Brush
  • Floor Jack

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Rust Penetrant
  • Painter's Tape

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

  • Needle nose pliers

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Torque Wrench
  • Ratchet
  • 1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Flat Blade Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

  • Complete Metric Socket Set

  • Specialty Tools

  • Trim Tool Set

  • Wrenches - Metric

  • Complete Metric Wrench Set

2007 - 2010  Saturn  Outlook
2007 - 2012  GMC  Acadia
2008 - 2012  Buick  Enclave
2009 - 2012  Chevrolet  Traverse
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