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I need to replace my shocks/struts in my 2010 SES. I have never done this before on any of the vehicles that I own. I am mechanically inclined and easily capable of doing my oil, brakes, rotors, spark plugs, and anything else that doesn't require heavy duty tools or machinery. My questions:

1) How difficult would this job be for someone like myself?

I live in Richmond, VA where none of the tax money goes towards the roads, meaning that they are sh** and half the time I feel like I am off-road ATV'ing. I do not race, but I prefer to have a well-tuned machine that has a nice, comfortable ride on the way to work and back.

2) What brand and type of shocks/struts would someone recommend for that? I have heard Monroe, Bilstein, and KYB are pretty good but that's from premature review readings. All seem to have their equal pros and cons.

3) Would it be wiser for me to bring it to somewhere like Pep Boys?

In addition, I am not trying to buy the most expensive, nor the absolute cheapest. Somewhere in the economical range, maybe a little more with regards to high quality. Thanks in advance!
 

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Rear shocks aren't particularly difficult, but the fronts require spring compressor to change once the strut assemblies are out of the car.

Cheap ones that will last one job are avail. (like from Harbor Freight) or better tools can be rented.

Front strut mounts & spring bushings (bearing) which should be one separate piece on your year are a good idea to replace when doing the struts. They won't outlast a new set of struts even if "OK" now.

Many of the fancier brands you may see advertised are aimed at lower & stiffer springs than stock. You'd probably be fine with higher priced versions of "stock replacement" struts/shocks to go with the stock springs for the smoothest ride.
 
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