Car Care 101: How to Change your Ride’s U-bolts in a Jiffy
Written By: Sean
September 14, 2015
A U-bolt plays a significant role in a vehicle’s overall function, serving as a fastener in some of its round-surfaced components like its exhaust system and U-joints. It also keeps your car’s leaf spring suspension together, keeping everything from its top and bottom plates, its leaf springs, its centerbolts, its axle seats, and its other parts in place. Without it, your wheels won’t run properly.
Thus, it’s important for you to check your rides U-bolts every once in a while. And in case it does need some replacement, no worries! With a couple of long sockets and adjustable wrenches, as well as the tips listed below, you can do this quickly.
Place Your Car in a Flat Surface
When you are changing your car’s U-bolts, best do it in an area that has a flat surface. Once you find the perfect spot, park your vehicle, there, place a jack stand under its frame, and lift it up. (Note: By placing the jack under the frame, the car’s weight would be more evenly distributed between the two.)
Locate the Worn-Out U-Bolt
Find out which U-bolt needs changing and locate it. If you hear the exhaust pipes rattle or feel like the leaf springs are a little loose, then that’s where you should start your search; these symptoms usually point to a damaged U-bolt.
Lift Up the Pressure
Since U-bolts are typically placed in your car’s leaf spring suspension systems, it often has to deal with large amounts of pressure. Thus, you should diffuse this pressure first before proceeding with replacing the damaged U-bolt. Don’t worry! This pressure is usually alleviated by jack-lifting the car.
Remove the Old U-bolt
Now comes the main part! To remove the damaged U-bolt, remove the nuts at the bottom first. Take note that U-bolts have two. Make sure to use an appropriately sized deep well socket to loosen up those nuts. Once the nuts are removed, you can now remove the metal bar between the two tines and carefully lift up the U-bolt from its position.
Place the New One
Place the new U-bolt in the area where the old one was, and then keep it in place by putting the metal bar between its tines and screwing the nuts tightly. In other words, do what you did with the old U-bolt in reverse! Just make sure you screw up those nuts tightly to prevent any future problems.
Go Clean Up
Now all that’s left to do is the clean up. Put the old U-bolt and all the tools you used away. Then slowly and gently lower your car before finally removing the jack stand.
When appropriately installed, U-bolts eliminate any flexing from the leaf spring suspension system. Proper clamping of the spring by the U-bolts also provides the desired spring stiffness of your car’s suspension, greatly contributing in maintaining its ride height and handling characteristics. Thus proper U-bolt care is a must! And when it comes to high-quality U-bolts and other car parts, you know where to go!