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I have done these before, but tbh it always scares me. The coil springs have a ton of stored energy and there's no redundancy in these tools. I have one these compressors:

View attachment 175644

Any tips or tricks on how to do this safely and with less risk?

I would have purchased a ReadyStrut (pre-assembled) but I have had mediocre experiences with Monroe, and KYB doesn't have one for the Volt.
I've done this job, not on my Volt and it was a little nerve wracking. I used the more traditional "cheaper" compression tool that hook to the turns of the spring. It worked out fine in my case. You could always bring it to a local shop who might be willing to change over the springs? Go slow and check for signs of misalignment or slipping.
 
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