Are you experiencing some weird stuff from your front suspension? More precisely with your struts? And you probably want to learn the strut replacement cost? If this is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic.
Learning the cost of a replacement for a certain component can be a really good thing to do for you and your budget. The chance of you being ripped off by greedy mechanics would be minimal. Especially in this situation where the struts are due to be replaced. Mechanics simply love to overcharge on these things and make you pay a fortune for a simple strut replacement.
So, knowing the prices would be a great starting point for you. In addition to this, you also need to learn everything when it comes to struts and know all the possible scenarios when a problem like this hits you down the line.
And trust me, this is one of the things that often happens and is known to break whenever the vehicle goes above certain mileage. These problems creep up like crazy on you and you better be prepared for them and learn how to tackle them quickly and effectively. And we are going to help you out with that.
First, we are going to learn what are struts and why they are so important. Later we will learn the difference between struts and shocks. How do they differentiate? Then we will learn the symptoms of bad struts and how to diagnose the problem quickly and effectively. Then we will learn what is the strut replacement cost. So, if you are interested in learning more about this problem. Follow along.
What Are Struts?
Before we dive into the strut replacement cost, let’s learn some of the basics and that is what are struts in general terms? Not all people know what these components are and can be easily confused. That’s why we are going to guide you through it and make sure that you understand everything when it comes to struts. So, what are struts?
In simple words, struts are integral components of your vehicle’s suspension. Each vehicle has two struts and they are mounted on each of the front wheels. They basically lie below each strut tower.
The strut towers are the big towers that are on each side of the engine bay when you open up the front hood. There the struts are connected with bolts to the chassis of the vehicle on the top and on the bottom, they are connected with the knuckle. But what is the task of the struts?
Well, the struts are somewhat of a buffer between the wheels and the chassis. They make sure that these components never come in contact and avoid damage. Meaning that they are extremely useful. From what component are struts made?
The strut assembly is made out of a shock absorber and a spring. There is one hefty spring on each of these struts that guarantees that the car is always leveled, even if the strut shocks are done and due to be replaced. But what about the strut replacement cost? We will get to that later in the article.
We first need to understand some things and that is why they are so important and what is the difference between struts and shocks. And also the symptoms of worn struts, then the strut replacement cost. So, follow along.
Why Struts Are So Important, And Why A Replacement?
So, we learned what are struts and we concluded that this is a whole assembly composed of a shock absorber and a coil spring. And before we learn the strut replacement cost, let’s learn why the struts are so important and play an integral part in the vehicle’s overall performance?
As we noted, the struts are something like a buffer between the wheels and the body of the car. Without struts, we would have a fixed suspension. Meaning no impact absorbing. Basically, the same situation when you drive an agricultural machine.
But cars are not designed with this in mind but are designed to deliver comfort and comfortable ride for the driver and the passengers. That’s why the strut assembly was invented.
In the past, there were only springs in the front suspension. But this didn’t cut it because the body was floating. And even though the floaty drive is somewhat comfortable and you feel like you are driving on a cloud, it is not that practical because you don’t have much road feedback and the car doesn’t absorb the impact quite well.
Without struts, there is a bigger dive when you brake and the car squats when you accelerate. Not to mention the body roll which is insane on these trucks and cars that are not using struts. Not that practical after all. So, struts were invented to keep the vehicle nice and level to the surface and make sure that the car doesn’t bounce or dive too much.
Modern cars are so sharp and drive like they are on rails because of these improvements. And frankly, struts are a lifesaver, no pun intended. But what about the strut replacement cost? We will get to that in a bit.
Struts VS Shocks Differences
Now before we cover the symptoms of blown struts and the strut replacement cost, let’s learn first what are the differences between shocks and struts. Many people think they are the same but they are not the same in reality. So, what is the difference?
The difference is simple to explain. Struts are designed to keep the car level at any cost. Meaning that they absorb impacts but also keep the same ride height, the car doesn’t bounce after you hit a pothole for example. Unless the strut is blown. Struts also improve the maneuverability of the vehicle, making the driving experience a real pleasure.
Shocks on the other hand are only used to absorb hits. And that’s it. You will notice this because the shocks do not have a spring on them. No spring means that when the shocks fail, they show more symptoms than the strut. The strut even if it fails, still sits in the assembly where it is held really well.
So, if the shocks in the rear fail, you will notice how the rear of the car is lifted up. Something that is not noticeable when the shocks in the front strut assembly fail. But more on that, we are going to cover in the following chapters where we will elaborate on the symptoms. Later we will learn the strut replacement cost, so if you suspect that your struts are blown, follow along.
Symptoms Of Blown Struts That Need A Replacement
Now before we discuss the strut replacement cost, let’s discuss the symptoms of a blown strut. Knowing the symptoms is important to know because if you know them, you will be able to tell if your struts are blown or not.
So, what are the symptoms of blown struts? Let’s elaborate on them in depth in the following chapters.
1. Increased Bounce And Rebound
Now let’s start with the symptoms of blown struts. Later on, we are going to cover the strut replacement cost. The first and the biggest symptom associated with this problem is the increased bounce and rebound of the vehicle.
This symptom is most notable when you hit a pothole. Imagine that you driving on the road and suddenly a pothole appears. You go over it and the car bounces instead of absorbing the impact.
Then it rebounds and the consequences of this driving are felt after you keep driving. You will notice how your body goes forward and backward until the car gets back to normal.
This is not good. There should be minimal bounce and rebound when there are struts in proper working order. Whenever you notice this, the best is to learn the strut replacement cost and replace these struts. But not before learning the other symptoms.
2. Vehicle Squat When Accelerate Because Of Bad Struts
Another symptom that we are going to cover before we cover the strut replacement cost is the vehicle squat when you accelerate.
Imagine that you step on the gas abruptly, the nose of the car goes higher for a few inches and the rear end squats. This is not normal behavior. At least not on modern cars. The car should not squat when the shocks and struts are in good condition. Whenever this happens the best is to learn the strut replacement cost that we are going to cover later.
3. Vehicle Dive Under Braking Whenever You Need A Strut Replacement
Another symptom that is worth mentioning before we learn the strut replacement cost is the situation when the vehicle dives forward.
Imagine that you need to use the brakes and you step on the brakes abruptly, the whole front end dives and the braking is not good, the car doesn’t stop on time, then the body when the car stops moves backward and again forward. This is also not normal.
When the vehicle dives can greatly affect your braking distance. You could injure a pedestrian because the car will not stop on time.
Whenever you notice something like this you know that the struts are done and need replacing. The best thing to do is to learn the strut replacement cost and learn the prices. But more on that later.
4. Increased Body Roll Because Of Bad Struts
Increased body roll is another symptom that we are going to cover before we discuss the strut replacement cost. But what is body roll in general?
A body roll is a situation when the body of the vehicle leans under a sharp turn. If your struts are in good condition, the body roll is minimal and you drive like on rails.
But when the struts are bad, you will start to experience how the body of the car dances left and right whenever you go with high speed into a corner.
Not an ideal situation I must admit. That’s why this is a good example that you need to either check your sway bar link or the struts. If the struts are bad, then you should learn the strut replacement cost. But more on that in a bit.
5. Leaking Fluid From The Strut
Now let’s cover some visual symptoms when the struts are blown before we cover the strut replacement cost. The first symptom is visible leaks on the struts.
If you didn’t know, when struts are starting to fail, they tend to leak the hydraulic fluid that is in them. Same story as the shocks.
They are full of hydraulic fluid and at one point these seals that are holding the fluid inside of the strut are starting to fail so the fluid leaks. Later on, we will explain how you can inspect the struts for possible leaks and diagnose bad struts.
And after we are going to cover the strut replacement cost since it is one important thing for you to know if you want to sort this problem effectively.
6. Nose Of The Car Sits Up As A Sign Of You Need A Strut Replacement
And the last visual symptom of blown struts that we are going to cover before we discuss strut replacement cost is when the nose of the car sits up.
If the struts on the car are bad, the car will sit one or two inches higher than usual when the struts were in good condition. You can also compare the two sides and check at what distance is the wheel from the fender. If one of these wheels is higher than the other then you probably are having some bad struts and you need to learn the strut replacement cost. But first, we need to learn how to diagnose this problem in the first place and that’s what we are going to cover up next.
How To Diagnose Blown Struts For A Replacement?
Now let’s learn how you can diagnose blown struts? This will help us determine the strut replacement cost and we will learn if you will need two new struts or only one if only one of the sides is affected by this problem.
So, how this problem is diagnosed? Well, the procedure of diagnosing is simple. You need to learn all of the symptoms that we covered above in this article and compare them with the feeling that you get from the car.
Try to drive on an uneven road surface and see if there is bounce and rebound when hitting potholes. This is a great test to determine if the strut is bad.
Another test that you can do is to accelerate quickly, if the nose of the car goes up and the car squats, then you should definitely check the struts. Also, do a brake test, if the car leans forward too much could also mean the struts are worn.
And the last driving test would involve a bit of hard driving on corners. See if there is an increased body roll of the vehicle. Increased body roll means that something is wrong.
There are also tests that you can make when the car is stationary. Check the struts with a flashlight. See if they are leaking, if there are visible leaks, then this is a dead giveaway that there is a problem with the struts. Another thing we said is to measure the distance between the tire and the fender. If one side is sitting higher, then this is the strut you need to replace.
Overall, this is how you determine if a strut is blown. But what does the strut replacement cost? We will get there in a bit.
How About A DIY Strut Replacement?
So, how you can replace the blown struts on your car? This is really important for you to know before we cover the strut replacement cost. Luckily for you, in this chapter, we are going to explain how it is done at home using common tools.
This is a perfect job for beginners if you are replacing the whole strut assembly with the coil spring. If you are replacing only the strut it might be a bit more difficult since you will also need to have a spring compressor to compress the spring. But how it is done? Let’s elaborate.
The first thing you need to do is to jack up the car in the air and remove the wheel. By doing this you will have an open space to work and replace the strut.
The next thing you will need to do is to unbolt the bolt of the sway bar end link and remove the link. Then remove the bolt that is holding the strut to the knuckle.
After removing the bolts you can move on to the strut towers. Remove these bolts as well and the strut will simply pop off just like that. I told you that is easy.
Now it’s time for replacing it. So, if you have a whole new assembly, the things are fairly simple, just bolt in and repeat the procedure. But if you don’t have a new spring it means that you need to install the old spring. And you will need a spring compressor to compress the spring and remove it from the old assembly to the new one.
This might be dangerous if you are not experienced and definitely do not try it without a spring compressor. Now let’s discuss the strut replacement cost.
Strut Replacement Cost?
We finally came to the important bit and that is the strut replacement cost. How expensive is it to replace a strut on your car?
Well, that pretty much depends on whether you want to get a completely new strut assembly with the coil spring or you only want a strut and reuse the oil coil spring. If you want to reuse it, it will be the cheapest.
Either way, struts are not that expensive. For the part, you can expect to pay somewhere between $150 and $350 for most commuter cars. We are not talking supercars here. Struts are really affordable. So, the best thing is to do them in pairs, change the front ones for about $400 and call it a day.
But here comes the labor, the labor will probably cost you a good penny. For both of the struts, the prices on average are about $200 in total. So, for both struts and labor, the price would be about $600. This is a rough estimate. You can get an even better deal than this if you are lucky.
So, we learned the strut replacement cost. Now let’s see if you need to do an alignment when you are doing your struts. This is an important topic and that’s why we decided to cover it in detail.
Do I Need An Alignment With A Strut Replacement?
We covered the strut replacement cost, now let’s learn if you need an alignment when performing this work on your car. And the short answer is yes, you definitely need to perform an alignment on your car. Why is this the case?
Well, this is the case because whenever you change something on your suspension the car is out of alignment. You can choose not to do this. But you might face some of the symptoms of bad alignment down the line.
There is the steering wheel not straight, car pulls on one side, vibrations, uneven tread wear and so much more. That’s why it is highly recommended for you to perform an alignment. You don’t need to align all four wheels, you can do only the front ones since they are affected by this change. The average cost for this is $70, dirt cheap for what you get. It adds up on the strut replacement cost, but hey, you don’t replace the struts every day. So, no worries.
Conclusion To Strut Replacement Cost
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the strut replacement cost. First, we learned what are struts in general and why they are so important. Then we learned how they differentiate from regular shocks and as we concluded struts are a whole assembly with spring and housing, the shocks are only shock absorbers.
Then we learned the symptoms of blown struts and how to diagnose a blown strut on your car. We also covered how you can replace one at home using common tools and the strut replacement cost. They are fairly inexpensive components that are easily replaceable. Just not forget to do an alignment after you are done.
These tools have been tried and tested by our team, they are ideal for fixing your car at home.