How will I know if a shock or strut needs to be replace […]
How will I know if a shock or strut needs to be replaced?
The driver of a vehicle may not notice any difference under normal driving conditions, but when a shock or strut is leaking excessive amounts of fluid, it should be replaced. However, sometimes a failed strut/shock can be very obvious and may present as severe bounciness or added harshness over bumps. There may also be uneven tire wear due to the worn Suspension Shock Absorber components. For the most part, it can be very difficult to detect a failed shock or strut because the deterioration of the part happens very slowly and steadily over time.
What if I don’t replace my struts or shocks when they fail?
Usually, worn struts and shocks don’t present the same dire safety concerns that a failed braking system would. However, there are still safety issues that can arise. Most common is overall poor handling in turns and over rough roads (in severe cases, this can cause complete loss of control of the vehicle). Another side effect is increased braking distances due to increased bounciness of the suspension. There will also be uneven tire wear, as the tire’s contact with the road is not as consistent as it is with a new shock or strut.
What does it cost, and why?
Replacement of shocks and struts can range from a fairly small repair bill to a major expense. If a vehicle has shock absorbers, replacement may cost around $300–400 for both sides. However, struts are usually much more costly to replace. Each strut is a larger, more structurally integral part, and requires more extensive disassembly to remove and replace. The spring must be safely compressed and the top mount removed in order to replace the strut. Replacement of two struts can range from about $600 to upwards of $1200 depending on the vehicle.
Is there anything I should replace at the same time?
First and foremost, it is recommended to replace both shocks or struts on an axle at the same time. For example, if the left front strut fails on a vehicle, both front struts should be replaced to ensure even handling and to prevent premature wear on the new component. Sometimes there are other components that are recommended to be replaced on a case-by-case basis; the most common example is the top strut mount (a rubber component with bearings that can wear out over time). Less commonly, the coil spring needs to be replaced with the struts (this is more prevalent in states where rust is a problem). Other accessory components such as sway bar links may need to be replaced when replacing struts, as sometimes they break during removal to access the strut (again, this is more common in states with rust issues). Lastly, while it is not a part to replace, sometimes an alignment should be done after replacing struts. On some vehicles, there are adjustments that are affected by replacing struts and an alignment should be done to prevent abnormal tire wear.