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Shock and Strut Replacement -- Cheap, OEM, or Upgrade?

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,539
Ever had a shocking experience when pricing out placement shocks or struts for your car?

This forum was suggested by a member who will share his stories and would like to find ways of bringing down the cost of shock/strut replacement.

MODERATOR

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Comments

  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    I called Midas the other day (they just happened to be the first place in the yellow pages I came across) for estimate for replacing the shocks (actually they're called struts on my Corolla). Are you sitting down? Drum roll please.....over $800. That's right, that wasn't a typo. The struts were $80 each, $200+ labor for the fronts, $300+ labor for the rears, and $70 for an alignment. You should've heard me laughing at the guy on the phone. He probably thought I was nuts, but I'm not as nuts as the estimate he gave me. I guess the days of having new shocks installed on for $100 are long gone! What could possibly be so difficult as to incure over $500 worth of labor for installing struts? They can't be that difficult to install! Where do you folks take you vehicles to have new shocks (or struts) installed and who has the best prices. I've got to find some place much more reasonable than Midas!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,539
    What you are coming up against is shop labor rates, which are going up and up due to higher operating costs and the inability to find qualified techs at low salaries. Shop rates in my area at dealerships is about $135/hr and at private shops about $100/hr.

    Some day soon you will have to look at auto repair labor as the same as hiring a custom cabinet maker or expert brick layer or tile sculpturist.

    MODERATOR

  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    ....the higher operating costs, but why on earth would it take a tech 2 hours to replace front struts and 3 hours for the rears? Struts are a pretty simple, straight forward part that's basically just held in place with a bolt at each end. It seems to me it shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes per strut. If that were the case, the price wouldn't be so astronomically high.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Yoou didn't get a price for removing and reinstalling the strut assemblies, you got the price for replacing the struts. After the strut assembly is removed it has to be installed in a strut compressor and taken apart, then the springs, lower spring insulators and upper mounts transferred to the new struts, and reassembled. After that's done and the struts are re-installed, an alignment is absolutely necessary.

    And if you can find anybody who can replace struts in 15 minutes, including bringing the car in, hoisting it, removing the old struts and installing the new ones, road testing, parking the car, and processing the paperwork in 15 minutes, then please send me his phone number. I'll hire him in a blink.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    ....there was that much involved with strut replacement, but I still can't see it taking an hour for each front, and an hour and a half to do each rear. At any rate, I really didn't start this discussion to talk about every technical aspect of replacing struts, I'm actually hoping to have people post the places they've found that have the lowest prices for having this done.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    Am I to believe no one has had their shocks/struts replaced before?
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    ...to generate some interest in this topic?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,539
    I think most people like forums that are marque-specific when it comes to discussing repairs unless they are really big ticket/complex components like transmissions.

    We might try changing the title of the forum, like the one on Brakes...if you'd like....

    Shifty the Host

    MODERATOR

  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    ....I'm open to suggestions. Any ideas for a new title?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,539
    Um....what about this?

    Shock and Strut Replacement: Cheap, OEM, or Upgrade?

    MODERATOR

  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    ....make it happen. Thanks.
  • rosebroseb Posts: 1
    Hello,

    I recently took my 1993 Volvo 850, into my regular (and to my knowledge trustworthy) shop for an oil change and inspection. I was told that I need strut mount, struts, and rear shocks replaced. Their extimated cost for this was $1,500. Does anyone know if this is within the normal cost range? I'm planning on calling another mechanic and asking for a second estimate, just to make sure.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,539
    How many miles on this car?

    MODERATOR

  • I have a 93 Grand Am with 120k, Looking to get a couple of more months of daily highway driving ( apx 4k) before I purchase something newer. Local shop told me front struts need to be replaced but "SHOULD" get me the next few months without breaking.
    Any advice, I obviously want to be safe, feel a bit of a scare tactic from the shop, but don't want to spend $600 for a car that is worth $1,500.
    THANKS
  • kjdflkjdfl Posts: 1
    I see that you had to replace the struts on your Corolla. I think I am about to have to go through this process also. A few months back I started hearing a noise, like something is in my trunk. While having my brakes worked on the guy said it was probably a bad strut. I have also had a problem with my car shaking. The steering wheel vibrates and it is worse at high speeds. I have all new tires, balanced, alignment, new rims- so I am pretty sure that it is not the wheels or tires. Can anyone verify if this could be from the shocks/struts? How do I know if I need the front or back replaced? Any feedback is appreciated.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,539
    If you have more than 80K miles on the original struts, you need them anyway, ....but no, front wheel shimmy would not normally be associated with bad struts...it's probably still a wheel balance issue although sometimes a bad CV joint can cause this very thing.

    MODERATOR

  • Hi everyone - I'm hoping to get some honest advise regarding strut replacement...I recently bought a 95 Ford Escort wagon with about 80,000 miles on it - when I went in for an oil change, the mechanic suggested that I have the struts replaced. I asked him if it was absolutely necessary that I have this done (since it is an expensive job and I have the whole "single-mother-limited-budget" thing going on....), and he said that eventually I would want to have them replaced because it would cause excessive wear and tear on the vehicle, and the ride would be less comfortable - but that as long as the car was handling ok and not making loud noises when I went over bumps that it was not something I had to have done immediately. I recently had another oil change with a different mechanic, and during the "complimentary safety inspection" this guy also said my struts needed replacing, and continued on to give me this "life-or-death" scenerio in which there was a danger of some spring or coil associated with my strut coming undone and popping the wheel right off my car - and how that could cause a fatal accident if I happened to be on the highway when it happened....! My car has not been handling any differently since I talked with the 1st mechanic....so my question is this...I understand that I will eventually need to have my struts replaced, but is it really as serious as the 2nd guy is making it out to be, or is he just trying to get me to spend my money now, when in reality it could wait for a little while longer?? Thanks for the advice!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,539
    no noise + no unusual tire wear + no squirrely handling = no problem

    MODERATOR

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    My normal litmus test regarding struts is "If the car don't bounce on down the road and if they ain't a leakin' oil, leave'm alone."

    Regarding the shop that gave you the life and death scenario, not only would I run from that shop as fast as I could, I'd even consider reporting them to the BBB or some other such consumer protection group.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • 431dan431dan Posts: 1
    Hey;

    first time, be gentle. I have a 2001 Avalon XLS and it gets loose on the highway. Tires are good and I run new X-Ice in the winter. Suggestions for shocks. I've been considering the Tokico.

    Thanks
  • emsearsemsears Posts: 1
    Two nights ago I got a flat tire when driving on the highway. When I went to get the tire replaced I found out the coil spring had broken, slipped down and sliced the tire open while driving. It certainly wasn't life or death, but I could see where there is potential to cause an accident. The broken coil could also slice the brake line. There was obviously a financial incentive for the mechanic to get your business, but I don't think he was that far off and certainly did not do anything worth reporting to the BBB.

    My car is a 1997 Nissan Altima with about 167K miles on it. I haven't had the struts checked/replaced since I bought it about 6 years ago, but now clearly need to do that before I drive it much further.

    Just thought I would pass that along.

    Eric
  • stan6201stan6201 Posts: 25
    I want to repace the shocks on my 2WD Ranger with something that will provide control and as soft as possible ride. Most of my driving is FWY and 80+ mph is not uncommon when possible. I plan on keeping the truck for 3 more years. The truck is stock.
  • Can someone help me 'justify' or better understand why I need to replace struts?

    I own a 1997 nissan max with 146,000. it runs and performs like new. I have never replaced the struts or brakes for that matter.
    The rubber around the stuts is ripped. I have been told that it is not hurting the car to drive with some tears but that I should have them replaced. The estimate is about $1,000 for all 4.

    Thank you
    Scott
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,539
    Well it probably doesn't perform like new but it's hard for you to notice this difference because the struts tend to degrage slowly. Only when they totally collapse does the wear and tear become obvious. If you put new struts on, I'm sure you notice a difference---but if you don't drive hard and you aren't bouncing and thudding all over the place and your tires aren't wearing fast, well....maybe you can just milk 'em a bit longer....

    Usually 80,000 miles is a good time to replace the struts or at least think about it...that's when they start losing their edge. If you ever had to put the car through some hard work, like hauling stuff or very rough roads, as those old struts heated up you'd notice it I'm sure. They work okay right now but they have no "reserve".

    MODERATOR

  • sonixsonix Posts: 2
    I recently replaced my rear struts and was given a crazy price. First when Meinke said they cost $168.00 each I drove a few miles and asked at Advanced auto...after they stopped laughing they showed me the price they gave Meinke it was $64.00.

    Secondly I was told 2 hours for each side so at another shop they did it for 1 hour each side. The job was done in 1.5 hours. So in this case my bill went from ~$750.00 to ~$275.00!
  • sdk999sdk999 Posts: 1
    My Ford ZX2 (166k miles) needs struts all around. It's all original, which means they should have been changed about 80,000 miles ago, so I'm not questioning the need. The mechanic is afraid everything will fall apart when they're removed, and is recommending an "all-in-one type of strut. Before I spend the $850-$950 he's telling me this is going to cost, I have some questions.

    1) What is the difference between the all-in-one and the regular type strut?
    2) This is a sport model; will this type strut provide equivalent handling and support?
    3) Is the price quoted reasonable, or should I call around to more garages?
  • Mr Shiftright,
    I am shopping for front struts and mounts for my T & C 2001 LTD minivan. I am confused as to what brand I should go with.I am not shopping for price, I am shopping for simply the best in quality and if the best is worth all the price. My shop suggests that they replace with only MONROE replacement parts as their experience is best with them. I can understand the commercial interest to certain extent, but I would like an honest opinion and a kind of comparison for all the replacement brands.
    I hope to hear from you soon as I intend getting the job done in the next couple of weeks.
    Thanks in advance for your tips.
    Happy Holidays.
    Prakash :surprise:
  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    There are as many opinions on the best struts as there are brands of struts.

    First, however, I will comment on labor.

    Many cars, especially Japanese labels, require removal of the rear seat to access the upper rear strut mounts. This is why rears are more time than front. Age of the car, if you live in a "salt" state will add time on both ends.

    I sell Monroe, KYB, and other brands that are special orderes to customer specifications. Monroe Sensa Tracs, IMO, give a good combination of ride and handling. KYB's have firmer ride in their peformance lines, and do well for the more aggressive driver. Bilsteins are high price high performace preferred by many drivers of Europian cars.

    If your car is older, and high miles, the mechanic may recommend strut mounts and bearings, rubber isolators, and boot and bumper kits with the strut job. If all these are needed, the repair cost can be scary. Depending on the car, a four strut job could runs from around $450 to several thousand dollars. When they first came out, the electrically controlled air struts on the Lincoln Continental were more than the price of a whole new Huyndai.

    Harry
  • I have an Audi 1992 CS 100 two wheel ft wh drive. The shocks are shot. Can the shock cartridges be replaced on these struts or does the whole thing have to be replaced? Is this something a home mech. can do? I have a spring compressor that I used on a Toyota Camary a few years ago and it worked fine. I hear Audi's are a pain. If I was to take it to a shop how much would be fair to install all four? California San Francisco area.
  • gmhellmangmhellman Posts: 121
    My Bonnie has a leaking left front strut that needs replacement. I went to the local Pomps shop and got a quote for two front Monroe Sensa-Trac II struts, and 2 new Kelly Explorter 225 60 R16 Tires for my rear tires.......460 bucks out the door plus tax. This is an unbeleivable price. The local shops that I went to said that they couldn't even do the struts for that price. (I already had the front tires replaced with Kelly Explorers 2 years ago when my Michilens had separated their treads prematurely). I am just afraid that they are going to try to jack the price up by saying that I need new mounts and boots. The car only has 71000 miles on it. Any input would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Greg
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