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

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.


  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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 generate some interest in this topic?
  • 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
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    ....I'm open to suggestions. Any ideas for a new title?
  • Um....what about this?

    Shock and Strut Replacement: Cheap, OEM, or Upgrade?
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    ....make it happen. Thanks.
  • rosebroseb Posts: 1

    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.
  • How many miles on this car?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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's probably still a wheel balance issue although sometimes a bad CV joint can cause this very thing.
  • 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 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!
  • no noise + no unusual tire wear + no squirrely handling = no problem
  • 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,
  • 431dan431dan Posts: 1

    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.

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