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



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,766
    That depends on the quality of the struts you buy--what you want is a compliant strut, a "touring" grade, not a "sport" strut. Probably for your car KYB is a brand to shop. Bilsteins are oustanding, but very expensive.

    If the struts don't do it for you, you can install softer springs and even a smaller sway bar.

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  • azfarazfar Posts: 8
    how are monroe sensa tracs for that purpose ?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,766
    yeah they'd be okay as a replacement for the factory shock, although I'm not so sure you'd get the same mileage out of them.

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  • azfarazfar Posts: 8
    by mileage u mean gas mileage ? hows that going to affect gas mileage?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,766
    no I mean length of service.

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  • Have any experience with aftermarket struts? I find them on ebay for a good price. Two brands that were identified were Ultima and Sensa. KYBs are oem but they're twice the price...
  • You can get a spring commpresor at a local car part store (rent or buy) do the replacement your self & drive it real carefully to the alignment shop. Probably take ya a little longer then mowing the grass recruit a moonlighting grease monkey if ya not mechanicaly inclined.
  • rlee777rlee777 Posts: 7
    edited October 2014
    Shock replacement is relatively simple, but strut replacement can be challenging and not the best DIY project for a novice who is limited with tool selection (especially air tools), who lives in the rust belt or does not have a service manual. Struts have multiple parts that need to be in good condition for safety and lack of noise. Replace the wearable parts (e.g. strut mounts / bearings, spring seats, etc) or use the complete strut assembly package that many aftermarket vendors now offer. Something that has not been mentioned is to use a torque wrench for all suspension related bolts and nuts.

    Aftermarket options can be much less expensive -- here is my experience with a few popular models:

    KYB GR2 - well made struts and shocks, but valved to be firmer than OEM. Makes the ride bumpier/less plush. Good longevity. Satisfaction is high for a sportier ride, but low for those who like a more serene ride.

    Monroe Sensatracs -- firm (less so than KYB GR2) and fine for most applications. However in my experience and from other forums, durability seems to be a problem. Even though it comes with a lifetime warranty, the labor to replace the struts is costly, unless DIY.

    Gabriel Ultra -- very good dampening, plush ride. Great fit for those who like a softer strut/shock -- these work well in my Camry. Good handling is maintained, though softer than OEM in many cases. Excellent value.

  • I have been told that 3 out of 4 of my strut/shocks are leaking on my Toyota Camry 2010 XLE, confirmed by a dealership. I have been quoted roughly $1300 for all 4 to be replaced. The car has 90,000 miles on it now. What are the best brand to buy to have them replaced? Which ones last the longest for the vehicle that I drive? Popping noises in the trunk have started going on, just after I bought new tires and had a alignment done, then in 5,000 miles when I had the tires rotated and balanced again I was told that the struts were leaking. I've read some of the blogs, but have never had to have any of the cars I have owned in the past struts/shocks replaced. I have read that they actually should last for the life of the car, and some say replace them every 80,000 miles.
  • texasestexases Posts: 6,574
    Do you have an independent shop you trust? Struts can leak a little and still be ok. And popping noises are more often from worn suspension components and bushings, not worn shocks/struts. Is the handling OK? Do you notice any change from when you first got the car? After you drive over a bump does it continue to bob, or does it calm down quickly?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 47,507
    Twelve years later, this post still sticks with me. The gist is "the best shock to replace your original equipment shocks with is another set of original equipment shocks. Shock selection at the factory produces virtually a custom shock absorber tailored for the vehicle's characteristics. Aftermarket shocks are not tailored in this way, in fact they often sell the same shock for several different vehicles the shock maker deems as similar. Financially, it is simply not cost effective for an aftermarket maker to develop a shock for each model on the market."

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