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



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,334
    A qualified Audi repair shop charges about 4.5 hours labor + parts here in the SF Bay area (labor rates may be cheaper where you live). The fronts require strut inserts but the backs are just shocks.

    Probably the whole job, done well and professionally by people who know Audis, would be around $800.

    Given that it takes a pro 4.5 hours, you'd have to figure it would take you 8.0 hours or so, if you had the right tools. Probably doing the rear shocks would be easier for you.

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  • Hi, I have a 2003 Toyota Prius with 80,000 miles and it recently started driving a little bumpy. I live in Denver and it's been unseasonably freezing and snowy. I took it to a mechanic and he drove around with me, said I should spray hot high-powered water in it to unfreeze it and then see what happens. I went to a car wash, and the water was cold... are there really hot water sprayers at some self washes? Is there really such a thing as a frozen strut? AND he said it would be $425 to replace ONE! From what I'm reading on this forum about $1000 being high for four... I think I should see someone else!!!

    What do you think?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,334
    Well 80K would not be unusual for weakening of the struts. That's about when it starts to happen on just about any car.

    As for "unfreezing" them, they should regain their normal function after driving them for a while---you don't have to defrost them, no. They should warm up on their own from road action.

    You could inspect your struts on a lift for leakage, that would be the first thing to do.

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  • How about the quote price... $425?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,334
    That's parts and labor for two front struts?

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  • I'm in Denver too (incredibly awful roads this winter) and my 1995 Saturn with 116,000 miles needs two new struts and strut caps. The dealer quoted me: $117.22 each for struts, $79.34 each for strut caps, 2.5 hours of labor at $98.50 and told me my car will need to be aligned ($85). So the total before tax is $724. Ouch. If I knew a really good mechanic I'd take my car there, but I don't!
  • Need to replace front shocks on my 03 4dr Accod EX V6 (left one leaked out).
    Can someone recommend a replacement part (someone suggested KYB gr-2) and a cheap mechanic in the bay area for a student like me to have their shocks replaced.
  • coderedcodered Posts: 43
    i have a 90 has a noise that hits at 40mph....when i trun to the right its gone....maybe a strut???? 1st fwd car not sure what to look for when thy go bad...any info would be good ...thanks
  • jimrayodenjimrayoden Posts: 1
    We took my wife's 1999 Lexus SC400 to the dealer to investigate a leaking shock on the right rear. The dealer recommended replaceing it and the other rear (they said it was starting to leak as well). The total for the job: $953! Wow, to say the least, this is sticker shock (pun intended). I know the dealers are expensive, but is this highway robbery, or the going rate?
  • wrench1wrench1 Posts: 8
    I've worked on autos/trucks for over 35 years and changed hundreds of Struts on Chrysler, VW, GM, Ford, Nissan etc. If the price sounds high, most times it is! I am NIASE certified and always got upset when customers would tell me of 'SO Called" mechanics ripping them off. I found that most vehicles with bad struts usually need the upper mount and bumper rubber changed also. I suggest that you ask around other friends to see who had honest/good service and maybe as i did, when younger, did a lot of side jobs at home for half of what the garage would charge.
  • flyinv57flyinv57 Posts: 1
    I have a '95 Jetta that is making a slight "clunking" sound from the left front strut area. The 'bounce' test reveals nothing but I am wondering, can I just replace the struts upper bearing plate or upper mount without having to replace an otherwise good working strut? The noise seems to come from that upper mount, Thanks
  • hodginihodgini Posts: 5
    man am i out of my element. one of my shocks broke. the bottom ring type part came disconnected from the shock itself. i'm not dumb so it looks like it's something i could take care of but when i got the nut that was holding the ring type part on off and began2try getting the ring thing off it wouldn't come? should i just force it? it doesn't seem like it would screw off cause how would u do that if the thing hadn't broken. i found a cheap replacement part but if i can't get the old one of it won't do me anygood. if somebody could give me a little advice that would b great. thanx.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Can you confirm your situation?

    You are talking about a shock, not a strut correct? A strut is an integrated unit, comprised of a longer shock with a spring wrapped arount it.

    Assuming this is a shock, what you are saying is that the shock itself has broken into two pieces. The bottom mounting piece of the shock has had the weld broken apart from the bottom of the shock. Correct?

    Assuming correct, then there are a couple different types of bottom shock mountings that are typically seen. One is a U-shaped frame, the shock mount with rubber bushing slips between the U, and a bolt goes thru both sides of the U and the shock mount. Another typical connection seen is a bolt that is mounted on one side only with the threaded end sticking out, and the rubber bushing shock mount is put over that, followed by a big flat washer and a nut. Is it the latter that you have?

    If so, then you should be able to remove the nut and washer, and slide the rubber bushing shock mount off. Normally you would have the shock attached which you can pry on to get it off, but in your case you may have to get a big screwdriver behind the bushing to get some leverage.
  • hodginihodgini Posts: 5
    there is a bolt that i only have access 2 one side of. i took of the nut and the washer. now the broken of piece doesn't seem 2want 2come off. i was affraid of screwing up the threading if i forced it off, but is what your saying is that's what has 2b done? just force the thing off by any means necessay? thanx again 4 responding.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Okay, yes, I think we understand your situation...and it needs to come off.

    Sometimes the shock mount is just a rubber bushing, sometimes it is a rubber bushing with a metal tube thru it, which slides over the bolt.

    If it is just the rubber, the rubber can get sticky and actually stick itself to the bolt....making it hard to get off. Usually what I try to do is put a pair of pliers or vise grips on the shock mount, and try to spin it on its' axis to break that sticky grip it may have.

    If you have the type with a metal tube thru it, sometimes the metal tube will deform and become hard to get off.

    Good luck
  • hodginihodgini Posts: 5
    the piece that is still on the bolt can be tisted either way and has rubber pieces on either side that look like they might go all the way through the thing. it definately has a rubbery feeling and sound when i twist it. so u'd go w/the big screw driver hit w/a hammer type idea?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Is the metal doughnut from the bottom of the shock still on the rubber, or is it off at this point?

    No I wouldn't hit with a hammer, you don't want to bend that mounting bolt, or break it off. I'd try prying it with a big screwdriver, using some frame or wheelpart as a leverage point. If that didn't work, I'd try using a small wheel puller, but not sure you would have one of those.

    For one car many years ago before I knew better, I actually burned the rubber off once with a propane torch, but that is particularly dangerous as the rubber catches on fire and burns, and then drops to the floor. Wouldn't recommend doing that.

    By the way, you're going to change out both shocks right?
  • hodginihodgini Posts: 5
    i was only planning on changing the one cause the other one is still attached. this is probably the part when u tell me i need2do both?? and i got it!!!! vice grips and twist 2 loosen it and then small pry bar up against some other part!!! wouldn't have been able 2do it w/out u. if u ever need something redone in your house let me know. i owe u one.
  • stec1979stec1979 Posts: 3
    I bought a 2 inch lift kit for my '03 wrangler last year and have yet to put it on. I seem to think that its a pretty easy task being that its only shocks and rubber coil spacers. Is this an easy task for someone with common sense or is it a big job thats just not worth the hassle and worth about 2 hours of labor fees?
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Well, a lot of people do lift kits by themselves. In my opinion it's not very difficult, especially with coil overs like you have, and a 2" lift is not as involved as higher ones. But, if you don't have any experience working around suspension systems, then my advice is to get some help from someone who does, or have it done. Not that it's mechanically challenging, but it can be dangerous.
    Also, typically you need heavier and larger tools than most folks have.
    If you decide to do it yourself, remember to follow safety rules, jackstands, wheel chocks, etc. It would help a lot if you had access to a floor jack.
  • mandy82mandy82 Posts: 1
    In reply to: This forum is to discuss shock/strut problems and how to best deal with what is becoming a rather expensive replacement item on cars approaching 60K-80K miles. Are products sold by chain stores just too cheesy to give decent performance? Is it worth upgrading shocks and struts if you are a more or less docile driver? Is OEM a rip-off for what you get?

    Let's hear your ideas and experiences.

    Here's my answer:

    your nissan strut mounts might need replacement. you should change every single one of them when you change one. check also on your suspension brushing. it may need some replacement too.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 10,043
    What is the difference between Strut and Wishbone suspension? Does one offer better handling than the other? I know this is basic but if I don't ask I'll never learn.

    2015 Mustang GT, 2009 PT Cruiser, 2004 Chevy Van

  • dean0101dean0101 Posts: 1
    I got main from Couldn't get better service from anyone.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    A strut suspension, has a combination spring over shock combo unit, which bottom ends connects to the hubunit. The bottom of the hubunit has a balljoint, which connects to a triangular A-frame like wishbone frame. The frame can move up and down, but not front/back, or in/out. So when you turn the wheel, the whole strut unit turns. The strut unit actually is pretty strong, as it is the weight bearing suspension part. The top end of the strut assembly mounts to the 'frame' high up in the engine compartment. This is a simple lowercost suspension.

    In a wishbone suspension you have two A-frames, one on the bottom of the hub (similar to strut assembly above), and another on the top. The hub pivots on balljoints between these two A-frames. The spring then mounts between the body frame and one of the A-frames, and the shock mounts similarly as well. More parts to this assembly.

    There are pro's and con's to both. Factors are cost, space, wheel alignment under different loading and body lean conditions, etc.
  • bandhelbandhel Posts: 2
    I have been hearing a pretty loud metal-to-metal "CLUNK" coming from the right front wheel area whenever I go over a gentle bump or dip in the road. The sound seems to come out only when going over a particular kind of gentle bump/dip (more often dip) on the road, and when I'm not going too fast either (probably between 20 - 50 mph). I don't think I've ever heard it when travelling at highway speeds, but this could be because of the road noise covering it up. Also, this does not happen very often when I'm driving alone. Having a passenger with me (i.e., more weight on the right side) definitely makes the sound come out more often/more easily.

    The car is a '98 Civic. I first started noticing the sound after an accident about a year ago in which the car's right side ran over a wooden log on the highway (long story). I had a blown tire up front and since only one side of the car ran over the log, the (auto) transmission case got hit by it and was cracked open. I got a brand new transmission and, since the dealership told me the front right suspension was bent and could not be aligned, the entire knuckle assembly (and some other parts -- probably the control arm) were replaced as well. The repair was done well but I'm now stuck with this clunking sound problem. I've brought it back to the dealer but they told me they could not reproduce the problem.

    Sorry about the long post, but can anyone tell me what is the most likely cause of this sound and how dangerous it is to continue driving? I have been driving the car for about a year since I first noticed the problem and so far nothing has happened. But it sure is unsettling whenever I hear it! Thanks in advance.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,574
    I've brought it back to the dealer but they told me they could not reproduce the problem.
    I've noticed that dealers are good for that.

    It could be a loose strut or a CV joint that is having a problem. Is it more pronounce on slow turns? Or on bumps?
    The best thing is to take it to a good tire shop, they usually have a good suspension person. Have them take a look and see what they think.
  • bandhelbandhel Posts: 2
    It's more pronounced on bumps/dips and I don't think the angle of the steering wheel has any effect. It happens when both turning and going straight -- basically whenever the car goes over this particular kind of gentle bump/dip. Do you think this means it's a lose strut rather than a bad CV joint?

    Thanks for the advice. As far as tire shops, would you recommend any of the national chains? If so, which one?
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,574
    It sounds like either the strut is loose or possibly one of the wheel bearings may be shot.

    As for one of the national chains, if they have a suspension/alignment guy, then they should be able to locate the problem. If you are on the west coast, Les Schwab Tires usually has pretty good alignment guys.
    Just have them check it out (you may have to pay for diagnostics). Then you can decide how you want to procede. If the dealer won't warranty the work, then you may be better off having someone else do the work. Their work for you wasn't very good.

    Here is a small list of thoughts of things it could be.
    Loose or broken motor mount.
    Loose or broken strut or strut tower.
    Loose or broken steering knuckle.
    worn out wheel bearings.
    Loose brake caliper.

    Any of these will cause a clunk.

    Does it clunk on acceleration or deceleration more than not?
    Or is it only when going over bumps?

    Usually CV joints will make more noise on turning than going straight.
    If you can narrow down where the noise seems to be coming from, that will help.
  • siadnsiadn Posts: 3
    I have a 01 Accord. It seems to give a creaking sound when going over uneven road. also when I go over a speed bump slowly and the car moves up and down it gives a creaking noise.

    Should I go to Midas in the Maryland area?
    I have about 60,000 miles on the Accord.
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