Piston Slap: Take My (Suspension) Abuse And Like It?
I have a 2006 Mazda 3 S with 120,000 miles on it. I live in Oakland Ca, where the pot holes shoot back. I blew out a front strut a last year and had both front struts replaced. After replacement, one of the struts squeaks like a rusty spring at slow speeds and is annoying. What is actually driving me crazy is a week ago the other front strut started making loud thunking under acceleration at slow speeds.
My mechanic, whom is one of the good ones, replaced both front shock mounts, assuming this would fix the problem. It didn’t, but one of them was all shredded. Now, I feel like I’m going down the rabbit hole, there are engine mounts and sway bar bushings that can be replaced, but this shouldn’t be so complicated.
My car is supposed to take my abuse and like it.
Excuse me Son, but when in the history of Autoblogging did a (non-Ranger based) high mileage Mazda ever take suspension abuse? Have you not listened to my screeds re: Panther Love?
Stupidity aside, engine mounts are kinda easy to check and it’s likely your problem, as discussed before. And sway bar bushings are cheap and usually easy to swap. This car is an 8-ish year old non-Panther with over 100k on the clock. Aside from big things like engines/transmissions/etc, be cool with any wear item failing at this point. It won’t happen often, but being “cool with it” is the right state of mind at this age.
Your mechanic is probably doing the right thing. Problem is, cars aren’t built like they used to.
Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:
Not built like they used to? Damn right! No more tune ups before 100k, engines are that good. Suspensions don’t need regular lubrication, though DIY-ers wouldn’t mind a greasable zerk fitting renaissance. Read the owner’s manual? Only if I can’t get the dash to talk to my smarty-phone or adjust the clock for daylight savings time.
How does this prove my original point?
Cars are now so good that we set ’em and forget ’em. Even with tighter suspensions, higher revving engines, loads of fragile(ish) electronics and idiotically thin tires, a modern car with over 100k will be in better shape than one from 25+ years ago. Especially when applying the same amount of maintenance. Hell, good luck getting that older car to even run past 100k with a modern car’s servicing regiment.
[Lead image: Shutterstock user Roland Magnusson]
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