By on August 11, 2015

 

strut. shutterstock user patruflo

Harry writes:

My daily driver is a ’99 Honda CR-V two-wheel drive I took over from my kid when she went to work overseas. It has been in the family since 2007 and has always been economical on gas, reliable and needed only regular service. It is fine for the 20 mile drive to work in suburbia — but we take our Pilot on trips because my wife refuses to ride in the CR-V.

At the last regular service my mechanic told me the ride is terrible because at 237k the struts/shocks are completely toast and it would be north of a grand to replace them. I checked online and the shocks are about 75 each but a complete strut assembly is about 225. All the sites I checked say degree of difficulty in replacing is high so I won’t be doing this myself.

My questions are:

  • Does the labor to pull apart the struts to replace the shocks wipe out the savings in parts cost?
  • Are there other parts that should be changed like bushings, spring rubbers and the like since we are already in there?
  • Will not doing the struts cause the springs to fail?

I plan on keeping the vehicle until I retire in four years, approximately 40k miles from now. What does the B&B say?

Sajeev answers:

Damn near any vehicle with that kinda mileage is likely to have terrible struts/shocks and (coil in this case) springs. Why? Because, as we’ve mentioned before, these are wear items that are neglected even more than worn out headlight bulb filaments. I wouldn’t be too surprised if you’re running on the original bits. Odds are your mechanic is right and they are making a pigs ear of your CR-V’s ride.

Question 1: With the advent of aftermarket damper+spring combo replacements (Monroe and Gabriel, for example) for MacPherson Strut configured vehicles, you always replace both the spring and the damper together. Even if they aren’t clearly bad, odds are the springs have fatigued to the point that replacement is a good idea. Factor in the labor involved to replace a strut damper (in a MacPherson strut) by removing and re-using the spring, and just throwing away the whole assembly for a new one is often cheaper. Considering the benefit of new springs and shocks, this is a no brainer. Always get the combo. Get new springs when renewing MacPherson struts.

Question 2: Maybe. Only your mechanic’s eyeballs will know for sure. I wouldn’t go digging around to replace control arm bushings as that’s more labor to remove, but if they are bad, I assume you trust this person enough to be fair with you. I wouldn’t be surprised if the end links for the anti-sway bars could be bad, but again, that’s for the mechanic to judge.

Question 3: In theory, a bad strut causes the spring to cycle up/down more frequently. In theory, every moving part has a finite number of cycles it can handle before it breaks or distorts to the point you (or your wife?) finds the ride to be unbearable. In practice? A bad strut doesn’t directly cause a spring to fail. Usually abuse (big potholes) or rust will do that instead.

Since you are keeping it for a while and I see replacement Gabriel “Readymount” spring and damper assemblies for your vehicle are $190 for the rear and $153 for the front, replacing the dampers and springs are a total no brainer. Hell, this place I’ve never heard of before has the whole set for much, much less!

Do it.

[Image: Shuttertstock user patruflo]

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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54 Comments on “Piston Slap: Strutin’ Around a Loaded Question?...”


  • avatar
    MR2turbo4evr

    Harry, if you’re buying the whole assembly (I wouldn’t), please do yourself the favor and replace them yourself. You only need a metric socket and wrench set and a little bit of time. The job is super easy, saves you money and makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. I’m sure you can find a video on youtube or a walkthrough thread on a forum that runs you through the process. Good luck.

    • 0 avatar

      Dont Forget end links and swaybar bushings at this age won’t add much to the price of the job and you are already there. If you replace all those you’ll have a new car

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Buy the whole assemblies and do it yourself. The fronts are literally 4 bolts per side, and the rears are only 3. All you need is a good metric socket set (3/4″ drive, up to around 19mm), a torque wrench, and a pry bar. Then pay $70 for an alignment and you’re done.

      Youtube links for installs:

      Front: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8QriXSIECc

      Rear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14VDKtSQGq0

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      Have you done this on this car? Or any Honda? My experience with Honda’s is this type of repair, which can be easy pesy on most other cars, is a total pain in the ass on a Honda. I’m a decent mechanic and when the suspension got soft on our Honda Element (similar to a CRV mechanically) I ended up sending it to a shop. Not DIY friendly, rusted hardware, Honda dealer specific crap, etc. No fun. Good luck finding a YouTube vid on this specific car too.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Well, the lower bolts for the rear struts on my ’03 CRV had rusted stuck in the damper itself, So I had to cut them off with a sawsall. Other than that,anyone with two hands should be able to do it themselves.
        The first gen CRV is just a raised Civic, so finding instructions shouldn’t be hard (it’s also pretty straightforward, so it may not even be needed)
        And I did find instructions for an Element on Youtube before doing the job on my CRV.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        I have an S2000 now, and an RSX-S before that. I’ve had the suspensions of both apart more times than I’d care to admit. Sure it’s true for most of them when you get into wheel bearing and hub work that it’s terrible, but for bolting in and out damper and spring assemblies, I haven’t had anything that I couldn’t get done with just a good socket set and a breaker bar. The way the CR-V is set up looks simple compared to either of my cars, and they were pretty simple as well.

        Note: The RSX did require a special ball joint tool to disconnect the front tie rod end from the steering arm on the strut without rupturing the boot, but it was a $15 tool and I definitely got my money out of it.

  • avatar

    I fully agree with Sajeev. Since the combo sets come pre-assembled you also get the benefit of getting a new strut mount which is the rubber bushing and plate that hold everything together up top so essentially you are getting 3 pieces per corner. If you are looking to do it on a budget, search for 41166515150001 on RockAuto. That will get you a set of combo assemblies for all 4 corners for around $250.

    You can also get the higher quality Gabriel units on RockAuto for about $600 for the set. Having the complete assembly cuts down on labor time since they won’t have to be disassembled and re-assembled using old components that might be seized. We used the combo units to replace the fronts on my brothers Camry and had them both replaced in about an hour so if you get the combos it may be worth it to do it yourself as its usually not too complicated.

    I know you may not be doing these yourself but for those that disassemble springs from shocks, please stay away from the Harbor Freight Coil spring compressors. They are dangerous and you can usually get a local shop with a proper caged spring compressor to remove the springs properly for about $10-15 per corner

  • avatar
    LUNDQIK

    Its easy enough to change a shock. What makes it complicated (and scary) is removing the spring from the assembly.

    If you are buying preassembled – do it yourself.

    Alternatively, If your springs are good (and to Sajeev’s point they likely aren’t if orginal) OR if you want to buy springs and shocks seperately, take them to a shop and have them simply do the assembly for you. I did this on my SUV. Changed all the shocks to Bils – but the coils were still good. Took everything off the truck, brought them to a local shop, paid $15 a shock to have the old spring removed and put on the new shock. Drove home and installed them back on the truck.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Buy preassembled. So easy for your wallet and for the mechanic. After that many miles and you want to keep this car for another 250k, then you should replace as many bits as possible with new. If you’re not confident or do not have the garage-mahal that can tackle a job like this, leave it to the mechanic you trust. That way if there’s an issue, he has the liability, not you.

  • avatar
    heycarp

    old damper eng. here –
    OEM strut/shock assemblies with many miles & age are better than new aftermarket assuming the rubber mounts & rod seals are ok. Hey , the whole internals are bathed in oil. Not many assemblies on an automobile can claim that.
    Harry is concerned about “ride”. Aftermarket stuff usually steps up a piston size. 25.2 to 32mmm for example. Valving also goes super stiff. Aftermarket stuff attempts to solve other problems like spring sag , suspension bind , and other high mile maladies. This results in a log wagon ride. Besides when you plop down big $ for parts you want to experience the difference. Right ?

    • 0 avatar
      tabaplar

      This has been my experience exactly.

      A year ago I had the rear strut assemblies replaced with aftermarket on a Toyota Highlander at 190K (something was clearly amiss, lots of noise and scary handling).

      Body control certainly improved, but brought with it the ‘log wagon’ ride quality that’s borderline unbearable on rough surfaces.

      Now I’m debating swapping out the rear struts with OEM, but expect the cost would be excessive.

      Are there ANY affordable aftermarket units that maintain OEM ride quality?

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      Heycarp, insightful post of the day right there! The only time i have been able to find dampers as good of a quality and ride handling compromise as OEM was when i was doing handling mods, and those were typically Koni or Bilstein stuff, custom valved in one case.

      Why do the aftermarket engineers crank up the damping like that? The OEM strut on my Lexus is made by KYB, the only way to get the Lexus ride as they call is to use OEM, the other stuff rides stiff, even the KYB aftermarket strut!

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    I did this 2 years ago on my ’01 Avalon.

    Head to Harbor Freight and get their electric impact wrench and a socket set. I use mine for all maintenance and it’s been a lot of bang for the buck. You’ll appreciate it for zipping off lug nuts and the two large bolts that mount the strut to the control arms.

    Spring for (sorry) the complete spring / strut assy. You get all new bits 7 bushings, plus the new springs increased the ride height by about an inch, which the car badly needed. Plus you won’t have to mess with any spring compressors and the hassle/risk associated with it.

    Mine were about $175 per corner.

    Finally, go and get your wheels aligned. Even though the car might track correctly after the install, you still need to get it checked.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I say if you want another 40K out of it have it done for the grand, you save yourself the pain of doing it your self, you have another set of experience yes check if there is anything needed and you should be good for 40k no problem , assuming everything else is good to go.

  • avatar

    It’s absolutely a job you can do yourself, but I want to stress that you have to be extremely careful when compressing the springs for removal and installation, because they are dangerous.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Seconded.
      If you’re not careful you will end up with two complicated fractures in the two middle bones in your hand (could have been worse) and 5 titanium screws holding them together. And if you don’t live in a country with ‘free’ healthcare (like I luckily do) a massive hospital bill.
      I must admit, the springs on the CRV has almost no tension on them compared to the 525iX springs that took out my hand.
      Unless any of the bolts that hold them are rusted, changing all the springs and dampers on a 2nd gen CRV was a simple ‘over the weekend’ job for an ‘untrained’ mechanic who has just owned too many crappy old ‘cheap’ cars.
      Worth a mention, if you buy the complete struts you don’t have to worry about small parts like dust covers and other things that add to the cost, and it should take just a few hours to do all four corners. In my case there just weren’t any complete adjustable shocks and lowering spring struts available.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Do not do it. At 200k and 17 years old it just isn’t worth it. Unless it was done previously there are other suspension bits that need replacement. So the next thing you know you’ve spent $2000 or more. This is the time to just drive it and only fix things that keep it from getting you to work. Put that money away for its replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      The suspension is for a CRV, the b20 is probably good for another 100k miles. This isn’t a Volkswagen.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Funny how you say that it won’t need anything else in this comment and then right below it you say you think it has the same rear suspension as the Civic so it will need the rear control arms.

        Fact is spending even $1000 on this vehicle puts the owner in the situation where they are married to a beater. Well I just spent $1000 on struts so I better do this $500 item and then this $250 thing and that $700 thing and you end up with a car that is still an old beater and isn’t worth much more or even as much as you’ve spent on it in the last year or two. Replacing struts is one of the more common starting points on the path to a money pit, that I’ve seen in my many years in the automotive repair field. I don’t know how many times I’ve had the customer who got sold on replacing the struts and then couldn’t let go of the car when I told them that doing X wasn’t a good idea financially.

        • 0 avatar
          That guy

          This. It’s a 16 year old car with a quarter million miles on it. It’s hardly even worth $1,000. I wouldn’t dump a bunch of money into a luxury fix like this. Only fix the stuff that is making the car unsafe or unreliable. Just deal with the lesser stuff. The last thing you want to do is put a grand into a car that’s near the end of its life for something you can just deal with. Now if it’s truly that horrible, you could buy a set of economy strut assemblies from Rock Auto for under $100 a corner, but that’s probably a short term fix since economy parts are generally junk.

        • 0 avatar
          EAF

          Scout,

          *If* the rear lower bolt is siezed onto the bushing, then yes, he may have to spend an additional 80 whole dollars on a pair of rear control arms (plus labor). If he opts for a non-fancy China set, they will set him back 40 bucks on ebay. The price of a tank of gas!

          We’re not breaking the bank here. I do understand your “married to a beater” theory but fact is we don’t know the condition of the rest of the car.

          It could very well have another 100k miles left in it, in which case it is well worth the investment.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      I politely disagree. And you are not wrong either. This vehicle may need a full suspension overhaul. New bushings, ball joints, end links, springs, shocks, the works. It’s expensive, but even if it costs $5k you are still $10k ahead of buying even a cheap new car and $20k ahead of buying a new car in the same class as this CR-V.

      So you spent $5k on a $1k car, so what? The goal here is to get a car on the road in good shape that can get you here and there. It’s not an investment instrument, at the end of the day it’s little more than a tool. So do you want to spend $5k to accomplish that goal, or $25k? Unless the car has terminal cancer (rust) I almost always tend to prefer fix over replace.

      • 0 avatar
        JCK

        “It’s expensive, but even if it costs $5k you are still $10k ahead of buying even a cheap new car and $20k ahead of buying a new car in the same class as this CR-V.”

        This is the critical point. You have to spend money either way, and the fixes are generally less expensive than buying another car.

        Frankly, spending a grand or two or three each year on an old car is a lot less than buying a new one, even if the car is worth less than that.

        The real question is what you’re using the car for. If you’re puttering around town, putting 4-10k miles on each year, an older car is fine. But if you’re putting on 20k miles, and rely on your car for work, you can’t have it spending days in the shop every few months for the next repair.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No it is not cheaper to drive an old beater into the ground if you have to pay someone to keep fixing said beater. Buying a brand new car may not be worth it but buying the right late model used car and driving it for a year or two will be much cheaper in the long run that keeping that beater alive. The key is buying the right car which means finding the idiot that just spent lots of money on new quality tires, new brakes, new struts, major service and then decided to sell it shortly there after. Then you can drive and only spend money on fuel, oil and insurance. Sell it before it needs anything more than that and you come out ahead.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        So now you have $6K into your $1K car but that is OK because you love it and since you love it you name it Brad. Then someone runs into Brad and totals it. The insurance company will only give you $1K for Brad even with all those new parts.

        So you are better off with taking that $5K and the $1K you get for it and buying a $6K car.

        Its one case where the Aussie’s have it right when they say their car “owes them $xx”. Sure cars are not an investment for most people but that doesn’t mean they need to be a money pit and that you should throw many away on them. Now if it was a toy car and not a tool then yeah I totally get the justification of spending more than it is worth in part because toy cars are typically desirable and there is someone else who might want it as a toy. That means that by putting $5K into it you might be able to get $2.5K extra back when you sell it.

  • avatar
    EAF

    The only thing I would like to add, that was not stated already, is do not purchase anything manufactured by Monroe. If you do, you’ll be doing the job over again rest assured. They are junk. They bottom out easily, they float, and they don’t last very long either. Sensa-trac / Reflex or whatever they call them now are only good for junkers.

    Edit… I believe the rear suspension of the CRV is identical to the Civic of that era, therefore, you will most likely have to replace the rear control arms as well. I’ve found, in every high mileage case, that the lower strut bolt (rear) essentially siezes onto the bushing. Impossible to separate without damaging the bushing.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    People don’t change shocks/struts nearly as often as they should. IMO 100k should be an absolute limit, but I see cars all the time with a back (or front) wheel jittering like a paint mixer.

    I’ve never bothered with those preassembled packages; seems like a waste of money unless your springs are already broken or you have a (understandable) fear of spring compressors.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Point 3 is totally wrong. Steel has an infinite fatigue life if you stay below the fatigue limit. Look at the s/n curves.

    • 0 avatar

      Then why do springs break and start to sag as they age?

    • 0 avatar

      Couldn’t one say that every metal has an infinite fatigue life if you stay below the fatigue limit?

      I have a titanium frame on my bicycle. As I understand it, at normal atmospheric conditions, titanium has an infinite fatigue life (one reason why they use it in high end unbreakable eyeglass frames). Titanium springs would probably last longer than the car. I wonder how expensive they’d be.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Probably very?

        A web search finds that “Renton Coil Springs” sells them for bikes and racecars, but I can’t find pricing…

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Not quite. Aluminum for example has a limited fatigue life no matter how small the stress. Look up the s/n graphs for cycles to failure for steel and aluminum. You’ll see steel has infinite cycles below a certain stress threshold.

        • 0 avatar

          Does any manufacturer use aluminum coil springs?

          • 0 avatar
            DevilsRotary86

            I am sure it has crossed the mind of a British or Italian car engineer at some point in history.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Probably not. Steel has additional properties that make it desirable for springs such as greater elastic deformation potential depending on the alloy, that is the steel can deform and bounce back to the original shape. Im not sure any aluminum alloys with that material property exist that are good enough for a spring, although airplane wings do have a lot of flex.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I’ve had good luck with the quick struts packages, just a great option for a shade tree mechanic. I’m running on some Monroes and they have a great, luxury car ride. The Monroes I would stay away from are the real econo line, but their higher end stuff has been good so far in my experience. One set was made in Japan (struts only), the other in the US (quick strut package). KYB is another good alternative but they tend to be on the firmer side.

    I will say though that the springs themselves are usually fine on the “old” car, it’s usually a situation like heavy rust where they need replacement. But by the time you’ve replaced the strut mounts along with the struts, the price is close enough to where it makes sense to just buy as a package and save the headaches. RockAuto is a great retailer to get them from.

    I personally would steer casual DIY’ers away from disassembling a coil spring to put in a strut unless you have a wall mounted spring compressor in your garage. Just a very dangerous job that’s usually done with pretty sketchy tools that can easily break or slip.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Speaking from experience, I replaced all four dampers on my Saturn around 200K miles. I did remove and reuse the old springs on the front struts. The job was very straight forward.
    The only issue I had was removing the bolt holding the strut to the support plate. I twisted a hex bit into a spiral trying to remove the bolt from the damper shaft. After screwing around with this for almost an hour, I decided to take another path and got out my trusty electric impact wrench. It worked instantly.
    I spent $75 each on the OEM front struts and $30 each on the OEM rear shocks. I also replaced the sway bar bushings and ends for about $40.
    I used a spring compressor that I borrowed from Advance Auto. It was the traditional design that some look at as dangerous. I don’t believe it’s very dangerous if you follow the directions provided with the tool. If it were as bad as some on the interwebs claim, I highly doubt the the auto parts stores would lend it out.
    So all in all, I spent about $250 AND three hours of wrench time to complete the job.

  • avatar
    dingram01

    “Always get the combo.”

    No, sir, no, no, no. Okay, maybe for a 250K mile beater. Maybe. But these combos are made up of a combination of inferior parts, likely including the springs, and almost certainly strut bearings and spring seats. These either will not last or will perform less than optimally compared to quality parts.

    Springs do not wear or break unless they’ve been subjected to severe conditions, or unless they were of inferior quality to begin with. There have been stories of various cars that came from the factory with flawed springs that did not hold up over time, but these are exceptions. So unless you think your springs are sagging or cracked or broken, no point replacing. If looking to save money, you can weigh the value/economy proposition against the age and miles on your car, but please don’t tell people to “always” replace the entire assemblies. This is poor advice.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      Indeed, the OEM spring is likely going to last longer because of the thicker coil if it is not rusted, than the aftermarket preassembled one come with (that sag in a short time).

      Take the assembly out and buy OEM parts individually, like spring seats, and reuse the spring. You can bring it to Pepboys or a mechanic and ask them to swap the spring over for you if you do not want to use a spring compressor at home (the hardest part of DIY).

      Now if you only plan to keep the CRV for a couple years it may be worth to just buy pre assembled unit and screw it in.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      +1, the cheap crap that comprises the assembled struts is just junk. Like so many replacement parts they are shopped for price and are developed accordingly.

      Go with OEM if you want the same ride quality, skip springs and some other hard parts like spring seats if you want to save a little dough.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Sell it and buy something newer.

    As soon as the next major fix-up on our 2002 CR-V comes along, that’s what we’re going to do. These will never be classics – just a family trucklet – which it does very well. Even so, there comes a time when you’re throwing good money after bad.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yup, though the key is to sell it before the next major expenditure and that doesn’t have to be a repair it could be a set of tires or a major scheduled maintenance item.

      Struts on a car with this age with this many miles that will never be worth anything more than they are right now leads to throwing good money after bad.

  • avatar
    rockets

    My ’05 Element EX manual AWD (160k miles) needed struts all corners, all bushings and control arms (and a clutch, alignment, tires – again, as they got chewed up every 30K no matter what I put on it – radiator, belts, hoses and other miscellaneous items): all told, north of $4000 for repairs as I was not going to do it myself. There was also some minor rust repair needed. I wanted to keep it and fix it, my wife hated it and did not, so we compromised and sold it, with full disclosure, for $4500. I still miss it; it was the only Honda I have had with any character. I would say if the rest of your vehicle is still going strong and you really like it, fix it. Both my boys drove the Element for a few years, and basically beat the crap out of it, no doubt contributing to its early decline, despite regular maintenance.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Did that to 2 of my cars: Integra which is similar to the CRV, and Corolla, at around 150k. I used KYB and Tokico dampers but reuse the spring. They are still going strong at 250k and 230k right now.

    It is much easier do if you have 2 people working on it together so you can line up bolts from the top under the hood or behind the rear seat / trunk while someone hold the bottom in the wheel well. It is also much easier if you have someone hold the strut / shock while the other turns the bolt on the spring compressor. The hardest part is the spring compressor, at least on small car the coil is so small the spring compressor may not easily grab the spring on opposite side, and at least on one occasion, I have to take the spring to a tire shop to compress it for me ($50).

    If you are not good at DIY I’d say buy the assembly and call it a day. If you want to keep the spring because it may last longer then it make sense to buy just strut / shock and install it yourself (or find a shop that will compress all of them for you for a low fee).

    You don’t need to replace the bushing (likely the whole control arm instead) unless they are worn. The only saving if you do all of them together vs as need is 1) nicer ride, and 2) save the alignment cost.

    For a 237k CRV I’d just do as little as possible, because who knows, the extra maintenance may not pay off.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    I’ve used Monroe Quick-Struts on 3 different FWD vehicles with good results. One of these vehicles had both rear springs broken.

    On another RWD vehicle, I went with Bilstein struts and like-new springs taken off from a vehicle that had been lowered. This involved using spring compressors to remove and reassemble the strut.

    On 2 of the 3 FWD vehicles, I also replaced the front wheel bearing assemblies, and I should have replaced the them on the 3rd vehicles but didn’t. If I were doing the struts, I would consider doing the FWD wheel bearings too. They start making a growling noise once they start going bad.

  • avatar
    case

    Thanks to all the B&B I guess it was foolish of me to expect consensus but I am better informed. The body is in very good condition, but I am looking at a timing belt change in the near future. I think I will wait until then to decide on the suspension upgrade. The comment about paying a few thousand a year to keep a usable vehicle serviceable as an alternative to buying newer or newer used struck a chord with me
    thanks again Harry in NE Georgia where cars don’t rust out

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      NOOOOOOOO you are building your own trap. Sell it before it is due for the timing belt. Once you’ve done the timing belt then you’ll talk yourself into the struts and then replacing other suspension bits and then xxx and then xxx and you’ll be married to your beater.

      The newer used car will be cheaper in the long run and it will be worth something while throwing money at something like a 200k 17 year old car will not make it worth more.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Another way to look at it is that at the end of the day new struts will not make your wife want to ride in the CR-V. It will still be a CR-V and will not be as nice of a place to spend time in as her Pilot. So spending money on struts so your wife will ride in it on occasion is silly. Just take her car when you go someplace together, she’ll be happy and you’ll have $1000 more in your pocket.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      I am honored that you have considered my suggestion. However, I will point out that my suggestion is not necessarily right; I just wanted to point it out as a viable possibility. Really, only you know what state your car is in. Further, an average car payment for a “humble” vehicle is about $300 to $400 per month, or $3600 to $4800 per year. Let’s just call it $3500 to $5000 per year to play with nice round numbers. If the state of the car is such that you are paying “a few thousand per year” beyond oil changes and tires to keep it on the road then I would seek to replace it. I lean towards repairing over replacing, but I do not pick that answer all the time.

      However, if for example it were a matter of spending $5000 to refurbish the suspension and there were no further repairs expected and I could expect another 5 or so years of trouble free service then I would choose to keep it on the road.

      If I may suggest something. Perhaps it would be a good idea to take your car to a reputable independent or dealer mechanic and request a pre purchase inspection (PPI). You are not necessarily looking to sell it, but you would like a full audit of the car and what repairs may be expected in the near future. If the PPI audit reveals that it will indeed be an ongoing “few thousand dollars a year” vehicle then you I personally would lean to replacing it. But if the PPI audit reveals that for $5000 or so the car could run another 5-10 years, then I think it is worth it.

      But at the end of the day, of course you are an adult free to make your own choice. Please feel free to ignore me and do what you think is best. All I wish to do is point out possibilities that you may not have previously considered.

  • avatar
    AMC_MatadorX

    I’ve always swapped just the strut itself, never the spring. This whole talk about the spring “wearing out”…ok maybe if you tow or offroad, or possibly from rust, but other than that I’d doubt it. My original Made in Japan springs that still perform 100% but have 200k on them are way better than some iffy Chinese units that were built on guesswork and inferior metal.

    There is lots of discussion online about the quick strut assys having the wrong spring rate for a specific model (usually too softly sprung), and causing safety issues. Not always, but out there.

    I would prefer to swap parts of known origin, (Japan for my KYBs, and OEM for the new strut mount/bearing where needed)

    Oh and if concerned about safety, here’s a trick. Go and rent from the part store TWO (2) compressor kits, use one pair to actually do the work across from one another, and the other pair as your safety pair, tightening by hand as you go to offer back up in case of failure. I have had no issues doing it this way. In some cases, such as my 1998 Toyota, I actually need 4 compressors (90 deg apart) to properly, evenly, and safely compress the spring.

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