What are struts?
Before understanding what struts are, you need to have a clear concept about a shock because both are similar in ways. The shock absorber is a component of a vehicle that keeps the tires on the ground while driving on uneven roads or terrains for a comfortable ride. The absorbers absorb shocks and trembling caused by jerky, even roads, and prevents you from getting injured. Although the shocks and struts are designed the same, their functions vary. The shock is placed mainly between two suspension parts.
Struts work the same way, but they have different roles in various vehicles. If a car has a strut suspension, the struts play the role of shock absorbers. Similarly, if a car uses shock suspension, the shocks minimize the vibrations for ensuring a smooth ride, and struts replace the shock absorbers and control the bouncing movement in your car or vehicle. Many people buy struts instead of shocks because they are cheaper than shocks.
Symptoms of strut failure
Struts are significant components of a vehicle. When it fails or malfunctions, it can cause problems with tires, engine, and transmission. If you experience issues in those central areas, you get the struts checked as well as the components. Replacing a failing strut as soon as possible also helps you spending money on other car parts that can get affected. Here are some of the symptoms of a failing strut.
1. Thumping noises occur while driving
Struts allow the vehicle body, chassis, and wheels to move smoothly and evenly when a vehicle comes across a bump. If you have a damaged strut, it will produce knocking noises as soon as your vehicle hits the bump. The strut’s inner shock and other components wear out with time, so if you hear a clunking or thumping sound, you should inspect where the sound is coming from. If you hear the sound coming from the rear tires, the struts are likely to be misplaced or broken. Contact a mechanic and see if you need to replace the struts.
2. Car shakes uncontrollably on bumpy roads
A strut’s job is to prevent your vehicle from moving haphazardly and losing control. If you are going through a rough road and still experiencing unusual bumps and jerks, it’s also a sign of lousy strut. The strut parts such as bushings, shocks, etc., might have been affected. You will no longer feel that smooth ride if a strut is broken. If you are experiencing bumps and cracks on your way, it’s a serious sign you need to check the struts.
3. Worn-out tires
Tire wearing is another prominent symptom of worn-out struts. When your struts get broken, it prevents your car from absorbing the shock; thus, your tires have a hard time on the road. They move aimlessly and uncontrollably, which puts a strain on them. Prolonged strut damage can completely ruin the tires, so keep that in mind. If your tires act funny, especially the rear tires, it’s time to take your vehicle to its doctor for a close inspection. Your mechanic will have a look at the suspension first and have it aligned before installing new tires.
4. Laggy brakes
Is your vehicle taking longer than usual to stop? If you have pressed the brakes and it’s still taking a few moments to halt the vehicle, this means that the shocks and struts aren’t working correctly. When struts or shocks fail to work, your vehicle loses the ability to stop. Damaged Struts can cause the stopping distance to increase. This is because of the extra time your vehicle uses to take up the piston rod lengths.
5. Fluid leakage
If you have experienced a few or all of these problems with your car, the chance is you have a faulty strut. As a last resort of testing, check the seals surrounding the shaft in your shocks and struts. You may notice the shock or strut leaking oils down the mechanism’s side. The loss of fluid can degrade the shocks/struts’ performance ability. Get the shaft checked by a mechanic as well.
How much does it cost to replace struts?
The average car struts replacement cost can fall between $130 and $300 if you replace a single strut. And it will cost from $500 to $900 if you are replacing a pair. The service charge for the repairing can take $150 to $300. The parts included for the struts replacement kit consists of shock absorbers/struts, springs, and anti-sway bars.
Can you replace struts yourself?
If you have basic knowledge about cars and suspension, you can replace both shocks and struts yourself. Replacing shocks isn’t tricky, although you may face challenges with rust or seized bolts. Struts either come as pairs or single. If the spring is separate from the strut, you need a spring compressor to compress it for the installation. Therefore paired or assembled struts are much easier to replace since it comes with added spring. So, replace struts only when you know what you are doing, or else a wrong move can cause more damage.
In the end, we will suggest you observe your vehicle and its movement. Pay attention to your car’s tires and components to see if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above. Even a single sign can indicate possible strut issues, so don’t waste time and immediately take your vehicle to a mechanic.