The signs and consequences of worn out struts.
Have you been experiencing more bounce in your ride than before? Are you really feeling all the imperfections in the road that you could swear you've never felt? If so, then take a look at your strut assemblies. You might see that some of the hydraulic fluid has leaked from them and collected a lot of dust and dirt. This means that the valving inside the strut is not performing as well as it should, and it is no longer dampening the force of suspension impact. You can test this by simply pushing down on your vehicle's bumper and seeing how quickly it bounces back up. A bad set of struts will exhibit very slow rebound. While not an immediate emergency at first, this could ultimately result in a severe lack of control of your vehicle when your suspension would normally absorb a sudden impact and stabilize the chassis. Not to mention the strain that a faulty strut assembly could be putting on your springs. If your springs are the only parts that are supporting the chassis, then they are working way too hard and you need new struts.
What are struts? Are they different from shocks?
While automobile suspensions have used dampening mechanisms like shocks since the early 20th century, they had some weaknesses from the start. Sure they offer a great deal of control and flexibility when it comes to absorbing inconsistencies in the road, but one major disadvantage of shock absorbers is the lack of horizontal support. This necessitated the invention of the strut assembly
; a more durable version of a shock which incorporates the coil spring into its design, and mounts between the steering arm or hub carrier and directly to the body of the car. As cars and trucks have become more complex, so have their suspensions. Air shocks and electronic struts can be found on luxury vehicles today, and provide the smoothest and most comfortable rides.
For the Saturday mechanic.
Struts are standard on almost all passenger cars today, as they have eliminated the necessity for an upper control arm and save on weight and production costs. That does not mean, however, that they can be ignored. If you need to replace your strut assemblies, it can be done. However, proper precautions must be taken before and during installation.
- First, jack up the car and put it on stands. If you need to remove wheels, then loosen the lugs prior to lifting the car off the ground.
- Next, remove the hardware holding the strut. Front struts are usually mounted to a control arm or steering knuckle on the bottom, and a shock tower or strut mount at the top. Rear struts are typically the same, but may vary slightly as they are mounted to the chassis. Pay attention to the axle, knuckle, and wheel hub at this time, and support them with a wooden block or brick.
- If you are removing a strut and coil spring assembly, then you would ideally be installing a complete assembly. This would eliminate the need to compress and install a spring; this tends to be the most dangerous part of the installation. Otherwise, you will have to compress the spring, remove it, and re-install it on the new strut.
- Finally, install your new strut the same way it was removed.
Start with the best possible replacement parts.
Buying new replacement strut assemblies is easy if you know what to look for and know what you need. We offer low cost, economically-priced options for those on a budget, top quality and OEM brands for customers who must have the real thing, and even some suspension conversion kits for a few models that will convert originally equipped electronic or pneumatic systems (that are expensive to maintain) to standard or heavy duty hydraulic systems. No matter what you need, Car Parts Discount has you covered with low prices, fast shipping, and great customer support.