Always replace your entire strut assembly at one time—the suggestion of replacing the individual parts of your strut assembly might be the worst advice we’ve heard in a while. This well-intentioned advice seems to come primarily from those who want to save money now as opposed to later. A simple rule of thumb is that if the struts or coil springs are being replaced because of age or wear, then also replace the mounts. A worn or damaged part of your strut assembly can cause a variety of symptoms so they should be inspected by a qualified technician before repairs begin. This means a disassembly of the entire strut and spring assembly is required to remove and replace the failing part. Therefore replacing all worn components at the same time could save you from doing the work a second time.
Purchasing a complete strut assembly allows for the easy removal and replacement the complete strut assembly in one piece. Most assemblies are ready to install right out of the box and contain all of the components needed for strut replacement in a single, fully assembled unit.
A particularly crucial part of the assembly is the strut mount, which, as the name implies, is a component that attaches the suspension strut to the vehicle. It also insulates the tire noise and vibrations from the vehicle. A strut mount bolts to the vehicle on one side, while the other is affixed to the strut, with a rubber-like insulation in between. When the vehicle moves and goes over bumps, the impact pushes and pulls at the mount. The mount’s job is to cushion impact to reduce the jarring effect, noise and vibration that transmit into the vehicle.
Most front struts also have a bearing attached to them, these bearings act as steering pivots that are a critical factor in determining the smoothness and response of steering movement.
Signs of a Failing Strut Assembly
•Loose, stiff or noisy steering
Why Replace a Strut Assembly?
There are two main reasons; the density of the insulating material within the assembly changes with age, which eventually allows more noise and vibration to be transmitted into other parts of the vehicle. In other words, a failing strut assembly also contributes to faster wear of other parts of your vehicle, meaning the longer it goes unfixed the faster other parts wear.
You should also know that this isn’t a DIY for the inexperienced repairman, getting your strut assembly wrong can have disastrous results for you and anyone around or in your car. Replacing a strut assembly is a pretty involved process—make sure you’ve got the time, tools and help to get the job done safely!
Written by Dara Greaney