Shocks and struts don’t sell themselves: Educating the consumer is just as critical as how the parts themselves function. What happens when the driver who declines a recommended shock or strut replacement does not ask any questions? He goes online and starts asking questions. The following are real questions asked by drivers in online forums.
“The inspection said my front and back struts are leaking. I have noticed no ill effects driving around on it daily for the last 5 months. What will happen if I do nothing?”
– FidelCashflow, 1998 Toyota Camry
Shocks and struts degrade slowly. If you were able to go back in time and drive your car when it was new, you would notice a huge difference. The struts are a critical safety component; if you do nothing, your braking distances and overall vehicle stability will be compromised.
“Why are they charging me so much for labor on struts?”
– ShiPO, 2000 Volvo S70
Struts are an integral, or “load bearing,” part of the suspension. They eliminate the need for an upper control arm and make for more room in the engine bay. Since the strut is part of the suspension, it requires more time to replace it.
“Why does the estimate include plates, boots and cam bolts? What are these things? I thought I was buying just struts?”
– SweetGuy99, 2005 Pontiac G6
Reusing high-mileage upper strut bearing plates with worn or corroded bearings can affect steering effort, steering return and road noise. Installing a new upper bearing plate restores the system’s original steering feel. The boots protect the strut’s shaft and prevent the chrome plating from being damaged. Cam bolts allow the camber to be adjusted after the struts are installed.
“Can I replace one strut at a time?” – ItsaTURBO1, 2005 VW GTI
This is a complicated question. If all the units on a vehicle are worn and the driver is trying to do one unit every paycheck, it could create an unbalanced handling vehicle. But, if one strut is damaged and the opposite strut is still in good condition, it is feasible to replace only one strut.