EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 14, 2013

Strut renewal possible at home

I have a question about struts. The dealer gave me a quote of more than $1,800 to replace the front struts on my 4-cylinder 2001 Toyota Camry. Yikes! The independent shops are pretty steep, too.

Then I found out about KYB Strut-Plus and Monroe Quick-Struts for a lot less money. I’m thinking about just tackling the job myself using one of these products. They are a complete unit with pre-compressed new coil springs, the strut and strut mount. I am pretty mechanically inclined.

Is there a downside to using these units and installing them myself? I’m leaning more toward the KYB Strut-Plus. We plan to keep the car for several more years. It has about 95,000 miles on it and runs great. Or should I have the dealer or an independent shop just put on struts and use the old coil springs?

Yikes is right! I can’t fathom the price you were quoted for this simple service procedure. Periodic renewal of struts is necessary, as these tubular suspension parts contain the shock absorber. Shock absorbers wear out somewhere between 50,000-100,000 miles, which can affect vehicle stability, tire tread life and ride comfort.

Replacing struts on a typical MacPherson strut vehicle involves removing the complete strut assembly, which is a fairly simple initial process. The strut is then mounted in a spring compressing fixture and disassembled. Typically the coil spring and upper strut mount, if in good condition, are transferred to the new strut and reassembled. On some vehicles, the strut contains a replaceable cartridge, and the strut housing and other parts are reused.

The quick replacement and complete strut assemblies you mentioned are a great idea, as renewing the complete assembly is a real time-saver and eliminates the inconvenience and danger associated with compressing the spring or disassembling the strut if attempted at home.

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