The car’s suspension has been created to provide stability and dampen the car’s sudden movements on uneven roads, ensuring passenger comfort and safety. If one of the car parts, components of the suspension system fails in a turn, the car becomes uncontrollable.
Shock absorbers eliminate body oscillations when driving on uneven roads. They can be filled with gas, oil, or air, all having the same role.
The struts support the weight of the vehicle while maintaining its correct position in relation to the road (height).
How Much Do Shocks and Struts Cost?
The price of shocks and struts depends on some factors including the make and model of the car, the place you are purchasing them from, and the brand. You should be prepared to pay around $320 only for the parts, without including the labor expenses.
In case you want to replace the shocks and struts at a local repair shop, expect to pay anywhere between $420 and $1,550, depending on the factors that we mentioned above. You can cut this estimate in half if you will have only the front or the back of the car repaired.
For example, at the Pep Boys car service company, you will have to pay anywhere between $210 and $1,100 in order to replace the shock and strut.
At Midas shop, the costs start at around $210 and go up to $950.
According to RepairPal.com, the costs for the front strut/shock replacement are anywhere between $185 and more than $710. The prices are higher for the luxury car brands like Jaguar or Porsche where you will have to pay more than $650 for this job.
Strut replacement details
Before replacing the shocks and struts the mechanic will evaluate the state of the car in order to make sure that this job is really necessary. He will inspect the suspension, the alignment, and the steering wheel.
When replacing the shocks and struts, the mechanic will lift the vehicle with the hoist in order to have access to the underbody of the car. After that, depending on the strut/shock that is going to be replaced, he will remove the wheel, the brake caliper, the sway bar, and the rotor to access the strut. Next, the mechanic will disconnect the strut from the steering knuckle and strut tower and remove it from the car. Finally, depending on the type of the installation, the mechanic will replace the entire strut or will part it out and replace only the parts which are damaged.
What are the extra costs?
Before replacing the shocks and the struts the mechanic will want to evaluate the condition of the vehicle and decide if it is really necessary. Depending on the mechanic you choose, you may pay anywhere between $30 and $60 for this evaluation. This fee may be applied to the repair expenses if you choose the same mechanic to fix the shocks and struts.
Important things to consider
Many drivers do not understand that driving with serious problems on the suspension system is particularly dangerous. At any time, one of the components of the suspension can fail in a harder turn, and in some cases, the consequences can be dramatic because the car becomes practically uncontrollable.
Worn shock absorbers can cause loss of control when cornering or on high winds. In practice, it has also been found that the risk of aquaplaning and braking distance increase considerably as the degree of wear of the shock absorbers increases.
It is recommended by the mechanics to:
- replace the shock absorbers every 50,000 miles as their performance decreases with increasing wear;
- check the condition of the suspension by pressing the hood in the area of the shock absorbers. If it tilts too far and fast to one side or the other, it means that the shock absorber or spring has weakened.
- replace the shock absorbers with the springs and all other suspension components. Replacing a single shock absorber is not a solution because the vehicle will have unnatural and particularly dangerous driving behavior.
- replace the suspension components with premium products, with invoice and warranty;
- take your car through checks and replacements in authorized services.
Signs of used shocks and struts
If the vehicle shows any of the following symptoms, it is time to make an appointment at a mechanic for an inspection of the suspension system.
Jumping – Excessive jumps when bumping into something can be a sign that the shocks are not working properly. After a bump, the vehicle must be stable, not continue to jump.
Uneven tire wear – when the shock absorbers are worn the car can bounce, causing a reduction in the holding force on the road. These jumps can also cause accelerated tire wear, including splinters and cavities (when deep wear spots appear on the tire).
Diving when braking – does it feel like the front of the car goes down to the ground when you brake suddenly? This phenomenon is called diving and can indicate the wear of the shocks and struts. It is a dangerous phenomenon because it can cause the stopping distance to be prolonged.
Loss of fluid on the outside of the shock absorbers – If you notice excessive leaks of hydraulic fluid in the shock absorbers, it may be a sign that they are worn out. If the gaskets fail, the fluid that is essential for the proper operation of the suspension dampers is lost.
Vibration on the steering wheel – it is normal to feel slight vibrations in the steering wheel when driving on uneven roads. If you experience similar vibrations on a smooth road, the shocks or struts may be worn.
Unusual noises – when the shock absorbers wear out, you may hear a bang or a knock.
How can I save money?
It is recommended by the majority of the mechanics to replace both struts at once because this way you will save money in the long term. If only one of them is damaged at the moment, chances are high that the other one will fail in the future as well. Also, you can still feel a difference while driving if a shock or strut is new and the other is old.