Having a smooth, comfortable, and safe ride requires a properly functioning suspension system. Two of the most important components are the shocks and struts.
When these wear out over years of use, you’ll feel it through a bumpy and unstable ride. Replacing damaged shocks and struts is crucial, but can cost a pretty penny. In this detailed guide, we’ll explore all the nitty gritty factors that determine the total bill for shocks and struts replacement.
- Complete replacement costs for shocks and struts average $250-$1,000 depending on the vehicle
- Labor for installation ranges from $75-$150/hour with complete jobs taking 2-5 hours
- OEM parts cost more than aftermarket but provide superior ride and handling
- Additional services like alignment maximize the benefit of fresh components
How Much Does Shocks and Struts Replacement Cost?
On average, expect to pay between $250-$1,000 to replace shocks and struts in a standard passenger vehicle. This cost range accounts for both parts and professional installation labor.
For just the parts themselves, prices typically fall between $50-$350 per individual shock or strut. The total depends heavily on the year, make and model of vehicle. Luxury cars, SUVs, and trucks almost always cost more.
According to CarParts.com, a typical shock and strut replacement can cost anywhere between $450 and $1,100.
Car Talk states that replacing a pair of shocks or struts on a mainstream affordable vehicle may cost between $500 and $1,000, while luxury and off-road vehicles may cost much higher.
J.D. Power mentions that replacing both struts can cost anywhere from $300 to $900, depending on the type of driver.
The Key Role of Shocks and Struts
Before we dive into the costs, let’s briefly cover what shocks and struts do for your vehicle. The shocks are essentially hydraulic cylinders filled with fluid that compress to absorb bumps in the road and dampen bouncing. This is key for a smooth and stable ride.
Struts perform a similar function, but are also structural components that hold alignment for improved handling. If these parts wear out, you’ll experience:
- A bouncy, swaying sensation over bumps
- Reduced handling with the vehicle pulling in directions
- Faster tire wear as alignment goes out of spec
- Damage to other suspension components from instability
Replacing damaged shocks and struts restores ride comfort, stability, tire wear life, and prevents premature failure of other systems. It’s one of the most critical maintenance items for both safety and performance.
Factors That Directly Influence Replacement Cost
Several key factors have a major impact on your total bill for shocks and struts replacement:
Vehicle Make and Model
The design of the suspension is different for every make and model. Some are more straightforward and inexpensive to service, while some European and luxury brands have complex systems that cost much more. Trucks also tend to cost more with their heavy-duty parts.
OEM vs Aftermarket Parts
You have a choice between OEM and aftermarket replacement parts. OEM parts made by the original vehicle manufacturer are engineered to meet the factory specifications for your exact make and model. This makes them more precise with better ride quality and handling. However, OEM parts cost between $200-$500 per shock or strut.
Aftermarket parts produced by third party companies allow for some cost savings, typically priced between $100-$300 each. But cheaper aftermarket components may not last as long or perform quite as well.
Labor Rates and Time
Replacing all the shocks and struts takes between 2-5 hours for most vehicles, sometimes longer for more complex jobs. Shop labor costs for certified technicians range from $75-$150 per hour, with higher end shops and faster techs charging more. Multiply those hourly rates by the total time for a big portion of your total bill.
DIY or Hiring a Professional?
With some mechanical knowledge and experience, it’s possible for you to replace shocks and struts in your own garage to save on labor. But this approach has some potential drawbacks:
- Requires automotive jacks, jack stands, and tools
- Can be tricky on some late-model suspensions
- Risk of mistakes leading to other issues down the line
- No professional warranty on DIY parts
Paying an experienced mechanic or dealership ensures the job gets done right the first time. Benefits of professional replacement include:
- Expertise for efficient, proper installation
- Warranty coverage for parts and labor for peace of mind
- Additional services like alignments and inspections
- Hassle-free convenience of dropping off your vehicle
DIY shocks and struts replacement costs around $150-$300 for parts. Paying a shop’s higher $700-$1000 bill typically yields superior results and guarantees.
Finding Quality Parts and Professional Service
To get the most bang for your buck from shocks and struts replacement, it pays to choose high-quality components and experienced installers. Look for:
- Top-rated brands like KYB, Bilstein, and Monroe that match OEM design
- An ASE certified mechanic or dealership tech familiar with your car
- A shop that offers warranties of 12 months or more on parts and labor
Researching shops’ pricing and reviews helps find reasonable costs and competent service. Getting price quotes from 3-4 places provides cost comparison.
Additional Maintenance Items to Budget For
When replacing shocks and struts, having some other related maintenance performed at the same time helps maximize the benefits:
- Wheel alignment to adjust any parameters thrown off by worn parts – $50-$100
- Inspection of ball joints, tie rods and other suspension parts for wear $25-$75
- Tire rotation to restore even treadwear $25-$50
Factor these extra services into your budget to get the most from new shocks and struts. A comprehensive suspension overhaul averages $400-$700 in additional costs.
How Costs Range By Vehicle
To give you an idea of the variability when it comes to the cost to replace the struts and shocks, here are some examples of parts plus professional installation costs for different vehicle types and makes:
- Economy sedan (Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra): $400-$700
- Family sedan (Honda Accord, Toyota Camry): $550-$850
- Luxury sedan (BMW 3-Series, Audi A4): $850-$1200
- Compact SUV (Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape): $650-$950
- Full-size truck (Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado): $800-$1400
As you can see, luxury vehicles and trucks sit at the upper end of the spectrum. Within each category, higher trims with adaptive suspension components also cost more.
Proper repairs restore ride comfort, stability, and prevent premature wear of other systems. Reviewing costs and shop options helps find reasonable pricing for quality service.
FAQs on Shock and Strut Replacement
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about shock and strut replacement costs and logistics:
Is it worth replacing shocks and struts?
Yes, the replacement of both back and front struts and shocks is worth the cost. Worn shocks and struts negatively impact ride quality, handling, and accelerate the wear of other components.
The repairs significantly improve comfort and safety. Delaying replacement once they’re damaged can lead to more extensive suspension repairs.
Should I replace all 4 shocks at the same time?
It’s highly recommended to replace all 4 shocks and struts as a complete set, even if only one pair seems damaged. This ensures balanced ride height, handling and tire wear across the whole vehicle.
Partial replacements can create issues with uneven performance side-to-side.
Can I drive my car with bad shocks and struts?
You can temporarily drive a short distance to the repair shop with failed shocks or struts in an emergency. However, driving extended miles with worn components risks uneven tire wear and damage to other suspension parts.
Handling and braking also become compromised the longer you wait for replacement. Schedule service ASAP.