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#1914904 - 06/06/10 01:07 PM How often to replace struts?
wallyuwl Offline


Registered: 06/02/09
Posts: 1459
Loc: Lexington, KY
One of my vehicles is a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. About 10k miles ago I replaced the OEM struts (had about 105k miles at the time). I started to notice slight "bouncing" feeling from the originals, especially going over railroad tracks and such. Because of this and having pretty new (and, relatively, expensive) tires, I decided to replace the struts. The mechanic at Sears said they didn't need to be replaced yet because the tires were wearing fine and didn't have the roughness you expect with worn struts when rubbing your hand "against the grain" on the tread. But I decided to replace them anyway.


I put on Monroe Sensatracs, and they are performing fine.

So my two questions:

1) how long do Sensatrac struts normally last? In this vehicle I currently put on about 20-25k miles a year at 80%+ hwy driving. I know Monroe suggests replacing every 50k miles, but of course they are going to because they sell them and want to make more money.

2) considering the above, was it wise for me to replace the originals when I did (I'm no car expert, though I know a bit).

Thanks.


Edited by wallyuwl (06/06/10 01:15 PM)

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#1914907 - 06/06/10 01:10 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: wallyuwl]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 23761
Loc: ME
I was going to say, once, in the expected midlife of the car. So you did well there. It's often felt that aftermarket struts start at OE quality and only get better.

IDK about the sears mechanic. If your struts are so shot you're scrubbing/bouncing tires, you should have changed them 20k ago.

Do you have a lifetime warranty? Turn them in at 51k miles and say, yes, monroe, you were right, they're shot. LOL

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#1914908 - 06/06/10 01:14 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: wallyuwl]
sciphi Offline


Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 8390
Loc: Upstate NY
I'd guess the Sensatracs will last about 60-100k. They're a good brand of strut.

And, it was wise of you to replace the struts. Your braking and emergancy avoidance will be enhanced. It's not just ride comfort, it's braking and emergency handling also. I've driven older vehicles with new struts (my 99 Buick) and with original struts (brother's 00 Silhouette). The car felt more predictable during braking with new struts than with old struts. It changes lanes at high speed better, also.

Hope this helps!
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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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#1914913 - 06/06/10 01:18 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: eljefino]
LT4 Vette Offline


Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 12227
Loc: USA
I've heard good things about Monroe Sensatracs, they are low cost (with rebates) and they have a softer ride then the original struts/shocks. I'm sure the new Monroes will last 150K miles no problem.

Is it possible to have worn out struts/shocks and not have any leaks ? shrug

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#1914923 - 06/06/10 01:27 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: LT4 Vette]
sciphi Offline


Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 8390
Loc: Upstate NY
Yes, it is. The ones in my current buick were shot at 60k miles. I was bouncing around the road before replacing them. None of them leaked.

Originally Posted By: LT4 Vette

Is it possible to have worn out struts/shocks and not have any leaks ? shrug

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2009 Honda Fit Sport
2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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#1914941 - 06/06/10 01:47 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: sciphi]
stranger706 Offline


Registered: 04/24/09
Posts: 872
Loc: Gulf Coast
Theres really no set number. Some cars go through them faster than others. Some cars come with high quality OEM struts, others come with low quality struts. For example:

My Mazda has 93,xxx on the original struts and they still have a lot of life left. Very high quality struts.

Our Explorer has 104,xxx on the original struts and they are about done. Another good heavy duty OEM strut.

I used to have a Ford Ranger and it needed new struts at 55,000. I never even towed anything or used the bed at all. To me that would count as low quality, or "light duty" design maybe.

So it really varies a great deal between vehicles. A good way to tell is the speedbump test. Find a speedbump and drive slowly over it. You should get 1 maybe 2 bounces max. If you get more than 2 bounces, its time for new shocks/struts.

And of course always replace shocks/struts together on each axle. If your right front goes bad, replace both fronts. Same for the back. You don't always have to replace all 4, but always replace in pairs.


Edited by stranger706 (06/06/10 01:48 PM)

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#1914957 - 06/06/10 02:12 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: stranger706]
asiancivicmaniac Offline


Registered: 01/12/05
Posts: 4035
Loc: FL
So if my car doesn't bounce after going over uneven roads then the shocks and struts are still good?

The oem Tokicos are good stuff then.

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#1914978 - 06/06/10 02:41 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: asiancivicmaniac]
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 17626
Loc: Walnut Creek, CA
I have seen cars with worn struts bounce excessively and nosedive upon coming to a stop. I have also seen cars with worn struts that do not bounce, but instead have absolutely no dampening which makes the ride horrible. Two different failure modes, but still a failed strut.

Monroe allows you to turn in struts at 50k or anytime you feel they are worn. They will send out new ones and make arrangements for you to turn in the old ones. You just need to call their toll-free number. However, labor is not included so you'll have to decide if they are worth replacing.

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#1915010 - 06/06/10 03:25 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: The Critic]
Nayov Offline


Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 703
Loc: ME
I have 233,000 miles on my Sentra and never have changed them. It definitely passes the traditional "bounce" test and doesn't handle any differently from when it was new.

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#1915014 - 06/06/10 03:30 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: The Critic]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 9493
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
Up here in New England the roads are similar to tank traps and salt is used 6 mo out of the year,stut and shock life is limited by how many holes and bumps you hit or how much rust is on them.

I'm sure some parts of the U.S. where most roads are pool table smooth 15-20 yrs and still functional is common.
My best guess is it depends more on where you live rather than miles or age.
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#1915016 - 06/06/10 03:32 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: Nayov]
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 17626
Loc: Walnut Creek, CA
Originally Posted By: Nayov
I have 233,000 miles on my Sentra and never have changed them. It definitely passes the traditional "bounce" test and doesn't handle any differently from when it was new.


The Hunter SA400 is the only accurate method (and industry accepted) of testing strut performance:

http://www.hunter.com/PUB/product/braketester/3973T/

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#1915107 - 06/06/10 05:49 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: The Critic]
LT4 Vette Offline


Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 12227
Loc: USA
I guess it also depends if you plan on keeping the car, why spend the money on struts, labor and alignment if you plan on getting another car soon.

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#1915146 - 06/06/10 06:44 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: The Critic]
ET16 Offline


Registered: 10/28/08
Posts: 643
Loc: MD
Originally Posted By: The Critic
Originally Posted By: Nayov
I have 233,000 miles on my Sentra and never have changed them. It definitely passes the traditional "bounce" test and doesn't handle any differently from when it was new.


The Hunter SA400 is the only accurate method (and industry accepted) of testing strut performance:

http://www.hunter.com/PUB/product/braketester/3973T/


Are these machines hard to find?

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#1915157 - 06/06/10 06:53 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: ET16]
2002 Maxima SE Offline


Registered: 05/29/04
Posts: 715
Loc: NC
Question: My OEM struts are still good, but the dust boots on both the front struts are disintegrating (85k miles on the car). They're currently in two pieces and barely hanging on. I'm assuming to replace the dust boots they'll need to remove the struts anyway...should I replace the struts, replace the boots or soldier on?
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#1915283 - 06/06/10 08:40 PM Re: How often to replace struts? [Re: 2002 Maxima SE]
asiancivicmaniac Offline


Registered: 01/12/05
Posts: 4035
Loc: FL
Originally Posted By: 2002 Maxima SE
Question: My OEM struts are still good, but the dust boots on both the front struts are disintegrating (85k miles on the car). They're currently in two pieces and barely hanging on. I'm assuming to replace the dust boots they'll need to remove the struts anyway...should I replace the struts, replace the boots or soldier on?


Same here. All 4 dust boots are ripped on mine.

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