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Strut Replacement Tips: How Can I Make the Process Easier?

Strut Replacement Tips: How Can I Make the Process Easier?

Struts are a structural component of many modern vehicles with independent suspension systems. They act as a connection point between the wheel and the body of the car. The main purpose of these struts is to support the car’s weight while also absorbing road impacts and providing a smooth and efficient ride. They also help prevent damages to the car’s suspension. The struts usually have to be replaced between 60,000 and 80,000 miles, but earlier when your car frequently carried heavy loads on uneven road surfaces. When your strut is due for a replacement, you can either have a mechanic perform it or do the replacement yourself. If you plan to do it yourself, our strut replacement tips can help you make the process easier. The strut replacement tips include:

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


 

  • Cleaning the strut.
  • Lubricating the threads.
  • Clocking the strut and mount
  • Making sure that everything in the new strut’s box, including any new hardware, should be used when installing.
  • When installing the new strut, you should protect the shaft from damage.
  • Using locking pliers to keep tools from slipping.
  • Making sure that the torque is set to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Assembling all the washers and bushings in the right order.
  • If one strut becomes bad, replace the opposite strut, too. You should also replace the opposite axle as well as the strut mount.
  • Making sure that the lower suspension is supported.
  • Taking a test drive.
  • Having your wheels aligned.
  • Breaking-in the new strut.

 

 

Strut Replacement Tips: Will Replacing Struts Improve Ride?

 


 

Will replacing the faulty struts improve the ride? Is it really necessary to replace them? Before we answer these questions, we need to understand what are struts and why they are important. A strut is one of the parts of the suspension system of your car, which is the system that connects the wheels to the rest of your car. There are many types of struts and the most commonly used one is the MacPherson strut.

 

When the struts become faulty, they should be replaced immediately. Later on, we will discuss the strut replacement tips to help you with it. But why should we replace bad struts? It is because of these following reasons.

 

  • Struts support the weight of the vehicle.

 

The strut assemblies function by supporting the sprung weight of the vehicle. There are two kinds of vehicle weights and they are the sprung weight and the unsprung weight. The vehicle’s sprung weight is the weight which is held up by the suspension, such as the chassis, body, and engine. On the other hand, the unsprung weight is the weight which is not supported by the car’s suspension, such as the wheels.

 

  • Struts reduce vibrations from the road surface.

 

Reducing vibrations from the road is one of the primary purposes of struts. They are capable of isolating road vibrations from the rest of the vehicle. This is a very important task since excessive vibration can cause stress and damage the other components of your car.

 

  • Struts provide stability.

 

It is vital that the car is stable while it moves and your struts are the ones that can help achieve this stability. They keep the tires in contact with the road surface and this can provide the needed traction for cruising, acceleration, and braking.

 

 

Strut Replacement Tips: What Causes Struts to Fail?

 

 

If you want to know the strut replacement tips, you should also know the common reasons why struts fail. This way, you will be able to maintain your struts well and prevent strut failures from occurring.

 

Struts can fail due to the following reasons:

 

  • Corrosion

 

When struts get contaminated from oil, dust, or water, these contaminants can seep into the system and corrode their components.

 

  • Vibration

 

Vibration is considered the leading cause of strut failure. Although struts are made to endure normal levels of vibration, extreme vibration and pressure can damage them. This vibration, in general, comes from the road, but it can also come from the car itself. This can happen when the car produces abnormal vibration due to poor alignment, worn bearings, and bad tires.

 

  • Heavy loads

 

If you are frequently towing or driving your car with heavy loads, it can put a lot of stress on your car. The additional weight from your load will be carried by the struts and when you brake suddenly, these heavy loads will be shifted to your struts. That is why when you frequently use your car to carry heavy loads or tow, you will have to replace your struts more often than usual.

 

  • Rough driving conditions

 

If you are always driving on rough terrains, with potholes, or off-roading, then you also need your struts replaced more often, compared to when you are just driving your car on highways or well-kept surfaces.

 

  • Bad driving habits

 

The way you drive can also affect your strut’s lifespan. If your driving habits include sudden acceleration, sudden braking, and cornering at high speeds, then it means that your struts have been carrying such huge loads. This can cause strain on the components of your struts up to their limit. If this happens, it is most likely that your struts will become damaged and suffer premature wear.

 

 

Strut Replacement Tips: Is Replacing a Strut Easy?

 

 

When you experience strut problems and they call for a strut replacement, you can either have it replaced by a professional or replace the strut yourself. If you will work on the replacement yourself, you will be able to save some bucks, and fortunately, it can be done easily at home. If you want to do the replacement yourself, our strut replacement tips can help you make the process easier.

 

Our strut replacement tips include:

 

  • Cleaning the strut.

It is important that prior to loading the strut into the spring compressor, you should make sure that the strut is clean and dry. If there is oil or grease on it, it can result in damage or slippage.

  • Lubricating the threads.

One of the strut replacement tips is applying proper lubrication on the threads. You can use engine oil which can make the spring compressor easier to use. Make sure that you only use hand tools to achieve even spring compression and best tool life.

  • Clocking the strut and mount.

One of the strut replacement tips is clocking the strut and mount. Although this tip is slightly more complicated, doing this can prevent some major problems later on. This is done since on most struts, the spring, spring plate, and the strut mount can be assembled the wrong way. This should not be the case since all these parts should be matched to each other in the right position and it is referred to as the clock position.

You can use a paint marker or anything like it to add alignment marks to these parts. If you mark these parts before disassembly, it will be much easier to put everything back together straight once you are done.

  • Making sure that everything in the new strut’s box, including any new hardware, should be used when installing.

You should always inspect the box when you get your new strut for any hardwares that comes along with it. Do not throw the box yet, unless you have checked what’s inside it thoroughly. Make sure that you have taken out any new threaded nuts, washers, or bushings.

It is also important that you use these new parts that come with your new strut. Do not reuse your old ones. This is because these new hardwares are all designed and made to work with the replacement part. The old ones might not work or be the same as the new one and this can lead to damages to the new unit. You should also check and test the new nut and stud threads by hand to make sure that they match.

  • When installing the new strut, you should protect the shaft from damage.

You need to protect your shock and strut upper shaft from scratches and other damage during installation. If there is damage along the shaft, it will most likely damage the upper oil seals, as it goes in and out of the cylinder. This can lead to a hydraulic leak and premature failure. If you use pliers or vise grips on the shaft, this can damage or even destroy the part.

  • Using locking pliers to keep tools from slipping.

To prevent the tool from slipping, you can use locking pliers. You will just have to clamp the pliers to the spring next to the spring compressor jaws.

  • Making sure that the torque is set to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Setting the torque to the manufacturer’s specifications is also one of the strut replacement tips. This should be done since struts are vital to the stability and safety of your car. Proper torque is needed and not just a “tight and secure” one. Many car owners tend to over tighten or under tighten the nuts of the struts, so you need to be careful with this.

This strut replacement tip is for reassembling any unit that has an upper style mounting. If the stud does not have enough thread exposed to start the nut during the shock absorber reassembly, then it can mean that the wheel or axle is hanging down. To correct this, you will have to raise the axle or lower the car so you can position the shock and push the stud through the bushings. Make sure that you will not use the nut to force the start upward since it can damage the threads. To ensure that you won’t damage anything, use a torque wrench set to the specification of the manufacturer.

  • Assembling all the washers and bushings in the right order.

To assemble the bushings and washers, you need to do so in the right order. Just tighten the assembly enough to bulge the rubber bushings a bit. No need to use an air impact gun. If you under tighten it, it could rattle and if you over tighten, it can damage the parts.

  • If one strut becomes bad, also replace the opposite strut, as well as the opposite axle and the strut mount.

If only one of the struts have failed, it is recommended that you also replace the opposite strut at the same time, since it will most likely fail soon. While you’re at it, you should also have the opposite axle replaced. This way, you will save time doing all the needed replacements at once.

It is also recommended that every time you replace the strut, you should also replace the strut mount. This one supports the car and it is pulled and pushed for thousands of miles when a car is driven. If you reuse your old mount when you install a new strut, it might cause problems later on such as vibration or unusual noises.

  • Making sure that the lower suspension is supported.

You need to support the lower suspension with a jack stand when you remove the strut from your car. This is one of the strut replacement tips. This is done because the suspension tends to hang lower than usual and this can lead to damaged wheel speed sensor cable or brake line.

  • Taking a test drive.

Of course, after every DIY project, you need to test if the installation is a success. Test drive your car and wiggle the steering wheel, brake, or accelerate and feel or listen closely for any loose parts.

  • Having your wheels aligned.

It is always a good idea to have a wheel alignment after a strut replacement.

  • Breaking-in the new strut.

Your car might feel stiff after a strut replacement. It usually takes a while for the new struts to break in under your car’s weight.

The struts on your car not only provide stability and support your car’s weight, but they can also improve traction and your riding comfort. That is why it is important to replace them should they start to show symptoms of failing struts. They also have to be checked on a regular basis to make sure that they are always in their top condition. Hopefully these strut replacement tips will come in handy should the time come that you will have to perform a strut replacement.