How to Replace & Install the Strut Assembly in Your Car

Roads are often not as smooth as you expect them to be, and driving over uneven surfaces and potholes is taking a toll on your car’s strut assemblies, even when you’re unaware of it.
The strut assembly is a key component of your vehicle’s suspension system that combines a shock absorber and a coil spring to manage bumps and keep your ride safe and comfortable. Over time, it can wear out and require replacement, so recognizing that moment and being ready to intervene is necessary.
We’ll explain in this guide what exactly strut assemblies are, the signs you need to replace them, and the steps for strut assembly replacement and installation.

What is a Strut Assembly?

Located mostly at the front of your vehicle, although you might find it at the rear too, the strut assembly is a perfect blend of shock absorber and coil spring. While the shock absorber tones down the effect of the bumps and vibrations from the road, the coil spring is responsible for supporting your vehicle’s weight. It also helps maintain stability.

Together, these car parts form a crucial part of its suspension. They guarantee that your car’s wheels constantly stay in contact with the road surface, thus providing the necessary stability and control so that you have a comfortable ride no matter the road conditions.

Signs You Need a Strut Assembly Replacement

When your vehicle’s strut assemblies begin to wear out, they can cause many problems that affect your driving experience. More often than not, this isn’t that obvious, so you might find it hard to pinpoint the exact part of your suspension that’s causing the trouble.
However, there are certain signs signaling that your struts are failing, telling you it’s time for a replacement. Let’s go over the most important ones.

Rough Ride and Poor Handling

When your strut assembly is worn out, you might notice that your car feels less stable when turning or cornering. You might feel like it leans more than usual during turns, or you experience more excessive bounce. If your rides become rough and bumpy expeditions, this is a clear indicator that your assembly may need replacing.
A strut assembly shock absorber close-up

A strut assembly shock absorber close-up

Leaking Fluid

Does your shock absorber appear as wet, with oily patches or dripping fluid? This is a big red flag warning you that you need to replace the component. The shock absorber contains hydraulic fluid to help dampen vibrations and impacts from the road, so when it begins to leak, its effectiveness is already compromised, leading to poor ride quality.

Uneven Tire Wear

When strut assemblies start failing, they can lead to uneven tire wear. This happens because the damaged struts cannot keep the tires properly aligned with the road surface, and as a result, you might notice that some parts of the tires wear out faster than others.

This is one of those issues that you shouldn’t overlook, as uneven tire wear affects the longevity of your tires. It can also lead to a loss of traction, bringing your safety into question. Unfortunately, road traffic accidents are still the leading killer of children and young people, so it’s of great importance that you address any potential car issues on time.

Unusual Noise

When driving over bumps, a knocking or clunking sound is another common sign that it’s time for a strut assembly removal. This noise is caused by the worn-out components of the strut assembly, whether it’s the shock absorber or the mounting hardware. They might be shifting or hitting against each other, causing this commotion. If you hear these noises, you must inspect and replace your assembly if necessary.

DIY or Not to DIY – How to Decide?

Now that you’ve identified the warning signs that you might need to replace your strut assembly, you need to decide if you’ll tackle this yourself or leave it to the pros.
If you’re a hands-on person with some mechanical know-how, then replacing it by yourself can be rewarding. You’ll get to know your car better and save some money along the way. If you decide to go for it, ensure you’re aware of the necessary steps and that you have the right tools at hand. Don’t rush; take your time doing the job right.

On the other hand, if you’re uncomfortable with DIY car repairs or lack the necessary tools and workspace, it might be best to leave this job to the professionals. They have the experience and expertise to quickly and safely replace your strut assembly or any other car component, ensuring that it’s done correctly right off the bat.

A professional using a screwdriver to tighten a cable during strut assembly replacement
A professional using a screwdriver to tighten a cable during strut assembly replacement

How to Replace & Install a Strut Assembly

Replacing a strut assembly isn’t rocket science, but it does require a bit of mechanical prowess and the right tools. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:
  • Begin with Preparation. Find a flat spot to park your car and then engage the parking brake. Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels, but wait to take them off.
  • Remove the Wheel. You should then lift the front of your vehicle with the help of a jack and support it securely with jack stands. Once the front wheels are off the ground, remove the lug nuts and take off the wheels.
  • Strut Assembly Removal. Proceed by locating the old strut assembly inside the wheel. You’ll need to remove any bolts or fasteners holding it in place. Carefully lower the assembly from the vehicle once you have everything disconnected. Watch out for any remaining connections or wires as you do this.
  • New Strut Assembly Installation. Position the new assembly correctly in the wheel and secure it with bolts or fasteners. Double-check that everything is aligned properly before tightening everything down.
  • Put it Back Together. When you finish the new strut assembly replacement, it’s time to reassemble everything. Put the front wheels back on and tighten the lug nuts. Then, lower the vehicle back down and remove the jack stands.
  • Perform a Test Drive. A test drive will help you ensure that you’ve installed the new strut assembly correctly and that your car handles as it should.
Replacing and installing your strut assembly is manageable if you follow these steps carefully and take the time to do the job right. However, if you’re unsure about any part of the process, it’s definitely better to consult a professional to avoid any potential issues.

Get Help From The Pros

If you’re noticing signs like your car is not handling well, making noises, or the ride is feeling bumpy, it’s probably time to check the struts. Here at A Plus Auto, we’re all about helping you keep your car in great condition. With our huge selection of top-quality used auto parts for all kinds of cars, we make it easy for you to find what you need without breaking the bank. Whether you’re fixing your car yourself or getting a pro to help, A Plus Auto is here to help with all your car part needs. Choose us for quality parts and get your car driving smoothly again.

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