When to Replace Front Struts

The struts on the front of your vehicle are a vital component of the suspension system. They are responsible for keeping the car, truck, or SUV properly aligned, balanced, and driving smooth while in operation. Like any moving part, struts are designed to wear out over time. By being proactive about replacing your front struts as recommended by your manufacturer, you can avoid further damage to steering and suspension components like shock absorbers, ball joints, and tie rod ends, reduce wear and tear on tires, and maintain a safe-operating vehicle.

Let’s take a look at a few of the common warning signs of damaged or worn out struts, and some tips for having them replaced by a professional mechanic.

What are the Symptoms of Worn Out Struts?

The front struts on your car, truck, and SUV are mounted to the front-end of your vehicle. They assist in the operation of steering, braking, and accelerating. Although the top and bottom of the strut are attached to solid automotive components that do not move, the strut itself moves up and down frequently. This continual motion eventually causes them to wear out or for internal components of the struts to become damaged. Here are 6 common symptoms of worn out struts:

1. Steering response is less than stellar. If you notice that the vehicle steering is sluggish, or not as responsive to input as usual, it is typically a warning sign of damaged or worn out struts.

2. Steering performance is stiff. This symptom is different than steering response. If you turn the steering wheel from left to right and vice-versa, and notice it’s more difficult to turn the wheel, this is a symptom of a damaged strut.

3. Car sways or leans while turning. Struts help maintain the stability of the vehicle while it turns. If you notice the car is leaning on one side while it sits still or while you turn, this is usually an indicator that the struts require replacement.

4. Excessive bouncing while driving. When you’re driving down the road and notice the front end bouncing more frequently, especially when you drive over a bump in the road, this could mean it’s time to replace the front struts.

5. Premature tire wear. When struts are wearing out, it can cause damage to the tires. The struts are a critical component impacting suspension alignment. If damaged, they can cause the front-end alignment to be “off” — which can cause tires to wear more on the inside or outside edges.

6. Poor braking performance. Struts also help keep weight balanced throughout the vehicle. When they wear out, they can cause more weight to shift to the front of the vehicle during braking, contributing to poor braking performance.

When Should Front Struts Be Replaced?

Every vehicle is different, which makes getting an easy answer to this question difficult. In fact, ask most mechanics when front struts should be replaced, and you’ll likely be told every 50,000 to 100,000 miles. That is a huge gap in mileage. In all truth, the life-span of struts and supporting shocks will depend greatly on the driving conditions and patterns. Those who drive on city roads and highways frequently might experience longer-lasting struts than those living on country roads.

The best answer for this question is to follow 3 general rules of thumb:

  1. Have your struts and suspension inspected every 25,000 miles or when you notice premature tire wear. Most automotive mechanics suggest having the front suspension components inspected every 25,000 to 30,000 miles. Sometimes this proactive inspection will alert a vehicle owner to early issues — so minor repairs don’t turn into major mechanical failure. Early tire wear is also a warning sign of worn out suspension components, like the front struts.

  2. Always replace worn struts in pairs. Like brakes, front struts should always be replaced in pairs. This ensures overall vehicle-stability and that both struts are responsible for keeping the vehicle stable. In fact, most mechanics and repair facilities will not perform a single strut replacement for liability purposes.

  3. Make sure to have the front-end suspension aligned after replacing struts. Regardless of what your local mechanic might tell you, anytime struts or a front-end suspension components is removed, having the suspension professionally aligned is a vital step.


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Clarissa

27 years of experience
234 reviews
Clarissa
27 years of experience
Infiniti EX35 V6-3.5L - Strut Assembly Replacement (Front) - Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
Clarissa did a great job on my Infiniti front suspension! My Infiniti now handles and absorbs bumps like it should again! Clarissa took her time to do it right and consult with me, and also looked over the rest of the suspension, brakes, wheels and tires, etc to discuss any other necessary work. Would definitely recommend Clarissa!
Nissan Altima - Strut Assembly Replacement (Front) - Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
Terrific job - again. I’ve used Clarissa for some bigger projects - struts, new brakes, etc. Very professional, very personable and explains the process thoroughly.

Chuck

10 years of experience
347 reviews
Chuck
10 years of experience
Toyota Highlander V6-3.5L - Strut Assembly Replacement (Front) - Rowlett, Texas
Chuck was great! We talked via phone to discuss the available options to repair my Highlander. He worked with me to schedule a time that was convenient for me, and he arrived early for the appointment. He walked me through some of the other issues that exist on my 2008 Highlander which has 223k miles. His feedback on my car was clear and easy to understand.

Jonathan

35 years of experience
483 reviews
Jonathan
35 years of experience
Jeep Grand Cherokee V6-3.7L - Strut Assembly Replacement (Front) - Palm Harbor, Florida
Johnathan was right on time . He replaced both front struts on my Jeep with no problems.. He test drove it than I did. No more thumping all fixed. Johnathan was very courteous and professional. I will always ask for him when we have car problems.

Sebastian

5 years of experience
110 reviews
Sebastian
5 years of experience
BMW X3 L6-3.0L Turbo - Strut Assembly Replacement (Front) - North Palm Beach, Florida
Sebastian was professional, knowledgeable, and gave me great advice on my vehicle! After he finished, he did a total inspection and went over the work he completed on my vehicle.

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