We are a team of ASE certified mechanics that have created this guide to help
you save money while doing the job yourself, or at least see what you are paying
for when having the job done at a shop. A strut and spring are designed into the
vehicle's suspension to support the load and control movement when traveling over
bumps and impurities in the road. Struts assemblies should be replaced in pairs,
either front or rear.
What Goes Wrong?
A strut is a series of fluid-oils and pressurized gases controlled by valves
and seals which can fail over time and mileage allowing excessive movement which
can cause drivability issues that can be dangerous by allowing the vehicle to bounce
uncontrollably. The coil spring mounted around the strut can break or become weak
which will cause one corner of the vehicle to sag, again causing handling issues.
What Does it Cost?
Strut prices can vary greatly depending application and performance level but
in general you can expect to pay from $140.00 for a pair to $130.00 for one on Amazon.
Labor time at a shop will run about 1.8 hours each and it is recommended to get
a wheel alignment in most cases. If exact labor times or procedures are needed you
can ask our experts to supply you with the information
(free), or consult an online resource such as
AllData DIY (pay)
but this guide and video will be sufficient in most cases.
Where is it?
A strut is located at each corner of the vehicle, two in the front and two in
the rear which attach to the mainframe or body of the vehicle (upper) and bolt to
the lower control arm
of the front or rear suspension.
Let's Jump In!
To start, the vehicle will need to be
jacked up and supported
on jack stands and the
wheels removed either
front or rear. Anytime you are working with suspension components take note
of where the adjustments are made for the alignment. Assuming the alignment
is correct proper markings will help you to reassemble parts in the exact place
they were when you removed or loosened them. This job is on a 4x4 truck so some
steps may be omitted on two wheel drive vehicles.
When dealing with suspension parts it’s best to use a lubricant such as
WD40 or equivalent to help facilitate the removal of various nuts and bolts
allowing it to sit for a few minutes to penetrate into the threads before you
In most cases you will need to
remove the tie rod end from
the spindle to add room allowing the removal of the strut assembly. This is
a taper fit part and will need to be released before it will come undone which
we will show you in the next step.
Here, the tie rod taper fit is being "shocked" to force the removal. Hold
pressure downward with a breaker bar while protecting the thread by leaving
the nut (loose) over the threads (not shown). In this case the taper fit was
loose enough to where it was easily removed, but this is not always the case.
If you have trouble removing the taper fit check out this
taper fit removal guide.
There are two sides of the strut that must be removed, the top and bottom
mounting bolts, this shows the bottom nut location which needs to be removed,
in this case it is a 21mm (nut size).
To remove the bottom bolt you will need to relieve a slight amount of tension
from the lower control arm by using a breaker bar.
After the video please continue with the remainder of the guide to glean
Before the top strut assembly mounting bolts are removed the lower control
arm nuts and bolts must be removed. Sometimes it might be easier to remove the
lower spindle ball joint which has a taper fit, but not in this case. There
will be two nut bolts assemblies, be sure to see the alignment markings before
you remove them, this will help you keep the alignment specs upon reassembly.
There are three upper mounting nuts that hold the strut to the frame or
body of the vehicle, these are the last attachments before the strut can be
removed, in this case they are 15mm. It is a little difficult to see the third
nut because it is the most inward of the three.
Use a large pry bar to dislodge the lower control arm, then move to the
lower strut mount again using the pry bar. As in any suspension replacements
a large pry bar is a great help and is highly suggested.
Obtain clearance using the pry bar on the lower control arm to help dislodge
the strut, be sure to grasp the strut firmly as to not drop it, remove the strut
and spring from the vehicle.
Once the old strut and spring assemblies are removed, compare the new units
to ensure a proper installation and usability. Reassemble the vehicle in the
reverse order to complete the job, a wheel alignment could be necessary in some