Strut cartridges should be about $60 apiece. Full assemblies are around $160.
Whether you replace the cartridges or the whole strut, the vehicle will have to be aligned afterwards. That's about $60 last time I checked around.
Replacing the cartridges is about a 90 minute job. Most shops will charge 2 hours for it, though.
Replacing the whole strut assembly is about an hour and you can do it yourself quite easily with just a few tools.
The cost for labor will depend on the local labor rates. From what I've seen, nowadays that's about $100 an hour.
If you can rent or borrow a spring compressor, you can replace the strut cartridges yourself and save a significant chunk of change.
1: Loosen the lug nuts.
2: Raise the front end and block a rear wheel. Use jack stands to support the car.
3: Remove the front wheels.
4: Place the jack under the lower control arm.
5: Remove the 2 bolts securing the strut housing flange to the steering knuckle.
6: Raise the hood and remove the 3 bolts securing the strut tower to the body. Prior to removal, mark the locations of the bolts on the body.
7: Compress the strut spring.
8: Remove the strut cap bolt, strut cap, spring, and bump stop.
9: Use a pair of channellocks or large slipjoint pliers to remove the strut cartridge retainer bolt.
10: Slide the strut cartridge out.
11: reverse the above process.
12: Torque the strut cap bolts to 37 foot-pounds and the strut flange to steering knuckle bolts to 47 foot-pounds. Lug nuts are torqued to 80 foot-pounds.
November, 22, 2011 AT 10:33 PM
Hi guys. It doesn't sound like peter bella wants to replace them himself so I'd like to add a few comments that might help in this case.
We don't really get involved with that here because it depends on the typical labor rates in your area, the quality / name brand of the replacement parts and whether additional parts are needed. The car will also need a four-wheel alignment after the strut service. Some shops charge their hourly rate but most have a set fee for an alignment regardless of how long it takes. Your car has very little that can be adjusted so the alignment shouldn't take too long. Some tire wear angles are "you get what you got", and hope for the best.
Replacement struts cost in the area of $40.00 to $90.00 each. The upper mounts are often worn too but unless that wear is real severe no one will know until the strut is disassembled to transfer the spring to the new one. THAT'S when they have to hunt you down and tell you "more parts are needed".
Some companies are offering complete strut assemblies now that include a new spring and upper mount, (both smart choices). The parts will cost a lot more but the labor times are greatly reduced and the danger from flying compressed springs is eliminated. New springs will get a sagged front end back up where it should be which will improve tire wear.
As for labor times, many shops use a "flat rate" guide that spells out exactly how much time each procedure should take. That eliminates one variable when comparing estimates between two or more shops. Since strut replacement is so common, some shops have a set labor charge for the job. The problem with that is the procedure varies widely between car brands. Two struts could be replaced on an older Chrysler product in 20 minutes but that same job on some GM models could take a couple of hours. Your car falls somewhere in the middle of that range. That's why you might be charged a certain amount for new struts while your neighbor paid half as much for the same service but on a different brand of car. Of course the mechanic or shop is blamed for "ripping you off" and gets an undeserved bad reputation. The best is to get multiple estimates from different shops and compare what they're going to replace, how they're going to handle those extras they find along the way, and what services, such as the alignment, are included. Don't waste your time comparing an estimate to your friend's recent service work. That's as accurate as comparing doctor bills.
November, 22, 2011 AT 11:01 PM
I'd like to add to cardioc's addition to my reply that you might try looking for a "Parts and Labor Guide" or "Labor Estimation Guide" at the biggest library near where you live and look up the procedure for your car. This will give you an idea of how long the industry feels the repair should take, giving you a "ballpark" idea of how much the labor will cost.
Cardiodoc also mentioned flying strut springs. This IS a very important safety consideration. Some experienced mechanics will wrap a chain around the compressed spring in order to prevent this from happening. A compressed strut spring that pops loose from the compressor is very dangerous and can cause serious damage to the car or house or serious, even fatal, injuries to you or bystanders if proper precautions aren't observed. This is why many mechanics will use two compressors on opposite sides of the spring while performing the repair.
Thanks for bringing this stuff up, cardiodoc. It completely slipped my mind.
November, 22, 2011 AT 11:57 PM
You say your mind slipped? There must be something you can tighten for that!
November, 23, 2011 AT 12:42 AM
Yeah, but I can't afford it right now. : ( My other writing site just laid a few of us off, after nixing its automotive channel back in May or June.