DO I NEED TO REPLACE THE SPRINGS WHEN I REPLACE ...
1998 Toyota Corolla
Do I need to replace the springs when I replace the struts?
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 AT 5:00 AM
No. Look at the painted coating on the springs. If that is cracking off you'll find rust on the metal spring. That can lead to them breaking, and a sharp end can tear the sidewall of the tire. Also, alignment mechanics get real picky about correct ride height. Even when the numbers on the alignment computer say everything is perfect, if ride height is sagged, the suspension geometry will be wrong and you'll still get accelerated tire wear. New springs are a good investment to save on the expense of new tires.
When replacing struts the spring is already compressed when the assembly is removed from the car. The strut compressor tool only has to hold it there while the old strut is removed and the new one is installed. An efficient mechanic can replace two struts in about a half hour, not including the alignment. When he installs new springs, the old one has to be carefully relaxed, then the tool is used to compress the new spring to fit on the strut. That can be very dangerous for inexperienced people. To address that danger and to save time, many aftermarket suppliers are now offering the complete assembly; a new spring, strut, upper mount, rubber insulators when used, and dust boot. Those are a real good value and don't cost much more than just the struts.
It's common on most cars for the upper mounts to bind when they get older. You'll hear popping and thumping when you turn the steering wheel. The center hole can rust out too, and that is impossible to see or know until it is taken apart. Then the mechanic has to find you and tell you more parts are needed. Those mounts often have to be special-ordered, so either you wait hours or days for them to arrive, the mechanic puts it all back together, then does the job a second time when the parts arrive, or he just reuses the worn parts and hopes for the best. New upper mounts come with those assemblies which makes them a REALLY good value.