A strut has a coil spring around it that's under enough tension to hold up the corner of the car. Special tools are needed to compress that spring so it can be safely removed when replacing the strut. Besides being a major safety issue for an inexperienced person, the upper mount that holds the spring can deteriorate leading to hard steering, clunking and thumping when turning the steering wheel, or a wobble that prevents the wheel from staying in perfect alignment. Coil springs get weak with age and allow the car to sag. That can change the suspension geometry enough that you'll have less than ideal tire wear even after the car has been aligned. In rare cases the lower plate welded to the strut body that the coil spring sits on can break loose allowing that corner of the car to drop quite a bit.
All of these things are addressed with a "quick strut". That may be some manufacturer's trade name, but generically it means the complete assembly. Normally we replace the strut and reuse the coil spring and upper mounting plate / bearing. That takes about a half hour for each strut. With a quick strut, all those parts are already assembled, and the assembly is ready to be bolted onto the car. You'll pay more for the complete assembly than for just a strut, but the labor will be considerably less. Some mechanics want to install these quick struts because it saves you labor time and dollars and eliminates the possibility of having a problem I mentioned. Some mechanics prefer to replace just the strut and reuse the spring and upper mount to save you money on parts. Once the assembly is off the car, replacing just the strut just takes a couple of minutes, so they're saving you more money by doing it that way. This is typically a better deal when the car is newer and the springs haven't sagged yet.
All you have to do is ask at any auto parts store for the front and rear quick struts. They'll know what you want and that there's two fronts and two rears. The car must have a four-wheel alignment as soon as the assemblies are replaced.
Friday, November 1st, 2013 AT 12:24 AM