Worn struts can cause a few different symptoms, and one is a rattling or clunking noise, but that is not related to turning. What you're describing is very common and is caused by a binding upper strut mount. You can verify this by reaching over the top of the tire, wrapping your fingertips around one of the coils on the coil spring, then feeling as a helper slowly turns the steering wheel.
You should feel that spring rotate smoothly with the tire. When the upper mount is binding, you'll feel the spring wind up and build tension, then sudden;y pop free and turn. The entire weight of that corner of the car is sitting on that mount, so it's not surprising when one falls apart or gets dirt inside that makes the bearing bind.
The strut assembly has to be removed and disassembled to replace the upper mount. At that point you've done 99 percent of what it takes to replace a worn strut, labor-wise, so considering the mileage on the car, a much better alternative is to have "Quick Struts" installed. Those are compete assemblies with all new struts, coil springs, and upper mounts. They cost about four times as much as just the strut, but take less than a half hour to replace both that way. What you spend on parts, you'll save on labor. Also, as a suspension and alignment specialist, I understand the importance of correct ride height, and the new coil springs will insure the front suspension is at the right height. A proper alignment will never eliminate poor tire wear if that suspension geometry is incorrect.
Regardless if you have a single upper mount replaced, (which is economically-foolish), two new struts with one new upper mount, or a pair of Quick Struts, the car will need to be aligned, so include that in your plans.
Struts are always replaced in pairs to maintain even handling on bouncing on both sides of the car. You could have just one replaced, and pay for the alignment, then have the second strut replaced later, and pay for another alignment. That would be like buying one new shoe when one gets a hole in it, then buying the other one when the sole tears off.
Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 AT 10:06 PM