In order to have a smooth ride with easy handling, your car needs properly working struts. These struts allow you to drive through bumpy roads and surfaces, and still feel comfortable. Basically, the struts are the combination of shock absorber and spring packages. They are essential parts of the suspension system in a way that worn or damaged struts may cause a painful and unsafe ride. Below are the common problems with Toyota Prius' struts and how they can be diagnosed.
To verify that your struts are bad, test drive your car in a safe area, preferably with bumps and a bit of potholes. While driving on a rough road, observe if the car is bouncing and skittering excessively. If it does, then you might need to check your vehicle's struts. Also, observe if the car's back end skitters back and forth.
If you experience harsh jolts or hear clanking noises, then your Toyota Prius struts might need replacement. Verify if the struts are worn or damaged by going on a test drive. Again, find a safe place with irregular road surface. Drive the car over speed bumps while running at 5 mph or below. If you do hear clanking noises and feel harsh jolts while driving, then it's a sign that the struts have lost their cushioning effect. This also causes the struts to "bottom out" and allow metal-to-metal contact.
While test driving your car, you may also observe how easy the handling of the steering wheel becomes after making a sharp turn. If you notice vehicle sway or excessive leaning, then the struts are already worn. When this happens, immediate struts replacement is recommended since it's potentially dangerous to drive with an unstable, poor handling vehicle.
Another symptom is when your car's hood raises sharply upon sudden acceleration. This indicates that the wheels of your car are losing contact with the ground. The shock absorber, responsible for slowing the wheels' up and down motion, might be worn as well. Being part of the struts, the damaged shock absorber makes your car seem like a super-bounce rubber ball when it runs over safety bumps and potholes.