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Toyota Prius Struts

Identifying Common Problems Encountered with Toyota Prius Struts

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.

Crashing and skittering suspension

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.

Clanking noises

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.

Excess body roll

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.

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  • Tips to Maintain Your Toyota Prius Struts in Top Shape 04 March 2014

    Your Toyota Prius struts combine the different suspension parts--including the coil spring, spring seats, shock absorber, strut bearing, and steering knuckle--into one assembly. Together, this set supports the car's weight while it moves to adapt to road irregularities. Because it integrates with the shock absorber, the struts also dampen the coil spring's movement while it compresses and rebounds during your drive. Since this component is important to your vehicle's stability, it is important that you keep it in top shape. You can do so by starting out with these tips:

    • Have your car's struts checked at least once a year

    • Sometimes, you'll hardly notice that the struts are wearing out gradually because it only loses its ride quality, handling, and control at a low, incremental rate. So when you have your car checked, which is usually at the same time as when you have your wheels realigned, the mechanic can easily spot the wear. This would also be a good time for you to replace the coil springs to save on labor costs.

    • Schedule your struts' maintenance depending on three factors

    • Even though your car's struts are mass-produced by a manufacturer, each unit has a different maintenance schedule. This is because the struts' rate of wear depends on three factors--climate condition, driving surface, and driving style. If you have been driving on snow, for example, you will have to check your struts more often. The recommended schedule for this is right after winter and before fall. And if you use your Prius for racing, keep your car's suspension in check before and after each event.

    • Be wary of common signs that point to broken struts

    • While you keep to a regular maintenance schedule, it's also important to periodically check for symptoms of broken or worn-out struts. These signs are usually noises, so when you hear something odd, turn off the car's air conditioner and stereo so you could hear it again. Then, slowly drive over an obstacle--like a speed bump, pothole, or dip--while monitoring for any excessive bounce at the front or rear. If there is any, this would mean that the particular strut in that part is faulty.