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Summary
  • A damaged strut boot can’t be repaired, only replaced, so don’t try to patch them up with adhesives or sealants.
  • Shock and strut boots help protect the “polish rod” that’s connected to the piston within the shock or strut.
  • Replace your strut boots right away as soon as you notice damage to avoid problems down the line.

To keep your vehicle’s suspension in top condition, make sure to repair or replace defective parts immediately. This includes making sure that protective parts, such as shock and strut boots, are installed properly and remain intact.

Can a Damaged Strut Boot Be Repaired?

The short answer is no⁠—damaged strut boots can’t be repaired. Do not attempt to patch up these rubber boots with adhesives or sealants, as that could cause more harm than good.

Worn shock and strut boots should only be replaced⁠—never repaired. Thankfully, there are many affordable yet high-quality options that you can choose from to replace the defective parts. 

Because shock and strut boots are crucial to the smooth operation of the suspension system, they should not be haphazardly installed. The dust boots have to be completely sealed to keep contaminants and harsh elements out of the shocks and struts.

What are Shock and Strut Boots?

car suspension parts
To keep your vehicle’s suspension in top condition, make sure to repair or replace defective parts immediately.

Shock and strut boots offer an additional layer of protection for the “polish rod” that is connected to the piston within the shock or strut. This rod slides up and down through the top of the shock shell through a heavy duty seal.

The strut boots keep out road debris, dirt, and other contaminants that can easily stick to the piston rod’s oily surface while the vehicle is in motion. A shock boot prevents these contaminants from building up and triggering corrosion, which may cause the shock absorber to fail over time.

Strut Boots

The strut boots are accordion type boots that protect the polished shock shaft from dirt and road salt. Without the boot in place, though, some struts will last many thousands of miles without giving problems, and you aren’t likely to crash or have to spend more money because you ignored or were ignorant of burst strut boots. Most drivers aren’t even aware they need strut boots and will usually just keep driving.

The strut boots are accordion type boots that protect the polished shock shaft from dirt and road salt. Without the boot in place, though, some struts will last many thousands of miles without giving problems, and you aren’t likely to crash or have to spend more money because you ignored or were ignorant of burst strut boots. Most drivers aren’t even aware they need strut boots and will usually just keep driving.

Richard McCuistian, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician

When to Replace Worn Strut Boots

Worn strut boots must be replaced as soon as you notice visible signs of damage. If the boots look torn or damaged in any way, it’s probably time for a replacement. That being said, it’s better to replace the entire strut or shock than to just replace the boot in most cases.

shock and strut boot
Worn strut boots must be replaced as soon as you notice visible signs of damage.

Some vehicles may require a strut boot replacement earlier than others because of varying driving habits and road conditions. For instance, off-roading vehicles frequently driven on muddy or rocky roads are more likely to experience premature wear on their shock and strut boots. 

Strut boot design may also have an impact on this part’s longevity. Some strut boots are designed with a hole at the top to drain out fluids that may have gotten in. However, these boots are not designed to filter out mud, which can clog the boots and affect the operation of the shocks and struts. 

To prevent drivability issues, worn shock and strut boots should be replaced immediately.

Strut Boot Replacement

Replacing a damaged strut boot is a relatively easy job once the shock or strut is removed from the vehicle. If you plan on replacing the boot yourself, check out the step-by-step strut boot installation guide below.

Level of difficulty: Easy

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Replacement strut boot
  • Retainer ring
  • Bumper
  • Tie wrap or cable tie
  • Scissors or cutter

Instructions:

Note: These instructions assume that the strut has already been removed from the car.

1. Take the retainer ring and pop it on the bumper.

2. Take the boot and slide it over the rod with the split end facing the strut.

3. Remove the top bolt so you can slide the bumper over the rod.

4. Push the bumper as far as it will go, but don’t let it slide all the way that it pops inside the boot.

5. Take the boot and work it over the retainer ring until it slides into the groove inside.

6. Take the split end of the boot and fit it over the bottom end of the strut. Make sure the boot is aligned correctly.

7. Attach the tie wrap on the end of the boot to secure it in place.

8. Take the cutters or scissors and snip the excess part of the tie wrap.

For a visual guide to strut boot replacement, check out the video below:

Where to Get New Strut Boots for Your Vehicle

If your vehicle’s strut boots are beginning to wear down, you can expect drivability issues to follow. Accidents will be more likely the longer you leave the issue unresolved. Because it’s best to replace shock and strut boots once you notice they’re worn down, you’ll want to get your hands on a new set as soon as possible. Thankfully, CarParts.com can help with that.

CarParts.com can deliver your new strut boots to your door in as few as two business days. Finding a set that’s guaranteed to fit your vehicle is easy and hassle-free with our built-in vehicle selector. Enter your vehicle’s year, make, and model and you should be able to find strut boots that fit in no time. If you have any questions at any step of the process, you can even contact our friendly and helpful customer service. They’ll answer any questions you might have and walk you through any process you’re unfamiliar with.

Browse the CarParts.com selection of strut boots and place your order for new strut boots today.

Products Mentioned in this Guide

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TrueDrive – Loaded Strut – Front, Driver or Passenger Side
, Damaged Strut Boot: Repair or Replace?
$82.97 Price and rating may change from the time content is published.
About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Richard McCuistian has worked for nearly 50 years in the automotive field as a professional technician, an instructor, and a freelance automotive writer for Motor Age, ACtion magazine, Power Stroke Registry, and others. Richard is ASE certified for more than 30 years in 10 categories, including L1 Advanced Engine Performance and Light Vehicle Diesel.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

File Under : DIY , Suspension Tagged With :
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Marvin

Thanks for the info. Definitely helped me decide whether to replace my strut boots or not

Nick

Why do you say it is better to replace the entire strut or shock instead of the boot?

Marc Yarbrough

When the dust cover boot fails, it is late into the life of the strut (usually). Since you have to remove the strut completely to replace the boot, it sometimes makes sense to go ahead and replace the strut also rather than be forced to do it again in the near future when it will eventually fail. If the boot gets torn early in the life of the strut, it may be fine to just replace the boot alone. It is a judgement call.

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