The main parts of your vehicle suspension include the shocks and struts. To properly deal with your suspension, you need to understand what the shock and strut mount is, why you need it and how to replace it.
What is the Strut Mount?
The strut mount attaches the strut to the vehicle. One side of the mount bolts to the vehicle with the other on the strut. Inside is an insulating material made from rubber. As the car moves over bumps, the up and down movement pulls and pushes at the mount.
On most front strut mounts, there is a bearing or bearing plate. This part works as a steering pivot.
Difference Between a Shock & Strut Mount?
Shock absorbers and struts are different parts that make up a suspension system. Despite the differences between them, the mounts are similar and the terms are often intertwined. Some strut mounts are also called shock absorber mounts, although it is technically the wrong term.
Strut mounts support the weight of a vehicle and aid in the alignment of the tires, but shock absorber mounts do not.
What Parts are in a Strut Assembly?
The strut mount is only one component of the strut assembly. Most include the strut, bump stop or boot, spring seat, spring and mount. Some of them also include mount bearings and a spring isolator.
While various cars have different formats, you can expect the majority of them to include a strut body or insert. Older cars utilize the insert more than modern vehicles do. There’s also the bump stop or boot. This isn’t always required depending on the strut’s protected position.
It’s possible to purchase an entire strut assembly, which is sometimes the best option. If you have to replace multiple parts, it makes sense to look at this avenue. If you don’t have a strut compressor, which most people don’t, we always recommended that our DIY customers purchased the entire strut assembly instead.
Why Do You Need a Strut Mount?
The shock and strut mount is a vital component of the suspension. It insulates tire noise and vibrations from the cabin. It is also responsible for creating a smooth steering movement and response through the bearing working as a steering pivot.
Why Do Strut Mounts Wear?
Your strut mounts endure heavy vibration and continual shock. As with any rubber on metal bonded part; it is going to wear down.
What Happens When Strut Mounts Wear Out?
Worn strut mounts or bearing plates affect vehicle handling and safety adversely. These are vital aspects to the vehicle suspension and shouldn’t be ignored. Worn out strut mounts and bearing plates change breaking distances, steering capability and tracking.
For these reasons, it’s not safe to drive a vehicle with defective strut mount bearings. Furthermore, ignoring the problem only leads to further damage to the suspension. This isn’t just unsafe but leads to additional costs for repair.
Aside from the safety concerns, worn out strut mounts create a lot of noise. This can become annoying and disruptive to your daily drive.
When Should Strut Mounts be Replaced?
Strut mount bearings often last for the life of a vehicle. Still, high loads, extreme wear and external influences lead to premature failure. This might include temperature fluctuations, humidity, salt and frost.
If you need to replace your coil springs or struts due to wear or age, then you should also swap out the mounts. To remove the strut and spring assembly, you need to take out the mount anyway, so it’s more cost effective to do this at the same time.
How Do You Know if the Mount is Worn?
There are some drivability symptoms to watch for. These include:
- Vibration – With a faulty strut mount, you will likely experience excessive vibration while driving. This is also a symptom of a bad strut or shock.
- Noises – While driving, pay attention to clunking noises. It’s also possible that you might experience a bang sound when you head over a bump. Furthermore, bad strut mounts tend to cause an increase in steering noise.
- Steering Issues – Because the mount works with your steering, you’ll want to observe the ease of turning the wheel. It’s not uncommon to experience unusually stiff or loose steering when the mount is defective.
- Tire Wear & Alignment – You will probably notice excessive tire wear once your mount fails. This is true with most suspension concerns, so it’s vital that you watch your tires carefully. If you experience improper tire alignment, it makes sense to inspect the suspension for problems.
- Rough Ride – Anytime you drive with a suspension problem, you are going to experience a rougher ride. Observe how the car responds when going over a bump. It should remain calm and controlled unless something is wrong. If the bumpy ride combines with a noise, it’s almost a tell-tale sign that something isn’t right.
Among these driving symptoms, there are also some visual indications you can watch for. Whether you look at the components yourself or you get a professional mechanic to inspect them, look for the following signs:
- Damaged components
- Excessive movement
- Loose parts
- Sagging or cracked rubber
Why are Shock & Strut Mounts Replaced in Pairs?
In the shop, customers always wanted to replace just one mount, but that simply isn’t the way to handle this. Top strut mounts endure the same road conditions and number of miles. Because of this, if one side is worn, the other will be as well. Anytime you replace the mounts, you want to do it in pairs – left and right.
This ensures the performance is matched across the axle to provide a balanced ride height and responsive steering. If you have an imbalance on either side, your wheel and chassis movement might be affected. This compromises the handling and creates a safety concern.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace Strut Mount?
When you face strut mount replacement, there could be multiple things going on. Typically, you can plan on $150 to $250 to replace the strut bearings with a professional. If you need to have the struts replaced, you are looking at another cost between $600 and $800. The strut mount is one of the least expensive parts of the entire assembly. You can find quality parts ranging in price from $10 to $40, which is why this part is regularly replaced during strut installation.
OEM vs. Aftermarket Strut Mounts
When you purchase strut mounts for your vehicle, you have a big choice between OEM vs. aftermarket parts. There are benefits and disadvantages to each. When you use OEM components, you can replace a piece with the exact part number. Many dealerships will offer a warranty on this part as well. The trouble is, these come at a much higher cost and can be hard to find.
Aftermarket parts, on the other hand, are budget-friendly and often are created better than the OEM. There’s plenty of variety, so you can choose which part you want, but you might have to sacrifice a warranty. Some higher-end aftermarket parts will offer some sort of guarantee, so it might be worth paying a little extra for.
Tools Needed to Replace Your Car’s Shock and Strut Mount
If you plan to tackle the repair yourself, you will need some equipment. Make sure you have these tools on hand.
- Jack stands
- Floor jack
- Impact gun
- Wrench set
- Spring compressor
- Ratchet set
- Torque wrench
- Replacement parts
How to Replace Your Car’s Shock & Strut Mount
Replacing your shock and strut mount is a difficult job, but it can be done yourself. Prepare your tools and your workspace before following these steps.
Step 1: Lift your vehicle with a floor jack. Secure the frame with your jack stands. Make sure you only work on one wheel at a time. Loosen the nuts on the wheel with your impact gun. Remove the wheel and set it nearby.
Step 2: Locate the mount. It should be connected to the strut tower. It is held in place with nuts or bolts that must be removed with a socket and ratchet. Put the bolts in a safe spot while working.
Step 3: Remove the strut assembly from your vehicle and compress the spring. Then, take off the shock and strut mount. Replace it with the new one. Ensure you line up the holes before tightening down the nut with a torque wrench. You might want to utilize a vice to keep your mount steady during tightening.
Step 4: Put your wheel back in place and tighten the nuts. Turn the steering wheel to check for proper installation. There shouldn’t be any binding or noises if it’s done correctly.
Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4 on the other side of your vehicle.
Step 6: Lower the vehicle and make sure it sits at equal heights on both sides.
Take Care of Your Vehicle
The strut mounts aren’t a part of the vehicle that many people often deal with, but it’s always good to learn more about your car. The greater your knowledge the less you need explained to you when you visit the shop.