Helpful Maintenance Tips You can Use for Toyota Camry Shock Absorber and Strut Assembly
Keeping the shock absorber and strut assembly of your Toyota Camry isn't just relegated to the regular visits to the mechanic. In fact, maintaining the shocks and struts of your midsize sedan falls largely on you, the owner. However, maintaining these suspension components in good condition is not that difficult, although it must be done routinely given the amount of stress these components encounter at a normal rate. In this guide, we'll share some key tips you might find helpful in keeping the Toyota Camry shock absorber and strut assembly in top condition.
One simple yet effective way to determine the health of your car's shocks and struts is by putting through a "bounce" test. This involves pushing down on either the front or the rear of your vehicle as hard as you can and then quickly releasing your hands. If the car does not bounce sharply after you've removed your hands, the shocks and struts are working as intended. However, if the car has a pronounce bounce, have the suspension checked by a mechanic.
- Perform an acceleration test.
Another test you can put your car through to determine the condition of the struts and shocks is by accelerating and braking rapidly. In an empty parking lot, bring the car to 10 mph (16 km/h) and hit the brakes. If the front of the vehicle continues to bob even after the car has come to a full stop, the shocks and struts are likely to have worn out.
- Take note of any loose hardware.
Improperly tightened bolts, clamps, and other hardware will eventually come loose over time, leading to reduced suspension performance as well as rattling noises. Make sure all of the mounting hardware is tightened according to their recommended torque, but if the bolts or fasteners are visibly worn, have them replaced immediately.
Leaks are another big problem with shocks can also reduce the performance of these components. To check for leaks, simply spray the shocks and its connecting lines with soapy water; if soap bubbles appear, a leak may be occurring around that area.
Toyota Camry Shock Absorber and Strut Assembly Buyer's Guide
- The shocks and strut assembly is a critical component of the Toyota Camry’s suspension system.
- The assembly combines a strut, shock absorber, and spring into one serviceable component.
- Shock absorbers dampen shakes and bounce while driving on uneven roads. These are either monotube or twin-tube.
- The suspension strut is a damping mechanism that also provides structural support by carrying the weight of the vehicle.
- OEM replacement parts typically cost between $50 to $1,200.
- A good shock and strut assembly improves your vehicle’s ride comfort, tire contact, and drive quality.
No other midsize sedan has sold more units than the Toyota Camry. From its debut in 1983, it has been known for being a reliable and fuel-efficient car. It’s popularity as a family sedan comes as no surprise. The Camry may not be for speed enthusiasts but its riding experience makes it a trusted daily driver that you can rely on through the years.
To know more about the Toyota Camry let's take a closer look at one of its components: the shocks and strut assembly.
What is a shock and strut assembly?
A shock and strut assembly combines your car’s shock absorber, strut, and spring into one serviceable component. This assembly is part of a vehicle’s suspension system. To know more about how the assembly works, let’s go deeper into the function of each individual part.
What are shock absorbers?
A shock absorber is a damping mechanism that absorbs shakes and vibrations on a vehicle. These are typically installed in the front and rear of a car. Shock absorbers are built as either hydraulic (liquid-filled) or pneumatic (gas-filled) chambers, which house a perforated piston and rod.
What’s the difference between a spring and a shock absorber?
Springs and shock absorbers both absorb energy. However, the two mechanisms differ in how they release energy. Springs are meant to absorb and store energy as it is. Therefore when you pinch a small spring between your fingers, it will quickly retract as soon as you release the applied pressure.
Shock absorbers, on the other hand, will absorb energy but dissipate its release. What this means is that instead of retracting with the same amount of force, they apply resistance and minimize the impact by slowing down the movement. This is the reason why your car doesn’t endlessly bounce after driving over a pothole or roll after making a turn.
How does a shock absorber work?
The fundamental design of shock absorbers has remained unchanged for more than a century. Shock absorbers are sealed chambers with an internal perforated piston and rod. The chamber is either filled with fluid (hydraulic) or pneumatic (gas).
When a wheel drives over a bump, the piston is forced into the chamber. This movement forces the gas or fluid to pass through the tiny holes at the end of the piston. This process slows down the retraction of the shock absorber, limiting any bounce on the body of the vehicle.
Types of Toyota Camry shock absorbers
There are two types of shock absorbers typically installed on a Toyota Camry: monotube or twin-tube shocks.
Monotube shock absorbers feature single-cylinder chambers which are split into two sections. Compared to the twin-tube design, the internal piston of the monotube absorber is wider.
Twin-tube shock absorbers feature two telescoping chambers. Instead of keeping the fluid in the same chamber, the piston pushes the fluid to the other chamber which acts as a reservoir.
What is a strut?
The strut is a structural damping mechanism that carries the weight of the vehicle. It is typically mounted inside a coiled spring which maintains the car’s height. Aside from its role in your car’s suspension system, the strut also aids the vehicle steering and alignment system by holding the tire in its proper position.
Most vehicles today have MacPherson struts installed. This popular strut design connects the body of the vehicle to the hub carrier. These are generally fitted on the front wheels because they are lighter, at the same time, they take up less horizontal space.
Finding the right shocks and strut assembly for your Camry
There have been eight generations of Toyota Camry, each with varying part sizes. To find the right shocks and strut assembly for your car, we recommend using our website’s search engine. Simply input your vehicle’s year, make, and model to browse through relevant parts.
How much does a shock and strut assembly cost?
The cost of a Toyota Camry shock and strut assembly varies depending on your car’s year and model. OEM replacement parts typically cost anywhere between $50 to $1,200. These are often sold individually or in sets of two. While it may be possible to work on this part on your own, we strongly recommend going to a trusted mechanic to ensure a proper and secure installation.
When should shocks and struts be replaced?
As with any mechanical component of your car, your shocks and struts will deteriorate over time. Worn out shocks and struts can have a negative effect on your car’s drivability. If you experience excessive bouncing, leaning, swaying during turns, or stiff steering response, it may be a good idea to have your Toyota Camry’s suspension system checked.
General maintenance schedules for shocks and strut replacement is typically set between 50,000 to 100,000 miles. However, vehicles frequently driven on streets with poor road conditions may require replacement sooner.
Shock absorbers can develop fluid leaks over time, while mounts and bushings are prone to rust and corrosion. If you notice uneven tread wear on your tires, your car’s weight is bearing down on your wheels. This is also a tell-tale sign that your shocks and struts need replacement.
Installing the Toyota Camry Shock Absorber and Strut Assembly: 3 Tips You Should Know
Installing a new shock absorber and strut assembly in your Toyota Camry is a task that is best done by a team of professional mechanics, but if you have the skills and the tools necessary for the job you can save a lot of money by doing the replacement yourself. Many shock and strut assembly kits sold today also come included with the necessary hardware, making installing these components an easier task.
In this guide, we have listed down some helpful tips you can use when installing a Toyota Camry shock absorber and strut assembly
Tip #1: Make sure to secure the vehicle before starting.
The location of the shock absorber and struts means replacing them would entail spending a lot of time underneath the vehicle, so it is essential that your car secured properly to prevent accidents. To this end, park the car in a level area, place chocks on the wheels that will remain on the ground. We also recommend engaging the car's parking brake as a backup measure; the chocks will prevent the wheels from moving even when the parking brake is activated and vice versa.
Once the vehicle has been rendered stationary, raise the vehicle up with a jack and place jack stands on a structural piece of the chassis. Do not use the jack to hold up your vehicle; it is not designed to support weight for a sustained period of time.
Tip #2: Use a coil spring compressor to release the springs.
Even when stationary, the Camry's coil springs still store a sizable amount of compressed energy, and if not handled properly it could result to injury and damage to your car. Because of this, we recommend investing in a coil spring compressor, which resembles a clamp that holds the coil spring safely in place. This tool is usually stocked in auto parts stores, although you can certainly find one online.
Tip #3: Test your new shocks and struts by doing a bounce test.
This is one simple way to test your new suspension components: push down on the side of the car with your new shocks as hard as you can and immediately let of your hands. Does the ride immediately bounce back? If so, then the shock and struts are not installed properly. Also, check the level of the bounce; if the vehicle is moving at an off angle or leaning to one side, the bushings and mounting points of the shocks and struts may not be installed properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
After installing a replacement shock absorber and strut assembly, the Toyota Camry is still making clunking noises. What could be causing these noises?
If the Toyota Camry is still making noises even after replacing the damper and strut, then its best to make sure that the mounting hardware and upper bearing plate are not loose or worn out. If the clunking noises are originating from the replacement damper, then the mounting hardware might have several loose bolts. On the other hand, if the noises are coming from the strut, then some of bolts of the upper bearing plate should be checked if they are torqued properly or not.
How long does it take to replace a damaged Toyota Camry shock absorber and strut assembly?
For an average DIYer who has all the tools needed to do this task, it will take at least 60 minutes or an hour to remove and replace a damaged shock absorber and strut assembly. This is because the DIYer has to remove the tires of his or her Toyota Camry to get enough ground clearance. What's more, the person doing the repair also needs to uninstall several parts of the suspension system to access the damper and strut assembly.
How much does a replacement Toyota Camry shock absorber and strut assembly cost?
The prices of replacement Toyota Camry shock absorber and strut assemblies vary depending on whether they are monotubes or twin-tubes and their finishes. Monotube assemblies cost about 57 to 11 USD, while twin-tubes cost around 37 to as much as 267 USD. On the other hand, when it comes to finish, black damper and strut assemblies have prices ranging from 37 to 260 USD, while blue ones cost around 57 to 138 USD.
What is the difference between monotube and twin-tube shock absorber and strut assemblies?
Toyota Camrys can be equipped with two types of shock absorbers: monotube and twin-tube. Basically, monotubes use single pistons that operate inside single-wall tubes, while twin-tubes have durable outer tubes that protect the inner piston tubes. Performance-wise, monotubes overheat less often than twin-tubes because they can dispel heat easily. However, twin-tubes can withstand more impacts or dings because of their protective outer tubes.