Shock and Strut Boot Buyer’s Guide
- Usually made from rubber, the strut boot is a component that covers the strut rod. Its main function is to protect the part from debris and harmful contaminants.
- Shock and strut boots are made from rubber, so they tend to wear out faster when compared to the shock and strut.
- When looking for an aftermarket shock and strut boot, you have to consider its material, fit or dimensions, and product warranty.
- An aftermarket shock absorber and strut boot usually has a price range that falls between $3 and $80.
The ability to keep your vehicle under control in various driving situations is important for your safety. It’s absolutely necessary that your tires, for example, are glued to the ground when making sudden sharp turns, so you can steer it in the right direction. The shock absorbers and struts in your car are the ones responsible for making this happen.
To ensure that your vehicle has solid handling and control, shock absorbers and struts must be in good condition all the time. However, aside from the daily wear and tear that comes with their job, they can also deteriorate if constantly exposed to harmful contaminants like dirt and moisture. A good shock and strut boot for each of these components can help prolong their lifespan.
What is a strut boot?
The strut boot is a rubber component that covers the strut rod, which protects it from road debris and other harmful elements. Since the strut provides structural support to the suspension system, prolonging its service life is a priority. The strut boot ensures that your strut won’t fail prematurely. Remember that if the strut breaks down, it can have a negative effect on ride comfort and handling, vehicle control, steering, braking, and wheel alignment.
Is there a difference between a strut boot and a shock boot?
Although the strut and shock, on the most basic level, do the same job for the vehicle, they are completely different parts. They may be both used to dampen the movement of the spring and minimize bounce, but they are not interchangeable. You can’t replace a shock absorber with a strut and vice versa.
This also applies to the strut boot and shock boot. Despite having the same function, which is to protect such components from contaminants, they are two separate parts. You can’t use the boot, which is specifically designed for a strut, for the shock absorber. If the strut boot fails, you need to change it with the same component. You can’t use your spare shock absorber boot to replace it.
How long does a shock and strut boot last?
Most vehicle experts agree that a vehicle’s shock absorbers and struts need to be replaced every 50,000 to 100,000 miles depending on several factors like your driving habits and environment. If you constantly drive on rough terrains and bumpy roads, for example, these components may wear out faster. As for the strut and shock boots, since they are usually made of rubber, they can fail faster than your strut and shocks. To make sure that you can replace them when they get busted, it’s recommended to inspect your shock and strut boots from time to time. Doing this will allow you to keep your strut and shock protected all the time and not get exposed to various elements that can cause their deterioration.
Things to consider when looking for an aftermarket strut and shock boot
Replacing the strut and shock boot doesn’t cost a lot and won’t take much of your time. However, that doesn’t mean that you should just purchase the first set of strut or shock boots that you see online. There are several things that you need to consider to make sure that you’ll get the right aftermarket components for your vehicle.
Protecting your struts and shock absorbers from harmful elements is no easy feat. And since these suspension components are always moving, they also generate high temperatures that can add to the daily wear and tear of the strut and shock boots. So for these parts to be able to endure, they need to be made from durable materials. Aftermarket strut and shock boots are often made from heavy-duty rubber, which allows them to easily repel debris and other elements.
The aftermarket shock and strut boot should be able to fit seamlessly with your vehicle’s shock absorber and strut. To make sure that this happens, it’s vital that you get the components that are specifically made for the year, make, and model of your ride. You should also check if the boot has the correct dimensions for your vehicle. Although there are shock and strut boots that have a universal fit, it’s still best to know the measurements of the shock and strut. Make sure to take these into account before buying a boot.
Brand new shock and strut boots shouldn’t have any problems. But in rare cases, newly purchased components may not be in good shape or have poor quality. To protect yourself against a defective product, you should purchase aftermarket boots that are backed by a warranty. It can save you from shelling out more money to buy another part if the first one is not good and does not work as intended.
How much is an aftermarket shock and strut boot?
The price of an aftermarket shock absorber and strut boot usually ranges from $3 to $80. It can be purchased individually or in sets of two or four. Shock and strut boots also come in a variety of colors including black, blue, purple, yellow, and more. Each one is also designed for a particular location. If you are going to replace the shock and strut boot located in the front and driver’s side of your vehicle, for instance, make sure to get one that is made for that specific location.
Finding the right fit
Looking for replacement parts and accessories on CarParts.com is easy. Before you search for a part, make sure that you plug in your vehicle’s year, make, and model in our built-in vehicle selector. This narrows down the search results to parts or accessories that are compatible with your ride. If you want to be more specific, you can filter them by price range, brand name, quantity sold, material, location, and more.
Getting the Perfect Shock and Strut Boot
Your suspension system takes a lot of stress and strain to keep your vehicle running smoothly and comfortably. With a boot in place, you enhance the durability of your overtaxed shocks and struts. Buying a replacement isn't too complicated if you know what to look for. Just follow this simple list of do's and don'ts to get you on the right track.
Do make sure that you buy one that is specific for the make and model of your ride. Some heavier vehicles have larger struts and shocks. There is no"one-size fits all" when it comes to the protective boots.
Do look for the right dimensions when picking a boot. There are universal shock & strut boots out there, but they still vary based on the length and diameter of the shock and strut that they can accommodate. Check these measurements on a catalog very carefully.
Do try to go for the flexible accordion-type of boot as this allows for a greater deal of flexibility and compressibility. Because the shocks and struts tend to move about a bit, a boot that can follow along is a big plus.
Don't just buy the first one you see. Even when you find one that matches your make and model specifically, it pays off to check the dimensions of the openings against the ones you have on your car. Too loose and too tight simply won't cut it.
Don't be cheap. If you pinch a few pennies and get a boot made from cheap, flimsy plastics, you might just end up spending more later on. Rubber is the far more superior choice when it comes to the boot because it's far more flexible and less prone to cracking.
Another thing that bears mentioning is the mount that is almost always paired with the boot. You find this mount closer to the body of your vehicle, and it is a near-perfect match to the attached boot. It is less prone to damage, so if you want to save a little extra, you can safely just replace the boot, provided that the replacement matches the new boot.
Matching and pricing considerations
It helps to take advantage of online retailers that offer a drop-down matching system that lets you input your vehicle's year, make, and model prior to searching for a shock and strut boot. This makes the whole process more convenient. A good set of shock and strut boots (counting even the mount) will only set you back at least $10 and, at most, $30.
Shock and Strut Boot Installation Made Easy
Constantly checking on your boot goes a long way to protect your exposed shocks and struts from abrasive damage, corrosion, and rust. With this simple guide, we take the mystery out of shock and strut boot replacement, and allow you to undertake replacing and installing a new boot simpler and more cost-effective!
Time to Complete: 45 minutes to an hour
What You'll Need:
- New shock and strut boot/s
- Jack stands
- Owner's manual
- Socket set
- Pry bar
- Wrench set and pry bar
- Spring compressor
Step 1: Disengage your battery and wait at least half an hour before beginning.
Step 2: Jack up your vehicle and prop it carefully on stands.
Step 3: Loosen the lug nuts and carefully remove your wheels.
Step 4: Remove the three nuts at the top of the strut-do NOT however remove the central nut as this will decompress the strut and may cause you harm.
Step 5: Pry the strut away and remove the strut.
Step 6: Using a spring compressor, tighten the spring down flat.
Step 7: Take off the strut mount pulling it and its spring off.
Step 8: Install the new mount and boot-in that order-and re-install the spring and mount, reversing the steps above.
Step 9: Repeat steps 3-8 for each shock and strut that you want to install the boots on.
Step 10: Secure and fasten the wheels onto the car-check for tire pressure and secure tightness of lug nuts before removing the stands and lowering your vehicle.
Step 11: Reattach battery and do a couple of test drives-at slow speeds-to ensure that everything is a-ok.
- Always wear safety goggles and gloves before working on your vehicle.
- Make sure that the jack stands are underneath a solid and strong part of your undercarriage before placing yourself under your car.
- Check each bolt and screw after reinstalling them to make sure they fit tightly.