Shock and Strut Mount Buyer's Guide
- Shock and strut mounts, also known simply as strut mounts, attach the strut (the one with a coil spring in it) to the vehicle’s chassis.
- A shock and strut mount serves two functions: it insulates the strut from the car while most can also act as a steering pivot.
- Oftentimes, the strut mount is subject to huge bumps, collision damage, and rusting, just like how it is for the whole suspension system
- Symptoms include weird noises, increased vibrations, poor steering, bad tire alignment, uneven tire wear, loose strut mount, and rusting.
- An OE shock and strut mount replacement on CarParts.com can cost you as little as $0.81 to as much as $350, depending on the brand and design.
What is a shock and strut mount?
Shock and strut mounts, also known simply as strut mounts, attach the strut (the one with a coil spring in it) to the vehicle’s chassis. It serves two functions: it insulates the strut from the car while most act as a steering pivot. The ones that have the ability to pivot are front mounts that feature a bearing inside the assembly. The bearing allows the strut to pivot on the mount and controls the alignment of the wheels when turning.
Symptoms of a bad shock and strut mount
It’s no secret that the suspension system is one of the most battered groups of components in your car. It is also one of the most crucial systems that allow for a comfortable ride, so leaving them failing for long can spoil the fun in driving your car, including your safety. Adding to that, the failure of one tiny component in your suspension system can make matters even worse.
Oftentimes, the strut mount is subject to huge bumps, collision damage, and rusting, just like how it is for the whole suspension system. Damage can often be traced by observing these symptoms:
Noises coming from the suspension
Any metal-to-metal contact can produce weird and even harsh sounds. Now, between the strut and its mount is a rubber insulation that cancels or reduces the vibration and noise whenever your struts are moving, whether it’s contracting and compressing or pivoting when turning.
Noises will begin to surface if this rubber material disintegrates to the point where it wouldn’t be able to function properly. This ranges from clicking, clunking, to knocking sounds.
Increased vehicle vibration
Since the mount also reduces vibration aside from sound, a bad strut mount can cause your vehicle to vibrate more. The vibration may be bearable in its early stages but the longer you ignore it, the worse it can get.
There are different causes of vehicle vibration so it’s best to rule out other potential culprits first before buying a strut mount replacement. Check all surrounding components near the tire or bring your car to a certified mechanic for proper evaluation.
Decreased steering response
As mentioned, most front upper strut mounts are equipped with bearings to allow the strut to pivot on the mount. Like all faulty bearings, the strut mount’s bearing can restrict pivoting movement when rust continues to develop inside. Problems like loose, stiff, or shaky steering are possible results of a bad front upper strut mount.
However, it does not necessarily mean that steering issues are only caused by one failing component. It can be a result of two or more failing components that have rooted in an earlier problem. Be sure to assess the problem rigorously first before jumping to conclusions.
Compromised tire alignment
One common issue of a bad strut mount are misaligned wheels. However, it is not limited to faulty strut mounts as a defective control arm or a broken tie rod end can both result in a compromise tire alignment. You can observe this as you drive. If your vehicle pulls to one side without you moving the steering wheel, chances are the alignment is off.
Misaligned wheels can develop over time, meaning it’s not noticeable to an average driver during the early stages. But if the failing component gets worse, alignment changes will become more evident. While you can bring your car to a tire shop to solve the issue, you also need a wheel or suspension check-up to completely solve the problem.
Uneven tire wear
Another visual evidence that one or more of your strut mounts might be needing replacements involves tire wearing. Ideally, tires should wear evenly. If one of your tires starts showing signs of wearing earlier than the others, chances are there’s a problem. Again, there could be multiple causes contributing to this and among the components,you should check are your strut mounts.
A play in the mount
This symptom can only be traced by popping up your hood and pressing down your car to simulate spring pressure. If everything’s good, the components should appear intact, meaning nothing else should move aside from the compressing strut. If you observe excessive movement or play in the strut mounts, it could be due to looseness.
By doing a visual check-up, you’ll be able to tell if your strut mount is on the verge of failing, especially with the presence of rust formation. If rust is starting to show, your best bet is to save for a future replacement. However, it’s better if you can invest earlier to avoid major consequences. Rust can consume the strut mount faster than you think, especially if your car frequents to humid areas.
What's In and What's Out: Few Tips when Buying Shock and Strut Mount
Consider aftermarket parts as an option.
Aftermarket parts are not created by the car's maker. Basically, these parts are not from Toyota or Ford. These are produced by other companies that manufacture auto parts that are designed to function the same as the original. So why buy aftermarket parts?
- They are more affordable. Of course, buying parts with a popular brand name can cost you more. For instance, if you buy from the original manufacturer, you have to pay around $70 to $100. Meanwhile, for an aftermarket shock and strut mount, the price range is from $17 to $50 depending on the brand and type.
- There is a huge variety of parts to choose from. There are many companies now that offer aftermarket parts and this gives you a wider selection. You can compare types, brands, and prices before deciding which one to buy. The downside is, you can get overwhelmed by this so choose wisely. Read reviews that talk about the brand.
Check the warranty details
OEM parts, no matter how expensive they are, always come with warranty starting from six months up to a lifetime. This is a disadvantage for aftermarket parts because not all of them can guarantee a warranty. There are some distributors and suppliers, though, that give a warranty and it is often stated in their catalogs so read them carefully and ask if you have to.
As much as possible, buy a direct fit.
There are cases when a direct-fit shock and strut is more applicable.
- When you are not familiar with aftermarket replacement options because it is your first time to replace this part.
- Replacement is urgent and you want it done right away instead of spending time cutting and welding just to have it installed.
- You have enough money to buy; direct-fits are more expensive
How much are OE shock and strut mounts?
An OE shock and strut mount replacement on CarParts.com can cost you as little as $0.81 to as much as $350, depending on the brand and design. They are sold in single pieces, pairs, or as part of a kit. Mounts come in different sizes and shapes and are often not a universal fit.
To get the right fit for your vehicle, indicate the year, make, and model in the filter tab. This will narrow down your search by filtering the products specific for your car. You can further customize this by choosing from the categories on the left-hand side of the website.
How to Replace Your Car's Shock and Strut Mount
Have you ever had the bumpiest ride in your entire life? It's annoying and dizzying like hell. Swear that you would never experience that again by ensuring that your shock and strut mount is in good form and shape. Replace it every once in a while because age and corrosion can make the metal weak and will eventually destroy it.
A little bit of time, effort, and creativity is what you need to replace the shock and strut mount in your own car. This article shows you how to do it.
Difficulty level: Difficult
Prepare these tools:
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Tire iron
- Adjustable wrench
- Spring compressor
- Torque wrench
- Ratchet set
- Replacement shock and strut mount
Step 1: Lift the front of your car using a floor jack and secure the frame with jack stands. Work on one wheel at a time. Loosen the nut of the wheel with the use of a tire iron. Remove the wheel and set it aside.
Step 2: Find the mounts. Usually, there is an upper mount and the lower mount. These mounts connect the shock and the axle or lower suspension. These mounts are held in place by bolts through a shock eyelet mount or hex head screws. Remove them by turning your socket and ratchet in a counterclockwise direction. Place the bolts in a safe area where you can easily find them.
Step 3: Place the new shock and strut mount. Make sure that the holes are well aligned before tightening the nut with a torque wrench. It is advisable to use a vice to keep the mount steady while you're torquing the nut
Step 4: You may opt to change the upper or top mount first before the lower. It is easier to access the top mount through the engine compartment, which is on top of the fenders.
Step 5: Put the wheel back in place and tighten the nut. Turn the wheel to check if it is properly installed. There shouldn't be any screeching noise. Repeat these steps to change the shock and strut mount on the other side of the car.
Step 6: Once you're done, lower the car safely to the ground. See to it that the suspension on both sides of the car is equal.
It is advised to check the mounts in the rear wheels because it is possible that they are also suffering from the same corrosion and bad condition. Replace the old shock and strut mount at the back of the car if needed.
Replacement Guide for Shock and Strut Mounts
Cushioning the impacts that momentarily jar the vehicle is a shock and strut mount's main job. Its importance is that it keeps your car level when you drive, in turn keeping you safe from accidents. Old shocks and strut mounts don't have this kind of property anymore, and this is when you replace them. Here are a few tips to help you in replacing your old shock and strut mount. The whole job may take you around 2 to 3 hours to finish.
Required skill level: Intermediate
Needed tools and materials
- Socket set
- Channel-lock pliers
- Wrench set
- Torque Wrench
- Pry bar
- Side cutters
- Jack/Jack stands
- Strut spring compressor
- Strut mounting kits (plate, bumper, and dust tool)
- Replacement struts and shocks
- Repair manual
Setting up shop
Use the jack and jack stands to secure your vehicle. Remove the wheels by loosening the lug nuts and pulling them off. Remove the wheel to get access to the strut and inspect the sway bar end-link in the strut. This could also be a good time to replace the end-link if it's damaged or worn.
Take everything off the assembly
Take off the two bolts holding the strut to the steering knuckle of the vehicle with the help of the ratchet and socket. Ignore the nut in the center; removing it will decompress the strut and could injure you. Pry the strut away using the pry bar, and pull it off the vehicle. Remove the strut by pulling it off by hand first, then pull the spring off the strut. Take a look at all the parts before you do anything to decide which needs to replaced and what parts you can keep.
Installation of the new strut parts
Transfer everything that you will reuse to the new strut. Afterward, torque the strut shaft into the new strut and carefully remove the spring compressor. Place it back to the vehicle and line up the mounting holes with the studs and press. Use nuts to align everything; tighten only a few threads. After checking everything out further, tighten the upper nuts according to the manufacturer's specs. Replace the wheels, and tighten the lug nuts. Lower the vehicle from the stands using the jack, and finally tighten the wheels according to specs.
Setting up and locating the shock
Jack up the vehicle first and secure it on the stands before anything else. Locate the shock, which should look like a cylinder with two halves, one half going into the other. You can find it somewhere near the wheels and it is around 12 to 14 inches long.
Removal and replacement
Remove the upper shock and lower shock bolt using a ratchet and socket. Take the shock out using a pry bar, and put the new shock in place while pushing the shock bolt through the upper hole. Cut the strap keeping the shock compressed and guide it to the lower hole, allowing it to slowly decompress.
Finish by pushing the lower bolt through the lower hole in the shock. Afterward, torque both the lower and the upper bolt according to the manufacturer's specs. You can also lower the vehicle and test-drive it to check for noises or a rough ride.
Tips and warnings
- Compressors can easily break and cause injury. Remember this when dealing with a spring that is compressed.