Your car’s suspension is an important part of its operation.
It plays key roles like connecting your car’s body to the tires, keeping your tires connected to the road, and making your overall ride smooth and comfortable.
A bad suspension can cause a bumpy, swaying ride, and it can be very unsafe.
It’s important to get any suspension issues dealt with immediately, but like any auto repair, it will cost you.
Just how much?
Let’s find out.
Shock or Strut Replacement Cost Estimate
Often when people think of repairing their car’s suspension, they are thinking about the shock or strut.
Both are essentially shock absorbers, with the strut being integrated with the spring coil that holds up the car while a shock is completely separate from the coil.
The shock or strut (most cars have one or the other) tend to be what needs replacing in a faulty suspension system.
With parts and labor, the cost to replace a pair of shocks or struts—it is always best to replace them in pairs—ranges anywhere between $300 to $900 depending on what car you have.
Labor typically costs about $150 to $300, while parts run around $100 to $600.
It’s also important to get an alignment when replacing struts. This service will add another $40-$100 to the overall cost.
How long will it take to repair a bad suspension?
The length of time it takes to fix a bad suspension varies depending on the car and the issue with the suspension.
Most shock or strut replacements take about two hours to replace.
You may be able to get your car back within the same day unless your mechanic is especially busy.
Can You Drive with Worn Out Struts?
Your car will still operate on bad struts or shocks, but it’s not a good idea to drive around on them.
Here’s what can happen when you drive with bad struts or shocks:
- Your car could lose grip and drift around corners.
- It can take longer to come to a full stop.
- The care can be hard to control, especially over bumps and dips.
With no shock absorption from your struts or shocks, your tires will take on a lot of the absorption, which will cause excess wear and unevenness.
Also, consider that the extra shock other components of your car will endure may also cause damage. Driving with bad struts can cause damage to the frame, mounting bolts, and other important parts.
Clearly, driving on a bad suspension is dangerous, and doing so for an extended amount of time could end up costing you much more down the road.
Be sure to address any suspension issues as soon as you can.
Symptoms of Bad Struts or Worn Out Suspension
The shocks or struts are usual suspects of a bad suspension.
Signs that you may be having issues with your struts include:
- A bumpy or wobbly ride.
- Leaking oil from the shocks or struts.
- Unusual tire wear.
- Large front end dip when braking hard.
- Large back end dip when accelerating.
- Clicking or grinding sounds when turning (struts).
- Erratic braking.
If you are experiencing any of these signs, be sure to have your suspension inspected immediately.
How Long Should a Vehicle’s Suspension Last?
Your car’s suspension is made up of several components that do not tend to break down at once.
That said, the shocks or struts tend to be the first part of a suspension that needs replacing.
In general, shocks or struts last between 50,000 to 100,000 miles.
You should check your shocks or struts at least twice a year during routine maintenance.
Your mechanic will usually let you know when you should consider replacing specific parts.
Can You DIY a Shock or Strut Replacement?
If the cost of replacing shocks or struts seems daunting to you, you may try to do the job yourself.
Replacing shock absorbers can be relatively simple as long as you have a safe and secure way to lift the car and enough mechanical know-how.
Struts can be a little more complicated to replace as they involve the spring coil.
You may need specialized tools including a coil compressor to separate the strut from the coil.
Be aware that working with a spring coil can be very dangerous, and slippage from the compressor can cause injury. You’ll likely want to leave this job to the professionals.
When in doubt, it’s usually best to consult a mechanic if you do not have experience with this sort of thing.