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leaking strut?

My mechanic told me today that one of my struts on my 2006 Mazda3 (with 110k miles) is leaking and that the strut needs to be replaced. Is this something that has an impact on safety, or is it something I can stretch for a while longer? Is the strut going to break if it is leaking? Also, wouldn't I have to replace both of them?
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  • A leaking strut is either no longer functioning or will stop functioning soon. It is a safety and handling issue. Struts should be replaced by pairs and at 110K miles the best bet would be to do new struts and/or shocks on all 4 wheels.

    If money is the issue, you can stretch this but don't go for a track day at your local racetrack. Keep you speeds below posted limits and keep an eye on tires for uneven wear. The struts job is to keep the tire on the road, especially in corners, and when stopping on uneven pavement. Your car will not performing up to specs so don't push it too hard until you can afford a fix.
  • I agree with Uncle Turbo.

    I'd just mention, however, that "leaking strut" is one of those commonly heard things when shops are trying to drum up some extra business. If this is your regular mechanic with whom you have history and if it is someone you completely trust then you can probably trust it.

    If not, ask someone else to do a basic check of your suspension/front end to get a second opinion. Don't tell them anything about leaking struts - just tell them you want a basic check up.
  • Thanks for your quick reply. Car is running fine so far, but my mazda dealer mentioned about this leak today. He is usually fine in dealing with this kind of stuff, but always have ways to recommend or convince me to get some extra things done. I'll definitely take a second opinion on this though.

    How much do you think a basic suspension/front end check could cost? I talked to him again after posting this question and he told me that the car could easily go for 4-5K more miles, which makes me wonder if I actually need this replacement? He is quoting me close to $ 400 to change one of the struts, which is towards the higher end according to repairpal.com
  • "mazda dealer"

    Say no more. If the car isn't under warranty or in for recall service you don't have to use a dealer. A Mazda is just a car and any good independent mechanic can deal with it.

    I am especially skeptical of any place that would even imply that you could replace only one strut. That is really poor practice - just plain nuts.

    Lots of shops will do a basic suspension system check as a courtesy. Get a second look from someone else.
  • Thanks again! Yes, I'll take a second opinion on this for sure.
    When I asked him why they don't recommend both changes at one time, then he mentioned about this big expense could be hard on some of his customers. Plus, why would he say that the strut would be ok for 4-5K extra miles - either it is bad or just not?
  • Sometimes struts will show signs of leaking a very small amount, but will be OK for many more thousands of miles without replacement. Struts have a seal where the strut rod runs though and can leak minimal amounts of oil around the seal without being dangerous. My guess would be 75%+ of the cars on the road will show some signs of leakage. If the strut is very oily then it probably does need replacing, but if it's only a slight amount there shouldn't be anything to worry about.
  • FordMan's on the money. Seems like every Chevy Cobalt I work on has a damp strut, usually the right front, why, I don't know, but the bounce factor seems OK.
  • So, is there I should feel in the car while driving if the strut is really bad and needs replacement asap? Or should I just get them replaced keeping in mind that the car has 110K miles and it is wear & tear? What would be a good price to replace both the front struts? Thanks a lot for your replies.
  • It's OK For Struts To Weep A Little. It's Not OK For Them To Leak.

    The dust and dirt near the top of the strut (where the seal is and the rod comes out) can be damp with oil and yet the strut does not require replacement. What you don't want is for the oil to be visibly leaking or actually dripping from the strut. That is a strut that should probably be replaced soon.

    Did you have a look ? Did you compare it with the other strut(s) ?

    CSA
  • Most likely if the struts need to be replaced when you hit a bump or dip in the road the strut will bottom out making a clunking sound or when you hit a bump or dip the car will continue to bounce instead leveling back out very quickly.
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