I am a proud owner of a 1998 Toyota Camry LE (my first car as a matter of fact!) For the last few months or so, I’ve been hearing a loud rattle coming from the back. Whenever I go over bumps or holes, it rattles. I know that this is a worn strut or strut mount problem and haven’t done the advised repairs due to its cost (it was quoted for $1215 for parts and labor.)
So my question: is this an absolutely necessary repair? From what I’ve read, worn out struts can cause excessive tire wear, swaying and annoyance, but nothing too serious. I’m planning on attending graduate school, so I need this car to perform for the next 5 years at max. Can she run that long without this major repair?
It might just be bad/loose bushings causing this. Bad struts will cause swaying, etc, but not usually rattling. Do you have tools? I think you get at the top mounts under the rear parcel shelf. Try just tighening them. My mechanic ended up replacing the bushings, not the struts, for not much $$, fixed the problem.
How many miles are on it? Does it bounce up and down easily when you push down on the trunk?
“worn out struts can cause excessive tire wear, swaying and annoyance, but nothing too serious”
Do you consider poor roadholding/bad handling to be a serious problem? If not, then nothing serious will happen as a result of worn-out struts.
While the front struts are more important to the car’s handling, worn-out rear struts will also lead to poor tire adhesion, and that could be a problem–especially on slick curves. As texases stated, this could merely be a problem with the bushings, but I would suggest that you have this checked out–especially if you plan on possibly keeping this car for another 5 years.
Take a 5 yr view on the struts and replace them with lifetime warranted struts. Check around on pricing; your quote sounds high. Continued deterioration can also cause more expenses later on.
I think the “rattle” you hear is a thump when bottoming out the strut on the least bit of bump.
It is a necessary repair given your expected life span of the vehicle. It is normal wear item and especially on a vehicle of your age.
Get 2nd opinions on cost.
Beyond handling you get very poor braking with bad struts. A purpose of the struts is not just smooth ride but rebounding wheel to maintain continious contact with the pavement for better stopping power.
You need another estimate; one closer to reality.
Changing just the struts should cost about $750. I would get a second opinion or pay a friend with some mechanical ability to do the job.
A friend with mechanical apptitude and a spring compressor!