2005 Nissan Pathfinder may need new struts

brought the suv to the dealer 3 months ago and all was OK. just yesterday with an oil change, they tell me front struts need replacement along with new front breaks. the front brakes were just fine 3 months ago according the mechanic. does this sound right?

I will have to guess that your front struts are leaking oil, you did not state why they “need replacement”, are they having a sale?

Your brake pads may have measured 4 mm 3 months ago but 2 mm now, this is the purpose of periodic inspection, to check for wear and needed repairs. What are your current brake pad measurements?

you did not tell on the mileage, but this beast is 13 years old anyway, so unless struts were replaced sometime over its life, it may be a time

I have 2006 Pathfinder, 150K miles 1 year back when I bought it, and struts barely made it to roll from a dealer lot, failed very fast after - they were rusted through and oil started leaking profoundly, ride became quite bouncy, indicating struts were a toast

you do not need to go to a dealer for struts replacement, moreover it is better not to go to a dealer, but a local independent mechanic. avoid chains like Midas or such, just look for a local shop with a good reviews

on RockAuto I’ve bought a KYB struts for my Pathfinder and they were made in Japan, they work fantastically, it is also the best to replace the rubber pieces around, but not to go ballistic replacing parts which are not worn and do not affect alignment

as for brakes: they wear down, it is normal, once again no reason to pay dealer surplus for such a routine maintenance

Assessing a car’s mechanical condition often requires some judgement calls. It’s not a go-no go situation in other words. And things do wear out more in 3 months, so that’s another reason why you got differencing recommendations then and now. Dealerships hold to a philosophy that tends to error on the side of caution, making recommendations that try to keep their customer’s car in as close to showroom condition as possible. If you took your Pathfinder to a well recommended independent shop and had a discussion with the shop owner about your own car repair philosophy, you might get a different answer.

I agree with your post, with the exception of the aforementioned comment. Keeping the customers’ cars in as close to showroom condition as possible is what most dealerships try to do, but in too many cases that goes well beyond safety and reliability, and dealerships make a great deal of money by “fixing” things that don’t need fixing. A common example is changing bushings with surface fractures that don’t need changing at all. Another would be changing struts, not an inexpensive operation, on cars just based on age alone. This practice is so common that it’s often difficult to tell whether a recommended repair is actually necessary. That’s why I believe a second opinion by an independent shop is always prudent when expensive work is recommended.

Note that this behavior is not exclusive to dealer shops, but IMHO much more prevalent at dealer shops. In my experience a reputable independent shop is much more likely to make an assessment of whether whatever about the part is imperfect actually affects its reliability or the car’s safety, whereas a dealer will almost always emphasize its criticality to fix.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a car over ten years old get released from a dealer shop without at least $3,000 worth of “required work” (not including scheduled maintenance items). Much of what I’ve seen recommended I know for a fact is not necessary. Much of it is based solely on the car’s age and nothing else, not even a look-see. I believe that mechanics at dealer shops are required to look for and recommend any work that they can find, regardless of whether it’s really necessary or not. Those who set policy in dealer shops seem oblivious to the fact that most customers with aging cars can’t afford to get unnecessary work done, and many just don’t want to.

I believe this industry dealer practice is a major contributing factor to getting different feedback from different shops, although there’s no question that time-elapsed between checks is also a definite factor.

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To stay on subject.

If a strut/shock starts leaking oil, you can pretty much bet it has also lost its gas charge.

So they should be replaced.


Agree, but I still recommend a second opinion before deciding if it’s really bad.
I recommend that for all expensive work that’s recommended, especially when a recent earlier check resulting in a clean bill of health.