2008 Nissan Sentra Struts and 60K Maintenance


#1

Hello all,

I have no experience with car maintenance, but I recently took my 2008 nissan sentra (72K miles) in and was told I need to:

  • fix my two front struts that are leaking - $450 + tax
  • 60K Maintenance - $350 + tax

I’ve been told that I can do the 60K maintenance my self and save that money, but someone also told me that I could replace the front struts myself. I think I can find youtube videos easily enough for the 60k maintenance. Can anyone offer any advice on how to: find out what kind of struts I have? find out whats a reasonable replacement strut? Find a youtube video showing me the procedure? (Ive searched for the video, but cant find one for exactly my car, and dont know enough to know it if will apply to me) Also, what kind of tools will I need?

Thanks!


#2

If you have NO EXPERIENCE with car maintenance you should certainly not try to do struts yourself. It takes good tools and can be very dangerous for a novice

I would first get a second opinion on whether you really need struts. Our Sentra was sold at age 19 with the original struts and 135000 miles on it.

Find a good shop an d let them do it. The dealer will be the most expensive by far. No need to go there.

The price quotes is not unreasonable provided you really need struts!


#3

If you replace the entire strut/spring/mount as an assembly, like this;

Each are $110 from Rockauto, there is a left and a right. If you replace the strut only, you will need a spring compressor so you can take the top nut off the strut and not injure yourself.

Three bolts on top, two large bolts on the bottom and the entire assembly comes out. There may be a few other wires, hoses and the stabilizer bar link that need removing as well. You will have to find your own video.

If you’ve never done work on your car like this before and you don’t have tools, I would strongly suggest NOT doing this yourself. A 7 year old car with rusty bits can make this very challenging. If you have a friend who has done this, or something close, maybe give it a try.

You didn’t say what type shop gave you the $450 estimate but call around to an independent shop (not a dealer) to see if you can get a lower estimate.


#4

@diego898
"I have no experience with car maintenance, but I recently took my 2008 nissan sentra (72K miles) in and was told I need to:"
"* fix my two front struts that are leaking - $450 + tax"

Struts are commonly sold to people with little to no car knowledge. Study up on what leaking struts look like and what weeping or seeping struts look like and have look. Seals must seep a little fluid to work properly, a leak is not good. There should be info available on the web. One Japanese car manufacturer even had to publish a Technical Service Bulletin to enlighten mechanics.

What kind of service department told you this?
CSA


#5

Thanks all for the advice. I went to an independant mechanic shop with good reviews on yelp. As far as the spring compressor, I was told I can rent one from pep boys or similar.

Thanks for the advice to have a look for myself. I will take a look.

As far as not doing this myself, would you all agree that replacing the various fluids and filters required in a 60k maintenance is doable for a novice?

I have always wanted to learn about cars, and now that Im being asked to spend near 1,000 dollars would be a great time to learn!


#6

There is a very good risk you could attempt this and the result would be many thousands of dollars in repairs. I’d take it to a good mechanic.


#7

Changing fluids yourself-possibly OK Changing your struts and risk getting injured and having a medical deduction and missing work will be a lot more than $450.00


#8

If struts are replaced by a novice they would be well advised to use Quick Struts, which are complete units.

It’s very easy for a novice who is disassembling struts to end up injured or even dead. Those compressed springs pack a lot of force and if one comes loose it will happen lightning fast and the novice could be out cold or dead by the time the spring quits bouncing.

I saw a spring come loose in the shop once on a very experienced tech. The spring bounced off the ceiling 20 feet up and ricocheted clean across the shop; narrowly missing another tech who had just walked around a car.


#9

I am with everybody else here. I have done most of my own repairs including brakes, but spring compressors, at least the loaner variety from AZ/PB is not what I would want to risk my life with. Quxkstruts might be the way to go, but it is still an involved job.


#10

This the maintenance schedule for a 2010 Sentra.

There’s no difference between the 2008 and 2010 Sentra.

Tester


#11

ok thanks everyone. I will get a second opinion on the struts, and if needed, I will shop around for a good price. Can someone ballpark me a reasonable price on that?


#12

If you are looking for a job to get you started at fixing your own car, the struts wouldn’t be my first choice. That’s a pretty difficult job for a novice to take on. Make sure you understand the jargon first. Stut is a shock absorber, which fits inside a coil spring. When you replace the “stut” you only replace that, and keep the same coil spring. Replace w/a quick strut means you replace both, the QS come pre-assembled. But then you don’t have the OEM coil spring any longer which adds some variables into the suspension system which might prove difficult to diagnose later. That’s why I prefer to replace the strut only. And to do that involves the spring compressor, which like I say isn’t a good place for a novice to start.

Even if you go the QS method, replacing it isn’t a simple job. The strut is a structural part of the car, and when you remove it the suspension system will drop from frame. So you have to support both the car’s body (chassis) and the suspension system when you do this job. And once that is all done, you’ll have to get a wheel alignment done. So figure that into the cost-mix.

On the other hand, if you are of the mind “no time like the present to learn how, full speed ahead”, go for it. It’s entirely possible for a novice to do this job. Just make sure you fully understand the procedure – best to have access to the factory service manual procedure – and have all the required tools to do it safely. And a safe and preferably enclosed place to do it. Yes, you can rent the spring compressors from auto parts stores. Suggest you have on hand two floor jacks, one for the chassis and one for the suspension. In addition to jack stands.

As for the 60 K maintenance, what does that entail? I presume there’s no timing belt to change, right?

My advice, for what it is worth – and towards full disclosure some here claim I’m just a guesser – my advice is to start by learning how to properly change the oil and oil filter. Until you feel confident in doing that job correctly and safely, leave the other stuff to the pros. From that you can extend to other more difficult jobs if you decide you want to continue. Search around using the forum search feature here, as there was a good thread a couple of years ago about tips on making changing the oil and filter easy as pie. Best of luck.


#13

@diego898
There Are Different Reasons To Replace Struts… Wear, Leaks, Damage, And Symptoms Involving Ride, Handling, And Unusual Tire Wear, Etcetera. You Need To Know Why Replacement Is Recommended.

Without any symptoms it is sometimes not something that one has to rush into. It can be part of a long normal wear process. Here is an example of a Toyota bulletin, with drawings, describing normal seepage and abnormal leakage for Toyota struts and 2 types of shock absorbers.

When leakage becomes a problem the strut loses enough of its oil that it can no longer function properly. You don’t want oil running down the strut and dripping.

I realize you’ve got an 08 Nissan, not an 06-07 Toyota, but this should give you a general idea.

Link:


CSA


#14

We have 160,000 miles on our Olds and Honda. Neither needs new struts. They can last a long time if you don’t go over speed humps faster than 15 to 20 mph. The same goes for other road issues, like pot holes. If you drive gently over road humps, then you may not need struts. Get the second opinion and go from there. I would have a professional mechanic do the job given your experience level. You probably will need wheel alignment if the struts are replaced. The $450 may have included alignment cost. Look at the estimate to see if it does.


#15

@jtsanders

“We have 160,000 miles on our Olds and Honda. Neither needs new struts”

“Get the second opinion . . .”

If I were to drive your cars, for example, my 2nd opinion might be that your cars do in fact need new struts. Undoubtedly, they’ve deteriorated over those 160k miles. And you have driven those cars for a long time, and gotten used to them. And I would be driving your cars for the first time. It’s possible I might drive your cars and say “Man, these cars really need struts.”

Same thing about my cars. The ride feels fine to me, and I’ve gotten used to it.

But if you drive them, for the first time, you may very well have a vastly different opinion


#16

First and foremost thank you to everyone who took the time to provide me with considered and thorough answers! I’m very pleased with the quality of this community and how it treats novices!

I will keep this post updated as I get second/third opinions and clarify what is needed in my 60k Maintenance!

Thanks again!!


#17

@diego898
Thanks. Sounds Good.
CSA