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2008 Toyota Camry front suspension

Recently, I heard a very louse noise in my car, pulled over and had it towed to the Toyota dealership. I subsequently was not able to replicate it. They were not able to replicate the noise, but diagnosed my car (Toyota Camry 95k miles) with needing to have fronts struts, strut mountings and front sway bar links replaced for a total of 1900, including 6.5 hours labor and wheel re-alignment. They said that there was leekage from the front struts. I expected that they would have a higher quote being a dealer and having genuine Toyota parts, but it was far greater than my internet research and calls to several shops in the 800 range. I concluded I was being gauged so I drove my car home and then took it to another shop. I was on the lookout for suspension issues now having been alerted to them, but felt like my car still drove smoothly.

I then took my car to an independent mechanic who told me I did not need my struts replaced but only the sway bar links and charged me three hundred something. Subsequent to that, the car has felt very bumpy. He claims that he could not have caused it ,but it seemed logical to me what it is possible that he did something in fixing the suspension that could have caused it. Could you see a situation in which replacing the sway links (through faulty installation, messing with some other part of the suspension, forgetting to put a nut back, etc.) Would $1900 be far out of the range a dealership would charge for the front suspension? Is there a certain mileage after which it is typical that suspension needs to be replaced. On the one hand, I am worried about the honesty of the dealership given that there price seems wildly out of line with what I have read on the internet and the 6.5 hours time estimate not including wheel re-alignment. On the other hand, I do not know whether the mechanic I went to is competent and his marketing strategy could be to show that he is “honest” and won’t do work that is not necessary even it if would be a good idea, but not an immediate risk, to ignore it.


300 is not crazy high. U could disconnect links and drive car and see if it rides the same. We had Grand Prix with broken sway bar end and it rode fine. Sway in corners? Never felt it. 3 have had 4 gp’s so I know how they handle.

The last time I heard a louse in my car it was my brother-in-law.

Sorry, could not help myself

$1900 is not high for a dealership, but it’s much higher than an independent shop would charge.
Figure about $600 to &800 for the struts w/mounts and alignment, and another couple hundred for the sway bar link replacements. Those are independent-shop prices, not dealership prices. Be aware too that labor rates can vary wildly. NYC or LA will costs will be far higher than NH labor rates.

How long struts last depends highly on the type of driving you do. Your mileage suggests lots of city driving, and 100,000 miles in the city can equal 250,000 country miles. If you live in the northeast, where potholes breed daily, it could be even worse.

I urge you not to compare these prices with parts prices that you find on the internet. There’s lots of labor involved.


How long did this noise last, a few seconds or for several miles or several days? You could have just had a stick in the road get temporarily lodged under the car.

You probably need new struts.

If you start seeing hydraulic fluid leaking from the struts, you can pretty much bet the gas charge in the struts leaked out long ago.


I suspect that what happened is that when your car was raised up on a lift or jack to change the sway bar links the aged struts failed due to the far more than normal extension of the strut.
This is not uncommon.

It even happened with one of my cars a few years ago one weekend when I jacked it up to change the engine oil.
When I drove it after changing the oil the left front of the car was bouncing like a ping-pong ball.
Once disassembled the strut was found to have completely failed; all due to jacking the car up.

The dealer price is fair and you simply cannot compare a dealer price with a small independent shop quote. The business models and associated expenses with running them are far, far different.
As an analogy, I always like to compare the cost of having the 14 year old kid from next door mow your lawn weighed against the cost of calling a pro lawn service. The operating expenses of the kid next door are much lower than the pro guys.


Some seepage from struts and shocks is normal

I respectfully have to disagree that seepage is normal. I’m also aware that Subaru for instance even states that some seepage is normal and I disagree with them also.

If oil is present that means it’s being forced out by gas pressure and would be similar to loss of refrigerant oil in an A/C system. If there’s seepage on the bottom of an A/C compressor that means the refrigerant oil is being shoved out by gas pressure with some of the gas being lost also.

If seepage is considered normal then this should mean that every strut or shock on every car made should be showing signs of it.

I’ve had some seepage from my Camry for YEARS

My ride quality is fine

No yo-yo ride

No bumps or clunks


I know that everybody gets used to their own car’s ride, but my car is OLDER and has LESS miles than OP’s car. If the theory that a strut with seepage is COMPLETELY blown is valid, my ride should be intolerable and extremely noisey

No such thing :trollface:

I agree.

But when you see the struts leaking hydraulic fluid, and the stabilizer end links are destroyed, it usually means the end links are trying to substitute for the worn struts.

And you know as well as I, that doesn’t last very long.


Sway bar links wear out and break, even with shocks and struts in perfect condition

I’ve seen it many times :grin:

I agree.

Some hydraulic oil seepage is normal.

But if the seepage is excessive, it indicates the gas charge from the strut is probably lost.

And when that happens, the strut can no longer control the oscillation of the spring.

So the stabilizer end link takes the brunt of the this oscillation and breaks. among other suspension components.

So don’t tell me or @ok4450 that struts can’t cause this problem.


It’s not possible to tell what your suspension system needs via an internet diagnosis. But needing the front struts replaced and sway bars re-bushed wouldn’t be unusual for a 2008. Those are wearing parts and are designed to be replaceable. I get the sense the actual problem is you don’t have access to a shop you trust. Maybe use this as an opportunity to find one. Ask friends, co-workers, relatives, fellow pub-goers who they use, then select from among that list a shop that specializes in Toyotas or at least Asian cars. Be sure to tell the shop which of their customers recommended them to you.


My struts have looked wet for years, yet they “control the oscillation of the spring” just fine. I’ve driven enough vehicles with blown struts and shocks that I know what it feels like

I just thought of something I should have earlier . . . chassis ears is an EXCELLENT tool for determining if a shock and/or strut is the cause of the clunking noise or not. In fact, I’ve used it for that purpose myself, but not lately

If your struts have looked wet for years, and you’re a supposed mechanic, you’re the last person I’d bring my vehicle to.



Please don’t insult me . . . I’d like to think you’re better than that

You heard me right

I hope you’re not implying that if a customer brings a car to a shop to have their car diagnosed and repaired, they should first DEMAND to see the personal cars of the mechanic(s) that will be working on their car

I’m going to treat you better than you treated me, because I’m not going to respond to your comment the way I should

I’ll forgive you, because you may not realize how ugly and insensitive your comment to me was. Just because my own vehicle isn’t in showroom condition doesn’t mean squat

If it makes you feel good . . . why don’t you just go ahead and cast everything I’ve said over the years into doubt. Maybe I’m not even a mechanic. Maybe I’m just some bookworm who reads about cars on the internet and has never turned a wrench in your life. Or maybe I am a mechanic, but I’m so lousy and incompetent, that I have comebacks and unsatisfied customers every day

Yeah, go ahead and believe whatever you want

Notice how you insulted the heck out of me, but I didn’t say one bad thing about you

Pretty interesting

Says a lot about both of us

All I know is, when I install new struts, none of them leak anything!



With all due respect, what the heck are you talking about?

Nobody was talking about installing brand new struts, and then they’re leaking afterwards

I don’t know where you’re coming from