First time on Car Talk. I am new to car forums in general, though have a lot of experience with another form of repair. Pinball to be precise. What a great community that one is. Here is to hoping there is similar support on Car Talk.
Problem: I have ignored some stressful Suspension issues through the winter, and it is time to hit the garage. I just want to fuel myself with info before going in there.
- Already replaced one full control Arm and a tie rod. Seems the new tie rod is making noise again. In fact both sides seem to be rattling. I know the source is that my struts are finished. Saw them leaking a long time ago …and now every pothole jars the car like mad.
BIG QUESTION: Do i just replace the struts for now and see how the car behaves … or should I replace other parts of the suspension while I am in there?
Another Question: I feel like the OEM Struts were not the best. Any recommendations on brands I should go for quality struts for a 2010 Santa Fe Limited? Where best to get them?
Silly Question: Do the coils last for ever or should they be replaced with the struts at the same time? They seem to be very expensive. Don’t want to change them for nothing.
Anything else I am leaving out when trying to make the suspension reliable?
A big thanks in advance
You want to replace all worn parts at one time. The labor is cheaper than replacing parts piecemeal.
And if you find a bad part on one side, replace the part on the other side too. As it’s probably as bad.
And no. OEM struts are not the best. Car makers make millions of vehicles. And they demand the lowest prices from their parts suppliers. So in order for the part supplier to make a profit, the only way to do it is to supply a sub-par part.
Just replacing the strut cartridge is cheaper. But when you replace the strut assembly, not only do get a new strut, you get a new spring, and a new upper strut bearing.
Also, it’s cheaper in labor to replace the strut assembly than to disassemble the old strut assembly, install the new strut cartridge, and reassemble the strut assembly.
Here’s a list of some of the best aftermarket strut manufacturers.
Are you doing this work yourself or paying a mechanic? The question is very important because the cost of labor is a big part of your decision.
My experience is only doing the work myself. Since you are taking the strut off the car you have access to lots of other bits and pieces of the suspension that can be renewed in the same operation. You can buy just struts and then use a spring compressor to get the coils off the old strut and on to the new, and probably be ok, but I have no idea of the miles on the vehicle or the condition of the coils. This is more labor but less expense. You can replace the bearings at the top of the strut, you can replace the ball joints, you can replace the sway bar bushings, you can replace the other control arm and tie rod. You can replace or repack the front wheel bearings. You can check and replace the front brake pads and the rotor. Lots of things.
If you do the job piecemeal you might have to do a lot of the work again. Things like bushings and brake pads are pretty cheap, so if you have doubts you can safely buy them in advance and just do it.
I suspect there are lots of videos on Youtube to show the way. Be careful, use good jackstands.
Wow, Thanks. Looks like there is great support on this forum. Thanks for the link. It is a starting point.
I have changed up my own brake pads, but I think I will leave this job to a local mechanic. He is pretty cool with me bringing in my own parts if his supplier only has low grade stuff.
I’m a little over 100K kilometers (60K miles)
I am really not interested in breaking the bank on this one. Just don’t want to make a mistake either. If I put in a whole strut assembly (with new coil) can I ruin it if I have other worn parts in the suspension system. There seem to be a lot of parts. Changing them all could add up quickly … doubling or even tripling the cost of repair.
To put it more concise … what would you put into your 8 year old 60K miles SUV to stop the thing from going “THUD” at every little uneven portion of road?
I think you are making a mistake by not replacing all worn parts at the same time. First, you save money that way. Second, you may be driving around with a time bomb, with something ready to break when you are driving at high speed some day.
But how did you get all these parts to wear out at only 60k miles?
Or are all those parts really needing replacement? Can your mechanic advise you on this? Parts that are a little warn could be good for lots of miles. We can’t advise you over the internet, you need someone to get under the car and push and pull on things.
Me, I’d prefer to keep the original strut springs, and just replace the shock absorber element with the oem replacement. My thinking is why take on add’l risk by replacing a good spring with a possibly faulty new one? But replacing the whole strut ass’y (spring and absorber) with an aftermarket unit seems to work for most people, so I wouldn’t worry much to do it that way either. Monroe quick-struts seems to be a brand that gets good marks here.
As far as what to replace, let you shop recommend that. You shouldn’t have to tell them. It’s possible that after replacing stuff there’s still a problem, and then they’ll replace what’s next in line. It’s just called narrowing the possibilities. Don’t be overly concerned about that method, perfection isn’t possible, esp w/an 8 year old vehicle.
What’s your favorite pin ball machine? Mine is Fireball. Yeah, I used to love playing Fireball!! Woton. People told me I was wasting my money, but I consider all my Fireball time & money very well spent, loved that spinning red disc effect …
It’s the other way around.
An old strut pounds the hell out of the steering/suspension components.
The strut is designed to limit the travel of the suspension and how it reacts
If the strut is no longer is doing its job, then the steering/suspension components will try to replace the function of the strut.
Since these components were never designed to this job, they end up being pounded to hell attempting to do so.
In addition to replacing everything that’s worn out while you’re doing the work, allow me to suggest that when you replace the struts you also replace all the rubbery bits; i.e. the spring mount bushings, the strut bumper stops, the upper strut mounts, the protective bellows (if your struts have them), etc. These rubbery bits get hard with time & compression, and new rubber can make a big difference in ride and road noise. Too many people change he struts but not the rubbery bits.
Thanks again to a great community.
I will take your advice and maybe even bring the car in to have it looked at before ordering parts. That way they can tell me what has taken abuse from driving with virtually no strut life left. This spring has been bad for potholes. I have done my best to avoid them, but I’m sure I’ve done some damage. The tie rods are both rattling … and the new control arm may have a squeeky ball joint already.
I will definitely look into those Monroe Struts. Any recommendations on best quality control arms if they need to be replaced?
Great idea to get those rubber parts. What doesn’t come on a full Strut assembly that I would need to order independently?
To George San Jose: Fireball is an amazing machine. Did you play the original with the moving Zipper Flippers, or the later released classic? One of the best skill shots in all of pinball. One of my favorites is from '89. Called The Black Knight 2000.
And while I’m at it. Tire Question. Bridgestone Ecopia 422 a decent choice for Summer/all seasons? Don’t need them for winter as we use seperate winter tires here. What do you guys think of the very inexpensive chinese options. Are they as good or crap? I can order them online and save hundreds. Some makes available here are (Aptany, Aturo, Fuzion, Sailun, Maxtrek)? Also, how are Momo Tires? Any other budget value tires out there that hold up to the big names? For a quiet-ish ride and that will last.
Many thanks again in advance!
I got delayed from following through with this, but I need to replace Struts and control arms.
I am going Moog for the control Arms.
I am struggling with two options for my struts.
- KYB Struts + KYB Mounts + KYB Bellows + Doorman Bumper (and use my original Coil Spring)
- Monroe Quick Struts (Full Assembly)
Which would you choose between those two options? I have heard mixed reviews about Monroe, but the thought of getting a new coil in there is appealing + less labour).
Or am I better off with the higher rated KYB individual parts (using my existing Coil) and paying more labour.
I just want to get this done right the 1st time.
I’d definitely go with the KYBs. I’ve had excellent results with them.
Monroe’s quick-strut reputation is a bit shaky for my taste.