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Are struts an essential repair?

I have a 2004 elantra and have recently been told that the struts need to be replaced as well as the brakes. While I see the importance of changing the brakes, are struts something I really need to replace or are they just mostly for driving comfort? I have a very limited budget so your honest answers are appreciated.

Also if anyone lives in Northern NJ and is willing to barter this brake and possibly strut job please contact me, I am a holistic male massage therapist and can also help with website creation and management.

Struts are for comfort but they are also for control and bad ones will wear out your tires. If they are bad then they need to be changed.

As missileman said - the danger is in the handling problems.

The thing about struts is that they are one of those classic things that most ay shop can find a reason to say need replacement if they are fishing for work. They can see a little dampness on the shaft, for example, and say they are “leaking.” Some unscrupulous shops have been known to put the dampness there. Some places will just tell you that struts/shocks should just be changed every XX number of miles regardless of anything else.

What kind of shop wants to replace your struts and why? Get a second opinion.

+1 to missileman’s comments.

Yes, those struts do have to do with ride comfort, but they are also the part of your car that has the most to do with keeping your tires in contact with the road at all times. Worn-out struts will allow the tires to bounce excessively on rough road surfaces and thus to have reduced traction.

The less traction your tires have, the more prone you will be to have an accident. So, while it is not as obvious a safety factor as are the brakes, having struts that are in good condition is also a safety factor.

Thank you, the shop is STS and I think they are right, the car is very bouncy, like a NY taxi and it does seems like they are leaking as well. So I don’t think they are fishing too much.

Bouncy car = you need new struts. It will kill your tires & negatively affect your ability to control the car - as was noted. So you’re going to have to come up with the $$.

On the plus side, once they are replaced you should end up having a “wow - I should have done that earlier” kind of experience.

Thank you for the advice :slight_smile:

It sounds like your struts are bad and need replacing. If you can afford it, then it would be best to do it now. If you simply can’t afford it now, you can defer this repair and put money aside for the repair. But, I’m talking like a month or so. Bad struts will cause tire wear problems than can cost you more money over time. If the struts are so bad as to be a handling issue then delay puts you at higher risk of an accident, which means an insurance deductible costs and possibly worse.

Some shops do scam strut replacement work, or are overly aggressive at upselling struts to pad their profits, but if the car bounces you likely need new ones. Push on each corner of the car and get it bouncing and release your hands if the bounce stops immediately with only one rebound the strut(s) could be ok.

I will give that a try thank you!
What cost am I looking at here for the struts? And the brakes are about $100 per axle or more right?

You’ll want to shop around for a good price at a good mechanic. You can try the “Mechanics File” button at the top of the page to find ones near you. I’ve used it successfully.

Worn out struts puts undue wear on other steering/suspension components.If the struts are worn, these components must take up the work the struts use to do. This can result in worn out/broken stabilzer bar end links, worn out tie rod ends, and worn out ball joints.


You can go to (or any other auto parts store web site) and get prices for front struts and rear shocks for your specific car. Labor for struts isn’t too bad on most cars, but a few are a tougher. About 1 hour should get 2 struts done, and rear shocks are even easier - 2 hours for all 4 wheels is about right. It is best to do an alignment on most cars after front end work, including struts. Not sure about an '04 Elantra, but expect a recommendation for an alignment. 2 hours labor, plus parts, plus alignment should get you in the ballpark. Strut prices vary widely that’s why best to see what they cost online.

Well, you can drive a car with bad struts, but the ride will not be enjoyable nor safe. I have a vehicle with 55k miles on it and I wish it had new struts and shocks.