Confused about strut replacement and broken springs

Acura 2003, CL with 105,000
My mechanic tells me I have a collapsed spring and should replace rear strut assembly
I was under the impression that these were sold as a " cartridge" containing spring and strut–but almost nobody seems to offer this
Must I buy a spring and strut separately if I want a choice of brand and model?
Apparently Monroe makes a " cartridge "like this,but I don’t have a good opinion of the brand–would rather buy KYB or Tokico

Thanks for any advice


Back in the day, a cartridge meant a slide in shock absorber that was used to replace the the old internal parts of the strut, which were removed and discarded. Since the piston was considerably smaller than the original, this was not the best solution but it was much cheaper than buying a new strut assembly…

The strut cartridge is available, as is the strut mount which often requires replacement. Maybe the springs are failing. Maybe that model is prone to spring failures. Maybe the mechanic is more certain that the customer won’t come back dissatisfied if the entire strut is replaced rather than just the cartridge. But buying a “loaded” strut makes the job very quick and virtually eliminates any chance of getting the vehicle up on a lift and seeing it hang there while additional parts are ordered and additional charges approved by the owner.

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Some car manufacturers use well designed and manufactured MacPherson Strut suspensions…Others use components that look like they were made by the Paper-Mate Pen Company for use in their retractable ball-point pens…