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Do I need to replace struts ? how do I know?

I have a great 850 1997. wife and I NEED this car. had a "nice " Volvo/Saab place for repairs for 7 yrs. we have spent a lot to keep car in good shape over 7 yrs…(recently I’m not sure I trust them—getting rude and they did an oil change as usual, they forgot to chrg for oil itself, called us 6 times insisting more $30. I sent it. then called and questioned me rudely…(after only 1 wk.!!!)
they say our struts are “split all the way down”. car drives fine. need to drive 2000 for move. how do we confirm needing to spend $900 for struts?

You need a second opinion from a different mechanic. Their explanation–“split all the way down”-- sounds very sketchy. If all of your struts had “split” (which is VERY unlikely), the car would be sitting pretty close to the ground at this point, and it would ride like a truck.

Seek a different mechanic (NOT a chain operation like Midas, Monro, Meineke, Sears, or–God forbid–AAMCO) and get his opinion on the condition of your struts.


Agree with @VDCdriver Get another opinion.

The description of “split” makes no sense unless he is talking about the dust boot that protects the struts chrome plated rod. That said, this car is 20 years old and may have significant rust damage to the struts. Struts, unlike simpler shock absorbers, support the weight of the car and rust can significantly compromise safety even if they are not leaking.

not familiar with Volvo self leveling front struts but there are ready mount passive strut assy’s online for $150 each. most any shop can put them on. I know some luxo cars had airmatic struts. like Mercedes?

all you guys rock!!! I’m goin in to new Volvo place here in Portlandia asking for diagnostics on the entire suspension system.
i’ll let u know whats up.
thanx so much!

Let’s clarify some things, please

You and the wife “NEED” the car

“need to drive 2000 for move”

So you definitely need the car at the moment, and you’re moving 2000 miles away?

But what about after the move?

Will you then be looking for a newer car?

If you only need it for a short time, that certainly puts things in perspective, from a financial point of view

yeah. family needs us back in Midwest. we figure we should drive it but get it as secure as possible before. once we’re there, if it dies it dies–but its a workhorse, think we can have it a few more yrs.

Any notable rust . . . ?

nope. nice and clean around and under that we can tell. no salted roads here in oregon. pretty sweet, thats why we like it.

I’m in agreement with the others

Get a second opinion from a second shop, while avoiding those chains which were already mentioned

I suspect your presumably 20 year old struts are probably seeping, if not actually leaking oil by now. That said, the car might just be safe to drive. Just because the rubber bellows aren’t in perfect shape, doesn’t necessarily mean the struts are “shot” and need immediate replacement.