Front Strut Fell Out of Mounting Hub

Is my car relavtively safe to drive?

I just took my car (1984 Toy Corolla DX) to the mechanic and the right front strut fell from its mount. The mechanic lowered the vehicle and reinserted the strut. I drove it home, ever-so-cautiously. Is the car safe to drive for emergency trips (pay bills, buy groceries) until I can get it fixed next month?

Maybe. Do You Have Adequate Life Insurance ? I Wouldn’t Drive My Car Like That. I’d Sooner Walk. You’d Better Look Over The Rest Of The Car, Too, Very Carefully.


I’m kind of at a loss for what to say about that. Sort of astounded. If the strut is no longer firmly attached to the body of the car then - no you shouldn’t drive it. And I’m sort of wondering what your mechanic had to say about this as s/he sent you on your way.

CSA - I’ve been walking, but it’s over 105 degrees here and I’d like to not have to walk anymore. Also, we have looked over the car carefully. The only other issue is the cv boots. All else was pretty well taken care of by previous owner. (Just bought the car a month ago.)

Ciggy - It was rather astounding when I saw the tire fall. What’s more astounding is that the struts are held in place by rubber and bearing less than an inch thick. I have a whole new view of automobiles. The mechanic said I could drive it, but very carefully over curbs and driveways. No freeway or highway driving, and, bumps or potholes could dislodge it again.

Thanks for your responses and interest, CSA and Ciggy. I think I’ll keep walking until we can fix it next month. And for safety sake (because the mounts are rubber and brittle after being on the car 30 years), we’ll replace the other one in November. Then it’s off to the cv boots and axle replacements. Thank god I only paid $800.00 for the car.

Well, its not only held in by a bit of rubber & bearing. The bearing plate itself is held to the car by bolts and the top of the strut is basically a big threaded rod that goes through the bearing plate and is held in place by a big nut.

I have to assume that your bearing plate came apart which doesn’t change the story at all. Either that or- and this is worse - your strut tower is rotted out. I don’t think that the mechanic ever should have let it leave the shop.

If the nut just came off and the rubber bushing is OK, and the mechanic put it back together, then I guess you are OK.

CigRoller - It doesn’t appear that the tower is rotted. What makes most sense is that somehow the bearing plate came apart. But, the only thing that came off was the strut and the dust cap. I didn’t even see if there was a nut on the strut rod. I’ll go check that as soon as it cools down outside. You’ve got me wondering if all I need is a nut and maybe a mounting plate.

Here’s a link with some diagrams that might help:

It is Toyota, but the specifics don’t matter. The basic components of a strut are all about the same.

If you study it for a while you’ll see that the top of the actual strut is a threaded rod. The seat/bearing/plate mount are all bound together and bound to the strut by that top nut. If you look at the thing called “suspension support” that is where it pokes up through the body of the car. In the center of that is the nut that threads onto the top of the actual strut. So if you pop the hood you should see 3-4 nuts holding the strut to the body of the car. Then there’s a nut in the middle holding the strut to the rest of the assembly. (The nut might have some kind of cap on it).

Please do note at this point that I am not an actual professional mechanic (though I do know that you can’t drive around with a strut that isn’t actually attached to the car - its called part of the “suspension” because its part of what holds up the car and also keeps your wheels on the pavement). There are plenty of plenty actual mechanics here who might have a better idea of what is going on than I.

If you have a digital camera, snap a shot or two of the top of the strut tower and post them.

What did you mechanic say he did? Did he fix it? There must have been part(s) missing, did he replace them? If he let you drive out without fixing it, find a new mechanic!

I had this happen to me with an 86 Toyota Tercel 4wd. The threaded rod goes through the inner race of the bearing in the strut mount. The outer race is bonded to rubber. The rubber can crack horizontally, actually kind of cone shaped.

The strut did not fall out until I disconnected the strut from the steering knuckle. I expected the strut to hang from the upper strut mount, instead it just fell down onto the ground.

If in your case, the strut did not come out until it was disconnected from the steering knuckle and the mechanic put everything back, it might be safe to drive around town. The rubber block had to have been broken before the mechanic worked on it just as mine was broken before I worked on mine. As long as we didn’t know, we didn’t have a problem driving the car.

While that makes logical sense to me, I got a new strut mounts and struts and did not drive the car until I replaced them. So if you don’t want to drive it either, I don’t blame you.

About 1/2 way down the page are pictures of my broken strut mount

Thanks everyone for all the great info and the links. After looking over everything, I’ve decided I’m going leave the car parked until it’s time to go to the mechanic. Walking is better than wrecking. Thanks again for all your help. (smile)