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Front Suspension Leaking-Mazda 6 2003

I was told my left suspension strut is leaking. How long can this go before it is a problem? It has been 6 months and I haven’t fixed it yet. It seems expensive to replace plus get an alignment. Is about $800 reasonable?
Thanks.

Depending on how severe the leak is, it could go on a while (6 mos-1 year) before you notice any degradation in control. If it has been leaking a while before discovery, you may be past that point now. You didn’t say if the mechanic was replacing both fronts struts but that is the recommended fix. Figure an hour or so per side ($200-250), plus parts ($250-350) plus alignment, ($100 or so). $800 is in the ballpark although a bit high. Call around, and get a few estimates to see if you an get a better offer.

They do sell complete struts for lots of cars. Pre-assembled with strut,spring,mount for 125-150 each. Any mechanic can install them in 1/2 hr. check into it.

Thank you to both. Yes, the quote is to replace both front struts. This mechanic is a bit pricey but they do good work and are voted one of the best shops year after year. I am trying to learn “you get what you pay for” and when it comes to my car, just pay the price. Also though, to pay close to a $1,000 is just a big chunk of money.

@MickiD, have you considered doing the job yourself?

This is what you would need to replace the struts. You would be reusing the strut mounts and the coil springs.
I’ve used tools like this in the past, and they’re adequate for occasional use.

http://www.sears.com/craftsman-strut-spring-compressor-tool-with-built-in/p-00947057000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1

Monroe Quick Struts - Strut, Spring, Mount/Bearing, Assembled - Not Available For All Makes And Models.

These are reasonably priced and it’s easy to get a 20% or 30% discount at major auto parts stores, also. It doesn’t take much to install them and then just have an alignment done. Find out if they’re available and a shop to install and align. You should save hundreds.

Replace in pairs, not just one.

CSA

Just want to echo CSA here. Make sure that you replace the struts in pairs.

I too want to support doing the struts in pairs. Your car will not behave properly with a new strut on one side and a 9 year old OEM strut on the other. Besides, if one needs changing the other likely does too…or will very, very soon. They’ve both led the same lifestyle.

Depending on how the car is driven and road conditions the struts may not need replacing any time soon. And “leaking” covers a lot of ground. If the car bounces over bumps, feels loose in turns or easily bottoms out at speed bumps the struts need attention even if they are not leaking. And an oily spot at the plunger seal is not indicative of impending failure but does indicate the need for paying attention to the handling

Rod Knox Makes A Good Point.

Struts can “seep” a little oil and show as dampness in the dirt sround the strut tube. As long as the strut’s not “wet”, only damp, then this may not indicate a replacement is imminent. Wet oil, extending down the strut would be of more immediate concern.

Many shops have sold many struts to many people because they could show owners’ a little oil dampness on struts and tell them they needed to be replaced. Some do this to sell a repair job and some do this because they don’t know any better.

What kind of shop gave you the advice ? You might want a second opinion.

I found you a link to a 5 page Mazda Technical Service Bulletin, published to inform Mazda technicans how to identify leaking struts that need replacement from seepy struts that don’t. It covers struts and shock absorbers, both.

“Some customers may complain of signs of oil on the struts or shock absorbers. In most cases the oil that is present is normal, and a result of the oil that remains on the shaft during the normal sweeping process of the shaft seal.”

CSA

Excellent link, CSA. And an excellent explanation. My dry, terse posts often miss the mark with posters who drop in with a question/problem… Hopefully MickiD will avoid unnecessary repairs or feel that the money was well spent if the struts are replaced.

Again, thank you to all. I am going to get a 2nd opinion, especially after reading the link CSA posted. The question will be “do I have seepage or leakage?” And if I need to get them replaced, so be it. I like the idea of doing it myself, but haven’t been under a hood to do any real car work since I was about 24, and that was YEARS ago. Per the Monroe Shock Abs link, these things are not expensive. I can’t believe they quoted me a bit over $800. urrgghh Anyhow, I doubt I even have the tools. Thank you again to all.