How did my struts get bent?

When I took my 2003 Mercury Sable in to have is aligned today, the mechanic said my struts were bent and needed to be replaced? How can this happen?

Car background. I purchased car in April 2006 with 33K miles. The tires were new. It drove great and had no outstanding tire noise or shimmy. 15K miles later in October, the tire noise was incredible, so I took it back to the dealer who said I needed and alignment and new tires since I had failed to rotate my low profile tires frequently enough. I didn’t know rotation was a such a big deal with low profile tires! I rotate and balance every 5 k miles, but the noise and vibration came back. Now my mechanic says the struts are bent. I thought you needed to be in accident to damage struts this badly. I haven’t had an accident and commute on highways. Could this be from potholes? Is it possible the struts were bent when I purchased it?

You may not have had an accident, but the original owner may have. I find it suspicious that the car had all new tires at 33,000 miles.

However, the shop should have been able to show you the bent struts…or any other damaged component. I’d go elsewhere for another opinion. But prepare yourself in case they verify that there is damage.

If I were you, I would certainly want to verify the “bent struts” diagnosis with another mechanic. I find it suspicious that the struts are supposedly bent, but that nothing else is damaged. It is very possible that the diagnosis came from someone with a boat payment coming up.

While I don’t find the need for new tires at 33k to be highly unusual, I do think that the “bent struts” diagnosis is unusual, and that this pronouncement needs to be verified by another mechanic.

Low profile tires must be rotated regularly. Check your owner’s manual. When low profile or wide tires are worn to being noisy without rotation, they are not likely to recover from that when finally rotated. Older, narrow tires would correct themselves but wide tires will not in my experience. The noise is harmless except for your ears. The least expensive thing that you can do is to just drive the car and rotate your tires per the owner’s manual until you finally need new tires.

Otherwise, get your tires shaved at a facility that can do that or buy new tires and rotate regularly from then on per the owner’s manual.

PS. Bent struts have never happened to my cars. Your mechanic may be at the limits of his expertise and does not know what else to say. Ask him for the old parts if you get new struts and then give them to your kid nephew for inspection; the one who wants to be a car mechanic.

Something might be bent, but I doubt it’s the struts. Low profile tires? how low? What size?

Have a Wheel, Frame & Axle shop check out your car before you start replacing expensive parts…

McPherson struts do get bent, usually as a result of side swiping a kerb or running into an obstuction of some kind. Pot holes more frequently cause tire blowouts or bent rims. Its possible the problem was already there and had been hidden by some fancy alignment tweaks. Another possibilty is a teenage driver.
Al Ross

Accidents, curb strikes, etc. can bend struts, but usually there are other damaged components also; such as lower control arms, etc.

If a control arm is pushed back this will change the caster and camber angles on the front end. This could lead to someone interpreting this problem as bent struts.

Get some more opinions before doing anything. You might also look underneath the hood at the attachment points for the struts. If a strut is hit hard enough to bend then often the paint around the studs/nuts will crack slightly.