How long do shocks/struts last?

95 Toyota Corolla, 270K miles, mostly highway driven, warm climate. Original shocks / struts. Will I eventually need to replace them (ie soon)? (Or should I have already)?

I ask because major maintenance is coming up soon (timing belt) and if I’ll need to replace the shocks/struts, maybe I should just get a new car. I’m thinking it’s probably $1000 to replace all 4 of them.

Most all cars could use new ones by 270k, but if your handling is ok, and you don’t keep bouncing after going over a bump, no need to do it, especially since this car probably won’t be around in a few years.

I agree with @texases . I have a '93 MR2 on original suspension. I keep waiting for it to die, but it never does so I just keep driving. If you need to replace your shocks, you’ll know.

I have the o.e. shocks on my…1979 !

If you start to feel “floating”, sense that the wheels keep bouncing after going over bumps, and/or begin to see choppy wear on your tires, it’s time.

Timing belts and struts/shocks are normal wear items. If the car is otherwise in good shape, it would make more sense to get the work done and keep it. Unless, of course, you want a new car anyway.

How long they last depends upon road conditions, environmental conditions, etc. Some people drive around forever with faulty shocks or struts and never know it because they became acclimated to it over time.
It’s like being kicked in the shin several times a day. It may hurt at first but given enough time and enough kicks one may reach the point of not even noticing; or even come to enjoy it…

Given the age of the car, the high miles, and if the car is not bouncing down the road like a ping-pong ball my suggestion would be to just skip it and leave them be.
Spend a grand on shocks/struts and Murphy’s Law says the transmission or engine will scatter next week… :frowning:

When they fail, they usually leak and lose fluid…This leakage is easy enough to detect…I’m SURE the car would benefit from new suspension, the springs are suspect too, but putting a lot of money into a 20 year old car with 270K miles on it makes little sense…It probably needs lots of things like paint and a new interior too…If there is ANY rust in the unibody structure, then major repairs to the suspension should not be considered…I would just drive it as long as it’s safe to do so…

Someone experienced with diagnosing suspension problems can simply push down hard one at a time on all four corners and watch how much the car bounces. If you can find the right person, you’d get a pretty good assessment of the condition of the shocks in about 5 minutes time.

Generally, if a shock or strut isn’t leaking, it isn’t in need of replacement. I have to disagree with my esteemed poster, GeorgeSanJose, the bounce test doesn’t really work very well on cars like yours. Your Corolla has 4 struts that have enough internal friction to damp that manual bounce test right out.

The feel while driving is a better indicator. If the car doesn’t bounce around a lot on winding, hilly roads or if the car doesn’t feel like it wants to skip off of a wash-board like road, then the struts are OK.

I’ve seen more than a few cars with about 100K miles whose seemingly fine struts were replaced. The owners were thrilled which how much better the cars rode afterwards.

Generally, if a shock or strut isn't leaking, it isn't in need of replacement.

Unfortunately that’s not true.

I’ve had Monroe replacement shocks on a couple trucks…and the shocks never leaked…but after a couple years the ride was horrible. Replaced shocks and all was well.

Well Mike, your first problem was that they were Monroes… :wink:

I NEVER screw around with brake, tire or suspension issues . . . replace or repair BEFORE you experience a problem. Suspension parts could “let go”, brakes could fail, tires could blow, and since everybody nowadays seems to drive a whole lot faster and have more going on (texting, cell phones) today, there’s not much room for error when stuff happens. 270k on a 20 year old car is a lot, IMO. Fix it today. Rocketman

AM Well Mike, your first problem was that they were Monroes..... ;-)
Can't agree more. Never had a problem with their car shocks...just their shocks for trucks.

Shocks and struts do not have to leak to be faulty. They routinely fail to one degree or the other while remaining bone dry.

I agree with Joe and Mike. Struts are not dangerous until they start to leak, so they are adequate for those of us who use the vehicle to cruise to work or the grocery store, I have run lots of them over 200k miles because they were not a priority.

BUT, long before you get to the point of leaking, handling has degraded significantly. You don’t notice it because the degradation is so gradual. Replace those old struts and then drive through that curve with rough pavement on your way to work, and I’ll bet you kick yourself for not replacing those struts a long time ago. It’s great when your car hugs the road and goes exactly where it is pointed rather than bouncing and bucking through a bumpy curve.

Our 1994 Nissan was sold in 2012 with the original shocks and struts. The ride was fine and quiet. The car was mostly driven on smooth pavement. So they last a very long time if treated right.

The Corolla suspension is more forgiving I think, but when my truck needs shocks, there’s no doubt at all about it. When they stop working, even at 20 mph in a neighborhood setting, it feels like you are riding a bucking horse. New shocks makes the same drive seem like floating on a cloud in comparison.

Yep, there is no single set answer here…
as we’ve dicussed, even the brand and type may matter.

My 80 Bronco needed shocks ( 1990 ) so I bought the ones that Ford said were for it now…and now that time had passed, those were to be a gas shock, not the oil filled ones it came with.
Talk about a bucking horse. It was near undrivable on the same corners I negotiated fine a year ago.
why ?
Gas shocks have their resistance on the compression stroke and the extension stroke is easy if not actually forced out by the gas pressure.
Oil shocks compress easy and the extension stroke is where the resistance is.

on this truck it made EVERY difference to its drivability.
I had to take off the gas shocks and order oil…and it , in fact, made the difference it needed.

This is why I like Gabriels.

Thank you all for replies. How much do you think shocks, struts (and springs?) Would cost?? The trans and engine seem great. Does burn a quart of oil in 750 miles though.