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Leaking struts - Toyota Camry

My wife has a 2010 Toyota Camry with about 53k miles. Two different mechanics have told us that 2 struts ( one front, one rear ) are leaking and all 4 struts should be replaced at the same time. I don’t know why the struts should be leaking. One strut leaking you can say is just a defective part, two struts leaking sounds like bad design / equipment manufacturer… Heard Toyota has had some problems with struts over the last few years but we have owned two other Toyotas since 1990 without any strut problems. Any thoughts?

I had a service advisor once “swear” to me that replacing one front strut, and not the other, was perfectly fine. Truth be told, I never had any issues afterwards.

But in your case, with one bad on the front and back… I’d replace all 4 just to be safe.

Good luck.

I agree. Thank you for your response.

I think the struts are old and need to be replaced. It isn’t just mileage, but age and the conditions of use that damage struts. I am not suggesting that your wife abuses the suspension. It could just be that road conditions where she drives lead to damaged struts. Speed humps are new to my area in the last 8 years, and maybe in your area too. I slow to 15 to 20 mph for the less aggressive speed humps, and to about 5 for the most intrusive ones.

Struts wear out. The more aggressive you drive or ride over bumpy terrain the more likely the struts will wear out faster.

You ALWAYS want to replace struts in pairs. Since you have one in each axle leaking then you need to replace all 4.

We replace the struts on my wifes 2007 Lexus ES350 last year. KYB is the OEM supplier. We replaced the struts with KYB and upgraded version of the stock OEM shock. Koni or Bilstein also make excellent replacement struts for the camry.

I’m always a little skeptical about the ‘strut leaking’ diagnosis. Minor weeping is not worth repairing. Is there any difference side to side when you push down on the front or rear fender and watch how much the car bounces before stopping?

I tend to agree with texases. You might get yet another opinion and this time ask to be present when the car is brought into the shop and put on the rack for inspection. Have them point this “leakage” out to you and verify, verify, verify.

If your struts on a seven-year-old car are leaking, I wouldn’t call that a “defect” or a bad design. Well, not necessarily.

Yes, your Camry only has 53,000 miles on it, when you only average ~7,500 miles/year, seals can dry up and rot. That’s why maintenance intervals are based on time or mileage, whichever comes first.

If I were in your shoes, I might feel the same way. Car consumers like us tend to have high expectations, but sometimes those expectations aren’t realistic.

I recommend you choose a brand of strut that comes with a lifetime warranty of some kind. That way, if they need replacing again seven years form now, you won’t have to pay full price for the installation. The Monroe struts I put on my car come with a lifetime warranty on parts.

where do you stop on the strut replace job? springs? strut mounts? sway bar links? you could ask 3 mechanics in NY, CALI, florida about what parts are rusted/wasted due to road spray or lack of road spray and what parts break as you remove them. does a shop recommend changing only the strut on a 53k miles, 7yrs old car? or more parts?

2 different mechanics? Please explain who these mechanics are. Are they Toyota dealer mechanics? Independent repair shop mechanics? Are they “chain store” repair shop, brake shop or tire store mechanics? Please explain.

There is difference between struts weeping/seeping a little fluid and struts leaking. Struts can have dampness from seal seepage and be just fine.

If fluid is dripping from or forming droplets on the bottoms of the struts, that’s not okay. That’s leakage!

A few years ago, Toyota published a Technical Service Bulletin for their technicians to help them differentiate seeps from leaks. It included illustrations of struts with these various conditions.

More importantly than what the struts look like is how the struts are working. Were the struts bounce tested by these mechanics or is the vehicle exhibiting any signs of failing struts?

Did you get a look at the struts?
CSA

From what I’ve seen, a bounce test on struts will only reveal a problem if they’re way past the point of needing replacement. I’ve seen more than a few vehicles that passed the bounce test, but still needed new shock absorbers or struts based on other symptoms, such as tire tread wear patterns or leakage.

my 06 taurus with 140k miles has weak rear springs. not broke. just weak. 1 corner is 1.5" lower than spec. i can feel the front sag a bit when i exit my driveway at curb. should i replace all 4 strut assy’s for peace of mind? not that it is a lot of money for a taurus. i can get 4 ready-struts for 200 or so. but it is a bit of work to swap them out

Here’s a 2011 Lexus (Division of Toyota) bulletin…
http://www.revbase.com/BBBMotor/TSb/DownloadPdf?id=171359
CSA

One mechanic is an independent that has been in the business for 40 years. The other was a mechanic at Pep Boys. There is no dripping of fluid under the struts on the driveway. I did not see the strut while the car was on a lift. The car rides fine, there is no pulling right or left while driving. I have replaced a couple of leaking shocks over the years, but it was a single shock, not 2 or more… Thanks for the input.

That’s never been the case on any of my GM cars, but I can’t speak for Japanese ones.
CSA

Thanks. I will look into.

I agree. I have had shocks weep a litt;e over the years without any change in service or control.

Thanks. I have Monroe products over the years and will look into their struts as replacements.

It is sort of odd the struts would fail at 53k miles, but as posted above, the struts are good for only a fixed amount of ups and down action, and so the ones on your Camry must just be used up. Two shops said the same thing, right? Generally a leaking strut doesn’t mean immediate replacement, but it creates a suspicion there may be a problem. So that observation would be followed by the mechanic pushing down hard on that corner of the car and observing how it responds compared to the other corners. Or of a similar car. If there’s noticeably more bouncing, that confirms the strut needs to be replaced. Presumably that has been done and that’s why both shops recommends replacement. The experts here suggest to always replace struts in pairs, left and right. Since you’ve got a bad one both fore and aft, they are right to recommend all four replaced. Suggest to just consider this routine maintenance and get it done. The ride will likely improve, and the car will handle better, therefore safer to drive. You should schedule a complete 4 wheel alignment too as part of the job. Replacing struts often throws the alignment off.

A strut or shock should show no signs of leakage OR weepage. If there is weepage (meaning stained) this means the strut or shock is leaking and is technically bad.

However, if there is only weepage, no signs of irregular tire wear, and the ride is fine then I’d motor on with them as is.