Maintenance cost information?

maintenance
struts

#1

I drive a 2001 Honda Civic. It’s easy on gas, but I am looking at replacing the struts for the second time (~140k miles). Cost last time was around $1,100.



Q1. Is this figure reasonable, and expected?

Q2. Does anyone know a way to get accurate parts replacement costs for various vehicles, for use in determining the total 10 year cost of ownership?



I tend to buy reliable cars, and keep them for a long time. Not too flashy, I view cars as a necessity. Therefore I’m looking to minimize my losses, when it comes to vehicle maintenance.



I appreciate any information that people are willing to post about this subject. Thank you for your consideration.

Mike


#2

Strut repair is one of the things that I have found Sears does well and is generally cheaper than most other places. Get the lifetime warranted struts, so that you only pay labor if they require a second replacement, as indicated in your note. Usually Sears offers a big discount or free labor, depending on the sale. If you have time to wait, check out the sals and see what is best.

JD Powers used to provide long term ownership costs, but I don’t know if the information is free on any website.


#3

Q1: I agree with jayhawkroy that you can get a better deal at practically any shop other than the dealership. I get my tires from Sears and have been well satisfied with their service. My local Firestone is more convenient for other repairs including strut replacement. Check with a few of your local places for their estimates.

Q2: This can be somewhat meaningless. You might keep your car for ten years and still have all original equipment. Your neighbor, with the identical yr/make/model, has had to replace the alternator, fuel pump, starter, cat converter, radiator, and so on. Everything item I mentioned is “normal” to replace in a car’s full lifetime. Some of us luck out, others shell out. Can’t be predicted.


#4

The price sounds fairly high to me. Price this around somewhere else.
Your second question is much more difficult to answer as there are just too many unknowns.

If you live near a large metro area you might check with the local library to see if they have copies of Primedia’s IntelliChoice books in the reference section. These books provide info about resale value, maintenance costs, warranty, etc, etc. It can’t be the final word but might help you a little bit.


#5

Q1:Agreed, although in some cases OEM parts are superior to aftermarket stuff.

Q2:Regular inspection and maintenance can effectively lengthen the life of the parts mentioned…i.e. changing the fuel filter regularly will lengthen pump life, changing coolant regularly will lengthen radiator life…and so on. Keep up on the maintenance and look under the hood every once in awhile:)


#6

For struts on a Honda Civic, I would go to Midas; they carry a large array of suspension parts for popular cars, and have a liftime warranty on the parts theselves. Their price will be very competitive, but get quotes from Sears as well. The dealer will be the most expensive I would guess. $1100 for 4 struts sound not too bad if it includes all bushings, etc.

My wife’s Nissan Sentra at 119,000 miles is still on its original struts. I’m puzzled why you need a second set at 140,000 miles for one of the best cars on the road, unless you live in the country with very bad roads.

Don’t let someone tell you you need new struts, unless yopu find the car does not handle well, bounces too much, or does not steer well.

The quality and durability of factory vs after market suspension parts is about the same in my experience. I’ve always used Monroe shocks on conventional rear drive cars, and would use Midas on front wheel drive cars. There are no offcial durability figures for these things; car magazines find this a boring subject that does not sell magazines, and Consumer Reports usually restricts itself to testing batteries, tires and motor oil.

Good luck shopping, but convince yourself first you really need new struts!


#7

Dont you want to send your trusted,honest independent some of the gravy? Or does he only get the tuff jobs. Really look at sending these jobs to your independent,sort of like a reward for taking on your tuff stuff.He needs to eat too.What I am is talking about is loyalty to the man you trust your car to.


#8

I agree with the Sears thing, but only if you never ever listen to what they are saying that you need, but was not on your list when you came in. Don’t believe them if they show you the oil leaking out of your Gasorater. If you like have it checked out elsewhere, but not sears and not a fast lube place.


#9

Q1: The front struts for a 2001 Honda Civic cost between $95 each (per RockAuto.com catalog) for Monroe (Sears brand struts are Monroe last I heard) and $189 each for KYB adjustable struts. If you live in a rusty area then the strut mounts might also need to be replaced at about $43 each. If the strut bellows (rubber boots) were shot then that would add another $13 each. So the parts bill could easily add up to around $500 if your mechanic used premium parts or also had to do something like brake work while doing the strut job. I don’t know if $500 for labor is reasonable. It might be ok if you live in an expensive area.

Q2: Use the Repair Index found at: http://www.rockauto.com/repairindex to compare the cost of maintenance/repair parts for two cars. The Repair Index compares the most commonly replaced parts based on how many of those parts are sold. After enough miles and years those parts will likely need to be replaced no matter how well built the car was in the first place. The Repair Index will not give you your total ten year cost of ownership, but help you get a feel for how your car’s parts/repair costs compare to similar cars. I don’t think the Honda Civic will look too bad if you compare it to the Corolla, Neon, Protege, etc.


#10

Q1:Agreed, although in some cases OEM parts are superior to aftermarket stuff.

Only on very very few vehicles have I ever seen OEM struts/shocks superior to aftermarket. Aftermarket struts/shocks are almost ALWAYS superior. That’s not saying that EVERY aftermarket strut/shock is superior…just that you can usually find superior aftermarket from some manufacturer that’s better the OEM.


#11

$1,100 seems very high to me also. Had my wifes shocks replaced on her 96 Accord when it reached about 150k miles for less then $500. Used KYB shocks which are far superior to OEM shocks.

I’ve always had very good luck with KYB, Koni, Blistein shocks. I do NOT car at all for shocks from places like Midas or Sears.


#12

Thank you all for your replies. I do appreciate them.

The roads near my house need a lot of repair work, I think that is causing premature failure of the parts.

The advantage is that I am teaching my 16 year old son to drive. I’m hoping the bounciness felt in the car, at excessive speeds, will make him uncomfortable enough to keep his speed down when he gets his license.


#13

KYB is OEM for Honda although KYB makes struts that are an upgrade for Honda’s.


#14

I just looked on-line and Koni strut inserts for your car are $200 each, so you should be able to get this done for a little over half what you paid last time, unless it needs other work besides just the struts.

If you can’t get a better deal, order the struts, buy a book and some jackstands, and roll up your sleeves. Make your son help. I made my daughters help with all repairs on cars that they were going to drive. The better a kid understands how things work and how things break and wear out, the better he is likely to treat the car.