New struts for better handling?

suspension
struts

#1

Hi, I have a 2003 Honda Accord V6. It has about 105K miles. The suspension seems a little bouncy. I would like better handling. The car leans a lot when going around corners.
I’ve heard that new Honda struts are not as good for handling as some other brands. Also, they are over priced?

I read that I should replace the dampers and springs together to get better handling. Most of the struts I’ve read about lower the car, however, I don’t really want to lower it. I just want better handling for everyday driving.
Am I on the right track? What do you recommend?


#2

Honda struts will restore the handling to ‘like new’ status. If you liked it when new, you’ll like it with Honda struts. But they are more expensive ($150 or so each). Aftermarket stock replacement are about 1/2 that, Monroe and KYB are 2 brands. If better than stock handling is what you want, there are many options. Just know that the ride will be firmer, some would say rough. Tirerack.com and rockauto.com have replacements for about $70-$80 each.


#3

The best handling would come from something like a Tokico HTS-series (which is available for your car, btw). Your car would handle like it was on rails, but the ride would be harsh. That’s fine for a track day car, but you’d want to think carefully about it if you like a comfortable ride.


#4

You can get Gabriel struts at Auto Zone that come with a lifetime warranty and will probably be about $75. each.


#5

Hi, Thanks for your help!
My main goal is better handling for everyday driving.
I bought the car used with 65K miles, so I don’t know what it was like when it was new.
Right now the suspension is a little bouncy and does not corner well.

Normally I only use Honda parts.
However, Is this a situation where I can get the same quality or better (for less money) if I go with an aftermarket brand? Is Monroe the same, better, or lower quality compared to Honda?

If I want to restore the handling to like new (stock), do I need to replace the springs and dampers? or just the dampers?

I read that Honda tunes the Accord suspension to “fit the general public” because they want the car to be comfortable for a wide range of drivers (probably mostly conservative drivers).

If I want the suspension to be better than stock (meaning a little better handling but not too harsh), then do I need to replace the springs and dampers? or just the dampers?

Thanks!


#6

Springs are only needed if they are sagging. No need to replace them to get better handling. It can help, but in direct proportion to a rougher ride. If it were me I’d go with KYB or Tokico shocks.

You haven’t asked about the biggest factor in handling, the tires. When you put on a new set, research your options at tirerack.com. Without going to bigger wheels (which costs a lot, makes the ride harsher, and are more prone to damage) there are stock-sized tires that would likely improve your handling. What make/model tires are on there now?

Note that Hondas are known to ride a bit rougher than most other brands to begin with, so unless you like that kind of ride don’t push it too far.


#7

Almost all shocks come with a life-time warranty. That doesn’t mean they’re good.

For the Accord…try the KYB or Koni…They seemed to work the best.


#8

KYB, the brand mentioned by Texases, is actually the OEM vendor for some manufacturers, Toyota among them (I don’t know about Honda). You’ll save money by getting them over the internet. The caveat being that if you’re having them installed rather than doing th ework yourself you’d be better off to ask the shop if that’ll be okay with them or simply ask them if they’d mind ordering KYBs. Most shops rightfully don’t like customers bring in their own parts.


#9

The tires are Michelin Primacy MXV4 - 205 60R16 92V.
They have about 38K miles on them. I have them rotated about twice a year.


#10

Struts/shocks ;
At that age and mileage check the rears too.
New fronts with bad rears will still adversely affect your handling.


#11

I agree, all 4 shocks/struts should be replaced.

I imagine you still have lots of miles left in those Michelins.


#12

I agree too…although just a few months ago I changed only my rears.

I like recommending all fours when it’s someone else’s money! And that’s even considering that my labor is free!

In truth, I’ll probably get the guys to do the fronts soon too.


#13

If the car is leaning a lot on turns you may want to consider stiffer sway bars, with thrier associated hardware in addition to struts.


#14

True. Here’s a reference.
http://www.bing.com/shopping/search?q=hotchkiss+sway+bars+2003+honda+accord&go=&p1=[CommerceService+scenario%3D"f"+r%3D""]&form=QBRE&aq=hotchkiss+sway+bars+2003+honda+accord&aid=&ct=&qs=n&pq=hotchkiss+sway+bars+2003+honda+accord&sp=&rt=Completions&tk=&spv=&sl=C&sc=&st=&ast=

You shouldn’t need the end links, but you will need the new brackets and bushings. And of you have it doen, consider just changing the rear one. Changing the front one may require supporting the engine and removing the engine cradle, and that could get expensive.


#15

If it were me I’d buy an aftermarket strut. I just replaced the struts on my '88 Escort a couple months ago with the Gabriel’s I mentioned in my previous post. The last set of Gabriel’s lasted about 200K miles. Any of the brands of struts that have been listed above are good struts and will probably perform at least as good or better than the ones that came on the car originally. I don’t know who makes struts for Honda, but it’s just some major strut manufacturer who Honda buys from and places their name on the box.

I wouldn’t replace the springs unless they are broken or sagging. My Escort is 23 years old and has over 517K miles on it, I’m still running the original springs.


#16

I would replace with what you feel best with. I would also look closely as bushings and likely replace. I don’t care what vehicle it is older vehicles with 100k+ and 10 yrs drop off in handling unless owners keep up with replacing the suspension parts. This is especially pronounced with better handling vehicles. Most people don’t notice or care as long as it goes.

Also I would recommend some decent performing tires as the Michelin you have are not really for great handling. Check tire rack for ultra high or high performance models.


#17

I’d just like to chip in my 2¢ (and that may be about all it is worth). In my experience, when speaking of the plush/sporty suspension continuum, Toyota leans toward plush, while Honda leans more toward sporty. A 2003 Accord (when new) ain’t gonna chase a Corvette through a mountain pass, but for an everyday car, it handles pretty darn well. Certainly a big step up from the sloshy Buick LeSabres that many seem to like. I’d go with something close to (erring on the sporty side) what the factory uses in them. If you get much “sportier”, you might have a rough ride which, while fun at times, can wear thin after a while.


#18

Hi, Thanks for your Help!

It’s good to know that I don’t need to replace the springs to get better handling.
I looked up my car on Tirerack.com (that is a cool website!), and I liked the KYB struts I saw.
However, from reading above, it sounds like KYB would be close to a stock strut for Toyota, and if doubleclutch is correct, (On the plush/sporty suspension continuum, Toyota leans toward plush, while Honda leans more toward sporty),

What strut would be closer to a Honda strut (erring on the sporty side)?


#19

No, I would bet that the KYBs for your Honda will match what came on it. The manufacturer adjusts the design for each car model. So a KYB for a Camry would likely deliver a softer ride than a KYB for an Accord.


#20

On tirerack.com, they also have a strut boot and strut mount to go with the KYB. Do you think I should purchase those also?
It seems like I should buy the boot, but I’m not sure if I should use my existing mounts or buy new ones.