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One front strut boot is bad, do I need to replace strut as well?

I had an inspection from the Toyota Car dealer on my Corolla 2003 model. It has over 99,000 miles on it. The dealer said that only the front right strut boot is bad but he recommends changing the strut(whole mechanism) as well since my car has so many miles on it.

The bill then would be about $1068.

Since the bill is so huge I want to explore the best option money-wise and safety-wise. So my questions are:

1. Do I need to replace the entire strut even though only the boot is bad?

2. What are the risks of waiting on this repair? (I am waiting on getting employed again before I take on this expense)

The strut boot is just a rubber bellows that surrounds the strut rod which protects it from debris. I’ve seen many vehicles where this boot was either ripped or rotted away where it no longer protected the strut rod. So if there’s no problem with the struts, just keep driving the vehicle until the struts require replacement then replace the boots. Which will have to be purchased seperately because they don’t come with the new stuts.


I think that you should not be going to the dealer - even if you do need struts (which you probably don’t) you can get quality service elsewhere for a lot less. Find a local, independent (meaning not a corporate chain) with a good reputation and ask them to inspect your suspension.

The logic of replacing the whole strut is likely that a) these struts have 99K on them, and b) that in order to replace the boot the strut has to come out & be disassembled anyway - one major expense in this job is the labor itself - so why pay for all of that labor just to reinstall a really old part. (Was that price for both struts? B/c you would never replace one at a time.) IF this job really did need to be done I would be thinking seriously about new struts.

BUT…if those 99k miles were relatively easy ones (paved roads in reasonably good shape and a lack of “wannabe indy car driver” behavior) then those struts probably have lots of miles left on them.

It is also the case that the only thing the boot does is protect the strut - if the recommendation is to replace with new ones anyway, then there is no point in doing this work anytime soon. A bad boot means that the strut won’t last as long as it would with a good boot - so if the struts get replaced anyway, why discuss the boot.

Short story - you need someone who can evaluate the problem and give you honest advice that is about your best interests, not someone who is trying to make more money by selling repairs of marginal utility.

Don’t replace ANYTHING!! Just drive on! This is not a big deal. If, at some point, you DO decide to replace the struts, replace BOTH of them at the same time so the car handles properly. Also, stay out of dealerships service departments and find a decent independent mechanic…

Thank you for the advice. I think I read that I can check for struts by moving the part of the car up and down with my hand and if the oscillation persists for some time it may mean my strut is bad. I do remember the dealer saying that the strut is fine. I will check it and probably don’t need to repair anything at this time

is it not possible to put a insert into the old strut housing when it becomes time to replace struts? I know some do not allow the use of a insert.