Rear struts on 2009 Corolla: estimate too high?

I’ve been told by two different chains that the rear struts on my 2009 Corolla are wearing out. While I didn’t believe them at first, it’s been about a year and they now pulling and shaking the whole car every time I brake. I’ve been quoted about $1500 for parts and labor at both places, and I can’t imagine why this estimate is so high? I simply can’t afford that nor can I do the work myself. Any suggestions? Am I right in thinking this quote is really high?

I thought the 2009 Corolla used shocks in the rear (and not struts). The parts catalogs I looked at only show shocks - which tend to be easier to replace.
Those shocks sell for $50-$100 each.

I don’t have the exact labor for replacing them on that vehicle, but if we assume 1 hour each side, and $100/hour labor, a price of $400 would be the very high end of a defendable price. Others can help correct any errors in my logic.

My suggestion would be for you to not get this repair, or any repair, done at a chain store. Instead, find a good local independent garage/mechanic whom you can build a trust with.

Shaking can be due to worn suspension bushings. They love to not sell bushings separate from control arms" you buy the whole new control arm. Nice

Is the brake pedal pulsing? Or is the rear end swaying and bouncing? Can you push down hard on the trunk and the rear of the car bounces more than once.

@JoeMario the car uses rear coil-over shocks. That means a few more minutes of work.

The shaking while braking is likely caused by warped brake rotors, have your brakes inspected.

If your struts are leaking or there is excessive bounce your struts should be replaced.
“Wearing out” is rather vague, chain shops find worn struts and shocks because there is a bonus for upselling these items.

Hard to believe but some cars have lousy parts. Bushings wear out at 30k miles? Who knew?

First, find a decent INDEPENDENT mechanic (click on ‘mechanics files’ above, I’ve used it to find good ones).
Second, have them figure out what is causing your problem. Worn rear shocks would be well down on my list of possibilities.
My later-to-be-wife was the victim of a chains store ‘you need shocks’ scam…

Joe, Toyota uses a shock arrangement with the shock inside the coil. Shock replacement requires removal of he shock & spring assembly, compression of the spring, removal of the upper seat and the spring from the shock, and reassembly of the spring and upper mount back into the shock’s shaft. Just like a strut. Why the different term? only because the travel of the rear wheel is controlled using lower AND upper control arms rather than the shock travel. The shock itself is only a damper.

A 2009 seems way too new to need bushings. The rear shocks are only $100/pr for after-market. We did this job on my son’s 2005 Corolla and it was relatively easy. Borrowed a spring compressor from Autozone ($50 deposit that you get back after they are returned).

I’m just guessing there, but I’d say the parts cost would be about $75 each for new shocks, and an hour per side of labor to replace them. That’s $150 parts, and 2 hours total labor to replace both rear shocks. There may be other parts and time involved, but even if it was double that, $300 for parts and 4 hours of labor, $1500 seems a little steep. Maybe there is some other suspension damage needing attention they noted?

I guess if this were my car, I’d first seek out an independent mechanic, preferably one that specializes in Japanese cars, and get a quote from them. Ask friends, co-workers, etc with Toyotas who they use.

Thanks DB4690 and TSM for the explanation.

We’re going to an independent mechanic a friend recommended this week. I couldn’t imagine that my struts needed to be replaced because my brother drives a 2006 Corolla and has never done this either. He suggested it was my front rotors. I’m going to have my husband take it, and see what kind of answer he gets from them.

UPDATE: it was my front rotors. The independent mechanic fixed them for $170, and that problem is gone. Said he didn’t see anything wrong with my shocks.

But there’s a new problem, apparently: he said my engine mounts need to be replaced. He popped the hood, started the engine and showed me how my engine jumped around a little. I’m not sure if this is a real problem because opinions seem to be split on this issue. What do you all think?



I really don’t have an opinion about the motor mounts, because I can’t see your engine idling.

How bad does it feel?

How badly does it jump around?

I had to replace the motor mounts on my ES300, learned about it when the rocking motion flexed the upper radiator hose, cracking the radiator tank. So if you need mounts I’d get them, before they damage something else. But a 2009 seems pretty new to need them. Mine was 10 years old at the time.

That’s pretty sad tho not surprising, IMO, that chains take advantage of the lack of knowledge of their customers. It’s motivated me to do some repairs on my own and to get more education.

Makes sense that the shaking was your brakes.

If replacing the motor mounts is expensive, I’d fine another independent mechanic for a second opinion. If not too expensive, save the time and get the job done.

Seems awfully soon for this to be a problem. You may also check with the dealership to see if others have had this problem.

If you or someone you know is mechanically inclined, take a look and see if what’s being recommended makes sense.