I have a '01 VW Jetta with 119K miles with original struts. One of them got damaged and needs to be replaced. If I just replace one, will that make my car unsafe or unstable?
Yes, you must replace them in pairs. If it had, say, 10k miles, maybe not, but at 119k miles they will be significantly worn. How was it damaged? You need to make sure no damage to other parts occurred.
p.s. - at 119k miles I would replace all 4 if I planned to keep the car. 2 is the minimum.
Struts must be replaced in pairs. If a front strut is damaged you replace both front struts. Same for the rear.
Agree that at 119K miles the rear ones should at least be inspected, and replaced if worn. Volkswagens are primarily bought for their good handling, and that needs 4 well functioning struts/shocks.
I think that even those of us who suspect that claims that struts must always be replaced in pairs are motivated more by concerns about profit than concerns about safety would replace both struts if it were our own car. A brand new strut is going to behave differently than a strut that’s seen 120 thousand miles of potholes and in any case ten years is usually the better part of a lifetime for a MacPherson strut.
I don’t know how Jetta struts are constructed and are attached to the car, but if it is similar to the Mazdas, Toyota, Neon that I’ve owned, you might want to consider replacing the strut mounts while the struts are out. The strut mounts don’t necessarily last forever, and replacing them requires exactly the same labor as replacing the strut.
Would you replace just one run-down heel on a pair of your shoes? Imagine how unbalanced your walking would be if you did this.
Now, imagine that you replaced just one strut on your car, and imagine the dynamic forces that a car is subjected to when cornering and when braking. The instability that would be caused by replacing just one strut would be a major safety factor. And, as was said, it is probably a good idea to replace all 4 struts.
Axle pairs for sure…and vdc is correct,there are many parts in the shish kebab of a disassembled strut that will need a careful inspection/replacement at 119K.
Can you even buy one strut??
My son was working in backwoods country when the spring broke around the strut on his 1989 Mercury Sable. The broken spring actually cut into the tire. The Ford dealer didn’t have new springs available and it would take a couple of days to get them. The dealer removed a strut assembly from a wreck and replaced the broken spring and strut. I thought that my son should have had the struts replaced, but apparently the wear on the replacement strut assembly was about the same as what he had on his car. The car drove just fine. I didn’t like the idea, and would always replace the struts in pairs.
On the other hand, I once dealt with a shop that supposedly replaced the front shocks on the Ford Maverick that I owned with heavy duty Monroe shock absorbers. One shock was noisy, so I went back for a replacement. The shop sent out for a heavy duty shock and then claimed that they didn’t have time to get into the job that day. I took the shock home and did the work myself–took all of 10 minutes. At any rate, the shocks they had put on were the bottom line that Monroe made–they were even a different color than the heavy duty shock. The car didn’t drive right with two different types of shock absorbers. I gave up and bought the second matching heavy duty shock and changed the other one. The car then drove correctly. I recommend replacing both struts.
Similar to Triedag, I’ve had a coil spring break on our 2002 Ford Taurus (and it too punctured the tire). I fixed it with a Monroe Quick Strut, complete with new coil spring.
I drove it that way for several months until I had the time to replace the other strut. I don’t advocate a new and old strut on the same axle, but I have to admit, the Taurus ran fine that way.
I have an 06 Nissan Altima with 47000 miles and apparently I just blew the right front strut. It is going to cost me over $500 to replace both the right and left front struts. Crazy to me that it isn’t covered under my extended warranty!