Replacing Struts

Ihave a 2002 Mazda Protege with 84,000 miles. They say the front struts leak and should be replaced. I’m OK with that. But they said I should also do the rear struts as well, since I’m doing the front.

My previous car, a Honda Civic, they only did the front. Should I replace the rear struts as well? This is a one owner, one drive car. I am on tight budget, but want my car to be safe.

Thank you.

Struts should be replaced in pairs, front or back. If the rear ones are OK, you don’t need to do them; the service writer is using scare tactics to drum up more business, a common practice.

The front struts are more critical than the rear ones, and replacing only those that need to be, will make your car perfectly safe. If you get more flack from that shop, go somewhere else. Almost anyone can fix a Mazda Protege. No need to go to a dealer.

If you had an ultra-sophisticated car with full time traction control, I would see the rationale.

Thank you. Usually the place I go to has been good, but this time I questioned their advise and scheduled an appointment for next so I could check out the situation first. Thanks

Have them show you why they think the rears need replacing. They might be correct, 84k is not unreasonable. It just depends.

Thank you, I will.

But like Doc said, if they can’t clearly show you a problem, don’t let them try to scare you into it. The fronts are the most important ones.

A strut can leak, but it doesn’t mean it requires replacement. A little oil leaking past the rod seal is normal. But when oil is found all around the strut body it’s an indication that the strut should be replaced.


If you put on new front struts and the rears are worn, and they are at least a little at 84K, the ride will be a little different than when the car was new. It might be a difference only a driving aficionado would notice.

I would get the fronts replaced, then see if the ride and handling feel OK. On my 88 Accord with 219K I’ve found over the years the back struts last about twice as long as the fronts.

And I always worry about a ‘mechanic’ giving a squirt of oil to the strut body before calling over the customer for a look. Very old trick.

Thank you, I’ll try the front first and then take it from there.