Ride Quality Deterioration on a 2010 Camry LE -- Replace Struts?


I’m the second owner of a CPO 2010 camry LE 4-cyl. I’ve had it for slightly more than two years. It had 30K miles on the odometer when I first bought it and now has just under 60K miles.

When I first bought the Camry, it had a smooth and absorbent ride, which is something that the Camry is known for and the primary reason why I bought the car to begin with. Over the past several months, however, I felt that the ride isn’t as smooth as it once was. Suspension travel and bump absorption on rougher roads is lacking. Driving over expansion joints, frost heaves, manhole covers, etc. transmits more shock than it should. At times it feels as if the tires aren’t absorbing the shock at all; they seem as if they’re filled with cement. What should be a muted thud comes across as a crash or bang instead. My Camry isn’t floating or bouncing up and down when I drive on rougher roads, however.

I live in the greater Milwaukee area and my daily commute is around 20 miles each way. It consists of a mix of newer suburban roads, broken and fractured freeways, and lunar-like city streets. Last weekend I drove my mother’s 2010 Elantra GLS (with 67K miles and Cooper CS4 Touring tires) on similar roads and I only heard the minor pavement imperfections, but I didn’t really feel them - whereas on my Camry I both hear and feel them. Structurally the Elantra felt more solid and composed tham my Camry.

I had a set of V-rated Michelin Primacy MXV4s on the Camry until a few months ago, when I replaced them with a set of Continental Pure Contacts with Eco Plus Technology. The new tires helped slightly at first, but not for long.

I recently came across postings in various online forums regarding leaking struts on the 2007-2011 Camry, at anywhere between 30-60K miles. However, it seemed that owners were unaware of any problems or symptoms until dealers had informed them during regular maintenance appointments. I came across few owners mentioning any issues regarding ride quality or handling up until the discovery of the leaking struts.

I plan to have my Camry looked at in the coming days, but I am wondering if any other owners have noted a deterioration in the ride quality of their 2007-2011 Camrys and if strut replacement made a significant improvement. I’ve read that replacing the OEM struts at a Toyota dealer can cost $1400-1700, so I’d like to hear about alternative strut brands as well.

My intention was to hold on to this Camry for the long haul, but if I cannot improve the ride quality to what it once was, I might consider getting rid of the car altogether.

Thanks in advance for any insight you all might have.

PS - Tire pressure is at the factory recommended spec, 34 psi.

It is difficult to tell what would happen if you changed the struts. Camry strut are known to seep a bit but not leak at that mileage. Most shops would use that seepage as a reason to convince you to change the struts. Mine have been doing this since 60K miles and at 133K miles they are still okay-I am sure if I get new ones, my handling would be better, but at this point it is not worth changing.

If you want ti change the struts, I would not use the dealer. The OEM struts on Camry is from KYB. I think KYB uses different tuning on different Camry/Lexus models, so the SE is tighter and so on. When you buy KYB as an aftermarket, they come in one setting, so expect a bit harsher ride in the beginning.

i personally feel you have more of a tire issue, but as I said it is difficult to tell from here.

It’s impossible to tell from here.
What I can state definitively is that tires make a huge difference. And I can tell you that I’ve had terrible ride experiences from Continentals. I wouldn’t put Continentals on a soapbox car.

I have to agree with @the same mountainbike, Continentals generally don’t ride so well in my experience. Sachs used to be the supplier for the struts for the Camry, not sure if KYB is the supplier for your year but in any event, 60,000 is too early for failing struts, in most cases. One may have gone bad internally causing the bad ride or a couple may be leaking. Minor leaks will take quite a while before a degradation in ride is felt. It isn’t linear.

If your mechanic sees leakage from one of the front struts or feels one side or the other is broken, replace just the fronts first. They have the biggest effect on the drivers perception of ride.

It sure sounds like from your description that the ride complaints and the tire replacement seemed to happen at the same time. Is it possible that you only noticed the degraded ride after replacing tires rather than before? Tires have a huge affect on the ride. You may be able to look up the ride quality ratings of the tires you bought on TireRack;s website. You can get the tire model off the sidewall and check at their website to see what ratings they give the tire for ride, quietness, handling and more. If the ride ratings are less than about 7.5, that may be your culprit right there.

I’d hate to suggest replacing the front struts on this car just for you to find out nothing has changed.

Congratulations (?) on being among the upper 20-25% of people who can actually feel ride quality. Sometimes its a gift, sometimes a curse!

I’m in agreement here as well. My wife complained about the ride of her Nissan Sentra until she had new tires installed. It rides great now and surprisingly so because they are Douglas tires. It’s not a brand that I would have picked but they were recommended by a friend who has them on her car. I looked them up and they are made by Kelly-Springfield so I guess they are good tires.

Hmmm…Is it possible that this car was put on a chassis lift (with the wheels hanging in mid-air) just before the ride deteriorated so badly?

I have seen a few instances of aged shocks/struts getting overextended and producing a rock-hard ride thereafter. After 5 years, it is possible that these struts were done in by a chassis lift.

I have seen a few instances of aged shocks/struts getting overextended and producing a rock-hard ride thereafter. After 5 years, it is possible that these struts were done in by a chassis lift.

Ooh, that’s a new one! I can only surmise the internal rebound bumpers were ready to disintegrate and putting the car onto a lift smushed (highly technical term) them into little urethane bits that then clogged all the little orifices inside the struts. I can see how that could happen.

If a 5 year old car can’t handle being put on a lift, then it wasn’t designed very well, was it?

I posted on this board some time ago about the dealer claiming that I needed new front struts due to what appeared to be a leaking strut. After some sage advice on this board and consulting with my brother who used to own several muffler franchised shops, I elected to not change the struts. I have since changed the tires (Michelin for Michelin) and the ride was and still feels like it did when I bought my Camry LE 2010. Granted going over speed bumps shakes everything and I occasionally not the outside of the turn front drop suddenly on sharp turns at very low speeds. But that characteristic has been with the car since off of the showroom. I have had no rocking or bouncing. I think the tires make all the difference. Subsequent visits to the dealer have not produced any mention of struts. I think it is seepage that they saw when I got the original recommendation to change the struts.

I have to agree with everyone who feels that the tires are at fault.

Thought I do understand, the rough streets in Milwaukee…I’m 30 miles west…and they are the worse streets around. Poorly maintained and our weather doesn’t help.

I understand your problem is still ongoing, but in early spring it seems all the roads are rougher.
I think the winter moisture heaves the roadway and causes even normally smooth expansion joints to become an unlevel surface…one side raises and the other stays the same. But it seems that once spring arrives and everything is thawed out, many of these unlevel surfaces flatten back out from the repaeted traffic over them. Not all, but some. Many don’t flatten back out and just break apart and repairs are needed. I don’t think Milwaukee repairs many until they get really bad.


In winter moisture gets under the pavement where there are opportunities and freezes, lifting the macadam. You may recall that water expands as it freezes… and with amazing force. Yosemite’s descript of how that manifests as potholes is dead-on.

Thanks everyone for your feedback. The Continentals rated #3 in its class on TireRack.com, but apparently it didn’t ride quite as smoothly as the highest rated tires. It seems the roads around here deserve most of the blame.

I was surprised to find that the 2007-2011 Camry LE came equipped with V-rated tires from the factory. I understand that one shouldn’t downgrade to a lower speed rating, but I wonder if H-rated tires might make a difference in the ride quality. Thoughts?

Tire shops may be hesitant to install H-rated tires on that car if it Toyota built it for V-rated tires. If they install an H-rated tire and something goes wrong, they’re liable.

H and V rated tires often share their design for a given model. I wouldn’t expect much improvement.

@JoeMario The funny thing is that my CPO Camry came with a brand new set of H-rated Nexens (installed by the Toyota dealer before the car was put on the lot) when I bought the car. At my request, the dealer removed those tires and gave me full credit toward the purchase of a set of V-rated Michelin Primacy MXV4s.