Strut change

I am about to change the struts on my 2001 Mazda protege. With the 4 struts and the compressor tool, my total comes out ot $307. Is this worth having a mechanic do it? Also, if anyone has any tips or tricks to make this easier…I am all ears.


The only problem you might encounter is removing the strut rod nut and not have the strut rod spin with the nut. But if you have an impact wrench these can usually be spun off. If you don’t have an impact wrench, then you may have to grip the strut rod through the spring with a Vice-Grip pliers to prevent rod from spinning as the nut is removed.

You’ll also run into this problem when reinstalling the nut. Only you can’t use a Vice-Grip to hold the strut rod or you’ll damage the rod on the new strut. That’s where the impact wrench comes in handy.

Also, be careful when servicing struts. If for some reason the strut spring gets loose, that sucker will chase you around the garage until it gets you!


If you can do it yourself it is worth it… both in costs saved and in having something to brag about.

It’s not that difficult a job, just time-consuming because you can only work on one corner at a time. As Tester said, you might have trouble with that top nut. There is a special tool for that, a kind of wrench. Check it out before you remove the assembly and decide if you think you can do it with the tools on hand or if you might need to purchase the tool.

Remember to not stand directly over the spring when removing that top nut. If by chance the compressor tool fails the spring might just knock your head off. I helped a friend who had a well used set and luckily the worn threads gave before spring was fully compressed and still assembled. It could have been a cheap brand or cross threaded at some time but you never know. Also make sure the style of compressor will work on all your struts. I have a set I’ve used a few times but on my wife’s '01 Town and Country were useless due to a short spring design. They worked on my’00 Intrigue front but the rear is similar to the van. Remember to get alignment after replacement.

Call around and see what a shop would charge you to install the struts and align the car. Also ask what the alignment is alone. That way you can see if $307 is a good price or not. Make sure the struts are comparable to the ones you plan to buy if you do the job yourself.

Look into the all in one kits, or what ever they are called. They are a completely assembled strut, spring, bushing and all. They are easy to change and you won’t need the compressor.

The only thing I will ad to the good advice you’ve been given is to reinforce the bit about care being used on those springs. If a spring comes loose it can cause some serious body damage (to you, not the car) or even be fatal.

If it is a big enough car, you may have to have it done somewhere else because the cheap compressor tool may not compress the spring far enough. Mine worked great on the Tempo and Corolla but not on the 85 Cadillac. I was in an auto hobby shop, so they could do it for me. If you have to use a wrench at the top of the strut, you may have to hold a socket with a vise grip. You will see what I mean.

thanks all, for the great advice.

you could get into trouble unless you know what to do . you will have to have an aligment done s just go shop. the main thing is watch what type of strut you have put on . I had sears put on four struts on my buick the car came with a great ride but after replacing the struts it rode hard like a truck. it had no bounce. if you liked the ride go to dealer and ask for factory struts .