Struts and Stuff

Hi guys,

Let’s talk struts for a second. I have an 8-year-old Jetta GLS, and when I brought it in to a dealer for a recall, they did a coutesy check on the car. They found a laundry list of repair items (most of which was preventative maintenance), but one was to replace my front strut tops for $380.

First question, if your strut tops need to be replaced, is it premature to replace the entire strut if the car only has 58K miles? The dealer recommends the tops only, but two local shops’ advice was to replace the struts altogether.

One place estimated $770 plus shop supplies and tax, the other about $880. Is this a reasonable thing to do at 58K miles, or am I throwing money away? Any thoughts?

If only the strut mounts are bad, as suggested, then you replace only the strut mounts. The struts may indeed be good for the rest of the life of your car. Here is one case where the dealership service manager may actually be more honest than the independent shops.

The prices you quote seem out of line for an American car but one never knows what to expect on a German car. One other estimate can’t hurt.

The struts may indeed be good for the rest of the life of your car.

That would be the first set of struts I’ve ever seen that last the life of a vehicle…unless you only keep your vehicle 100k miles. Struts do NOT last that long. They wear out, just like every other mechanical part.

It all sounds a little fishy to me, unless the roads you are driving resemble the surface of the moon. Are you having any symptoms whiile driving, like excessive bouncing, noises when you turn the steering wheel, etc.?

I hate those “courtesy checks.” You probably don’t need strut tops or struts. Get another opinion.

Don’t do any preventative maintenance that isn’t listed in your owner’s manual. The dealers love recommending maintenance items that you don’t need so that they can make boat payments.

…and I have seen a set of struts last for 150,000 miles. It depends on where you drive, how you drive, and what you drive. You might just need strut mounts after all.