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Struts and tires


I am told that for my 2001 Avalon XLS I need 3 new tires and struts and mounts, all of which adds up to mucho dinero!! The car has 125k miles and is being driven by my 20 year old son, a college student. Other than this, the car runs great and has been well maintained.

I really cannot afford this right now, so I am trying to budget this. Here are my questions:

1. Does it make sense to put off doing the struts?

2. Can I just do one set–either the front or rear, and if so, which is better to do?

3. Waiting: if I get the 3-4 tires now, can I wait until the end of the summer when I think I will have the $$ for the struts? Or otherwise, what is the value in doing the struts now?

4. Aligning: when does this get done?

5. Any other suggestions to save money?

6. Am I better off getting this done at my local mechanic’s place or the dealership?

Thanks so much.

First, I’d get this confirmed by another trusted shop. However, 125k is well within reason for new struts. Are the tires worn out? Why only 3 tires? You absolutely do not need or want the dealer to do this, it’s something a good shop can easily do. You will need a 4-wheel alignment after the struts (for sure) and if your current tires have worn unevenly, if you don’t get struts. Good struts improve the ride and handling, and struts wear out slowly, so you may not be aware you need new ones.

That is very helpful, thanks.

But, can I do only the front or rear? Also, if I get 2 or 4 struts done within a month or so after getting the tires, do I need to get the car aligned aftr the tires or can it wait?

Finally, I am getting 4 tires as per recommendation. One is really bad, and two are pretty bad. The third has some life on it, but it was recommended to me to get all four for consistency. Do you not agree?

One more question: what is the best quality of budget tire for all weather? I live in Washington DC. Any recommendations?

Safety first - get the 4 tires replaced. If they have worn evenly, and the car handles well, you can defer the struts for a little while. Also, if the tires have worn evenly, you can hold off on the alignment. Save up your money and do all 4 struts, along with a 4 wheel alignment, at that time.

Do your worn tires look like any of these?

Thank you again. I will look at the tires a little later today. I agree–get the tires, either 3 or 4, and then do the struts. How much should all 4 struts and monunts run, around $1200?

Discount Tire has Yokahama Avid Touring S tires for $71 each (plus a lot of fees, you’ll need to call), I’ve been happy with my Avids.

You’ll need to check around and get a couple of quotes for the struts, I don’t know. But I strongly recommend getting 4 tires instead of 3.

Costco tires are good and attractively priced as well. They include balance, istallation, and lifetime rotation.

I bought 4 Yokohama Avid Touring S tires for my wife’s 2006 Sienna from Tire Rack ( and had my mechanic install them. The total cost (tires, shipping and installation) was ~$400. So far, she is happy with them.

Ed B.

Why three tyres? Did you replace one recently? Are they planing to use the spare and thee like tyres (I would question using a 8 year old spare, even if it was the same brand and model).

Is the car actually handling in a way that concerns you or is this need for struts something like a technical exercise?

Hi Old school,
To be honest, I’m not sure how to determine by the way the car drives if it is in need of struts. It does feel a bit like it “floats” but not badly. Do you think it makes sense just to get the tires and not the struts replacement for a while? Will bad struts have detrimental impact beyond causing the tires to wear out more quickly?

Hi Josheph,
I think I will use your suggestion. Use the 4th tire which is not in bad condition, as the spare. Thanks!

Thanks to all of you on the tires question. I am still deciding between getting a higher grade through Sam’s Goodyear Assurance) at $130 x 4 tires for everything or the Yokohama Avids through the dealership in a buy-three-get-4th-free deal(at $142 x 3). Both situations include balancing, stems, removal, etc. The second situation for the Yokohama from the dealer is a little cheaper, almost $100. Leaning towards the lower cost but I like quality stuff and wonder if it is worth it to pay more for Goodyear versus Yokahama.

I was choosing between the Avids and Michelins, chose the Avids as the better overall tire for my needs. They are not lower quality than Goodyears.