Struts really needed?

#1

I have a 2003 Tpyota corolla w/ 112,000 mi. and my front tires keep wearing down unevenly as if the front end alignment is “out.” This seems to happen about every 2,000 miles now. The mechanic who serviced it told me that I need new struts ~$800.

I am wondering if I am being sold something or if this sounds accurate.

#2

2000 miles is a very short period for struts to be the cause of “uneven tire wear”

Are you making a observation from a new tire and then checking the wear 2000 miles later? (I am suprised you could see any wear)

If you can see a wear pattern imprinted on a new tire within 2000 miles you have a much larger problem than worn struts.

Can you decsribe the pattern?

Alignment checks are not very expensive, The tech should uncover something substancial, it would be nice to find someone who wants to find the problem,not just generate a sale.

How is the ride? any swaying,nose diving,hard to keep in a lane? Keeping your tire pressures correct?

#3

If the tires are cupping, worn struts is the reason.

Tester

#4

Well, is the wheel alignment “out?” When was the last time the alignment was checked?

It’s possible you need new struts, but there’s not enough information in your post to make a determination.

If your car is wearing out a new set of tires in 2,000 miles something is SERIOUSLY wrong, but this does not seem possible unless there’s been some crash damage.

Please provide more detail if you can.

One more thing; $800? Is that for two struts, or four?

#5

Even if the struts are not causing the wear problem, I would suggest getting a second opinion and estimate. Dealers do tend to be more expensive that independent shops, and for most things they are not any better.

#6

With a light car like your Corolla, you might not see normal signs of strut wear. The symptom you describe could be an indication you need new struts.

Shop around. You might be able to get a set of four new struts for about $800.

#7

If your struts are worn out at 112k miles then I suggest that you consider a different car brand next time. Otherwise, your mechanic may be a crook or just a little less than skilled. You likely need a front end alignment, not new struts.

If the alignment is “out”, you can have it adjusted, don’t always need to replace struts.

In any case, if the struts are replaced, then the front end alignment must be checked anyhow and adjusted as required.

I have never replaced struts on a car including two US brands driven to 127 and 160K miles plus a German car driven to 130K miles and another German car driven to a little over 200K miles with the original front struts.

Ask your mechanic to push down on one front corner of your car and watch the rebound. Ask him to compare this to a new car. Then listen to the fast talk. Be nice to the crook as you walk away.

#8

There are other parts besides the struts that could wear out and cause this kind of a problem. You need to have your front end gone over by a good shop. Use the Car Talk mechanic finder to find one near you.