Struts


#1

What is the function of struts and what are the indications that new struts are needed? RobertY


#2

www.carbibles.com has a good primer on suspensions. I recommend a visit.

Basically, struts contain the elements necessary to absorb energy in a controlled manner as well as functioning as a part of the suspension geometry.

I guess the best way to explain it is that in the old days cars had springs to allow the road impacts to be absorbed without migrating completely into the car body, shocks to control the rebound activity of the springs, and control devices (upper and lower A-frames were common in the front) to control the geometry of the suspension throughout its travel. With the advent of small cars and transverse engines there was not much room for A-frames and all that hardware anymore so some fella figured out a way to combine all the functions into one multipurpose device called a strut.

By the way, this happened long ago, way before we started seeing them in the US. In post WW-II Europe everything was in shambles and money was beyond tight. Tiny cars came out in abundance and began their evolution. The original Mini actually used a transverse engine with transaxle, struts, tiny wheels pushed way out to the corners, and even a tiny radiator in the left corner of the engine compartment, all to maximize interior space in a tiny vehicle. I don’t know exactly where struts originated, but I know the Mini had them.

Indications that new struts are needed are the same as indications that new shocks are needed. Either the car gets bouncy or the tires start wearing in a choppy pattern, scalloping as it were, even though the balance is good. In some vehicles the “strut cartridge”, the shock absorber part, can be changed without removing the strut assembly. In others the entire assembly needs to be removed, the coil spring compressed and removed, and the spring installed on a new assembly. Blah!


#3

Thanks for the information and I will log onto www.carbibles.com. I have a 99 Camry and I hear noises when I go over slightly bumpy roads, it just sounds kind of junky but there is no bouncing up & down motion. Thanks Again. RobertY


#4

It may be just dried up shrunken bushings or even strut mounts. Rubber components do this when they get old. Have it looked at. It may be inexpensive to correct.

Having said that, if these are the original struts don’t be surprized if they tell you you need new ones. They are, after all, 9 years old.


#5

I agree with Mountainbike. Toyota seems to have had more than their share of strut mount bearing problems for vehicles in that timeframe. That would cause a clunking noise, easy to hear when going over small bumps.


#6

Thanks, I think that’s probably what I need to do.


#7

Thanks for your input.