Subaru forester "leaking struts"

My 2009 forester was in for service for a recall on a brake line in 2/2015. I also had the brakes replaced per subaru’s recommendation. The very next day I noticed a “Lugg lugg lugg” type sound coming from underneath the car. As my husband didn’t hear it, I let it go until this morning when I had it checked out and was told the strut was “leaking” causing wear on the tires. Subaru quoted me $700.00 for the replacement of the tires and $800.00 to repair the struts. Do you think the quote is fair and do you think there is any connection to the recall repair done just 1 1/2 months ago? My tires also are not that old.

Hmm, sounds odd. I’d get a second opinion, this is pretty early for struts to be worn. Click on ‘mechanics files’ above and see if there’s a Subaru independent mechanic near you. But any good independent mechanic can check for worn struts and tires.

No connection.
Actually, assuming the “repair” which is actually a replacement includes an alignment, that’s a surprisingly good estimate for a dealer.

I’m guessing a bit, but I suspect the “lugg-lugg-lugg” was coming from cupping of the tires due to the struts being bad. This all sounds legit to me. The bad struts also might have been from the worn out struts having been fully extended when on the lift for the brake work, and if that was the case the struts needed replacement anyway. Have them replace all the rubbery bits when they replace the struts. The spring bushings, bumper stops, etc.

Re: the tires: be it known that the struts can be replaced and the wheels aligned without needing to have the tires replaced at the dealer’s. They might try to convince you otherwise. I’ve heard people say “you need to replace the tires for the alignment to be right” and that is pure BS. You can save a few hundred by shopping around for tires. Just be sure you replace all four, as these cars can self-destruct if the tires aren’t all the same size.

Take it to a trusted local independent mechanic for a second opinion. What you were told sounds suspicious. Your struts are only 6 years old and unlikely to be leaking. “Leaking struts” is a common false diagnosis made only to sell you expensive parts.

Find a recommended local mechanic near you in the “mechanics files” section of this site.

I couldn’t have expressed it any better than mountainbike did.

While 6 years does seem to be a bit early for strut replacement, it is entirely possible that the struts “over-extended” when the car was put on a lift. This can happen, but just to be sure of the exact situation, I also suggest that you have an independent garage look at the struts.

And, while some car dealers have become more competitive with tire prices, it is very likely that you could do better on price if you do some comparison price shopping. Even though your tires might not be that old, what none of us knows are the wear factors to which they were exposed:

Did you consistently have them rotated every 5k or every 7.5k miles?
How often do you check (and correct) the tire pressure?
As soon as uneven wear patterns began to appear, did you have the wheels aligned?

…and…what is the treadwear rating that is listed on the sidewall of your tires?

It’s always a good business practice to get a second opinion and other estimates for any vehicle repair. In this case, you really need another opinion.

How many miles on this car?

It’s unusual for Subaru struts to fail unless there are factors involved such as very high miles, age, or extreme environmental conditions.

A brake line recall should have no effect on this problem. Don’t take this wrong, but it could be that the “lugg, lugg, lugg…” sound could have been there before. Once the Recall was done you may have become more attuned to the car and any potential problems.

There’s also the issue of whether the tire wear is cupping or severe feathering. Sometimes the latter is mistakenly called cupping and struts get the blame when the problem is actually caused by failure to rotate the tires, an alignment issue involving toe, etc.

I have an 08 Forester and had to have the rear struts replaced at 30K. The independent Subaru specialist I went to identified the problem and recommended KYB struts with a lifetime warranty. Since the car was out of warranty (time wise) I had him do it.

Stuff happens, and no mechanical device is perfect. Still, this is my first Subaru and the only vehicle I’ve ever had to replace the struts on.

The fee quoted seems reasonable.

The only other alternative other than seeking second opinions, for which there will be a fee, is if the tire problem seems to be occurring on only one tire, have a shop check to see if that tire has lost a weight and become unbalanced.

It is also possible that the noise underneath the car is a symptom of a failing center viscous coupler. Because that type of problem is the result of failure to rotate the tires on a consistent basis and/or replacing tires in sets of less than 4, I am going to repeat some of my earlier questions that have not yet been answered by the OP, and add an additional question:

Did you consistently have the tires rotated every 5k or every 7.5k miles?
How often do you check (and correct) the tire pressure?
Does the car have 4 tires that are precisely matched in terms of…treadwear, brand, model, and size?

Thanks for the info and advice. The car has around 109,000 miles on it. They did mention something about “cupping”. I will get a second opinion and have the work done. thanks kate22.

@kate22–With all due respect…Could you please provide answers to the questions that I posed regarding your car?