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Toyota 2009 Camry 4 cyl struts trouble

I had to bring my car to the Toyota dealer b/c there has been a loud noise on the left front when turning or backup in the tire area. The dealer told me that has come from the strut which has been replaced aftermarket. In fact, a friend replaced the strut for me but he didn’t believe what the dealer said. Do you know WHY it is too noisy? Is it dangerous and should I fix it as soon as possible?

noise did not exist before friend changed strut? why would you change struts on a 2009 car? extreme miles? poor handling? odd tire wear?

Your friend probably didn’t put the upper spring seat on correctly. Its a common problem in Toyota’s, the service manuals do not cover how these are installed.

Why did you replace them in the first place? Are these performance struts?

Stoveguyy, No the noise did not exist before friend changed strut. I had to change strut b/c they were leaking.
Keith: I suspect the same thing; probably friend didn’t put the strut in correctly. What should I do now?

How do you know the factory struts were leaking. Did you discover this yourself or did this get pointed out to you during an oil change or “free safety check”? Often unscrupulous mechanics will squirt oil on the struts in order to generate profits. If this is the case, was the quote for new struts about $1000 +/- a little?

Have your friend look at this link.

I think on the newer cars, the upper spring seat may be built into the upper mount.

"What should I do now?"
If it was mine, I would take it apart and reinstall it, taking care to make sure the upper bearing assembly is properly fitted to the strut and that the bearing isn't worn or damaged. At the very least that would eliminate one possible source of the noise.

BTW, when discussing noises it might be helpful to try to describe the noise since we can’t hear it for ourselves. “Loud” isn’t enough.

A strut is allowed to have a slight amount of visible seepage

It is quite possible for a fairly low mileage strut to be doing its job, but show slight seepage

Did the vehicle have a bouncy ride?

It’s common for a novice to improperly assemble the strut to the upper mount when replacing just the strut. The top of the strut shaft has 2 flats that must be properly oriented to the mount in order to seat properly.

If in fact the noise is coming from the upper strut mount area and you have been driving the car you now need both a new strut and a new upper mount. Driving around with an improperly assembled strut will quickly damage both the strut and the mount.

keith, it happened exactly like you described. The quote for new struts is more than $1000. Anyway, I brought my car to an independent auto store and they said nothing about the struts. They told me a different story: the tie rod ends need to be removed and replaced b/c it looses and also the bar control links. The cost is much cheaper than the dealer. Who should I believe?

A 2009 Toyota, or any 2009 vehicle should not be having any problems with struts or any suspension components unless it was in a serious accident. I think whoever told you that you needed new struts in the first place was taking advantage of you and now this other shop is doing the same thing.

Right now, I favor the dealer. You were taken advantage of by someone and the dealer is only trying to put it back right, but they are only allowed to use genuine Toyota parts and their labor pates are higher than a lot of independent garages.

You don’t have to be car smart to avoid these unscrupulous mechanics. First, unless you bring the vehicle in for a specific problem that you have been noticing, don’t accept any diagnosis for other problems. Free inspections turn out to be not so free and the low cost oil change can be the most expensive oil change around.

When a mechanic tells you something needs urgent attention, simply tell them you will look into it. If you are worried that they might be right, seek a second opinion and don’t tell the second mechanic anything. If someone tells you that your car is not safe to be driven out of the shop, tell them you will take the risk and if they take the next step and tell you that they cannot release the car until it is fixed, call the police.

You can get the struts replaced at a good shop. Ask around for recommendations from friends. coworkers and family. Check the BBB. A more foolproof way is to have preloaded struts installed. They will be fully assembled at the factory so they should be right, they come with a warrantee that will cover an improperly assembled strut and will save on labor for the install. a good mechanic should be able to order these for you. Installed price will still probably be near $800 though, but you get new mounts and springs with the struts.

If you can get the KYB strut assemblies, they are pretty good.

discard your new aftermarket struts? why are folks here recommending changing the new struts?

Because it doesn’t take very long to destroy the top of the strut shaft driving around with a mis-installed upper mount. You won’t know for sure until you take it apart again but to be sure I’d have a replacement on hand. You can always return it.,

If the noise only showed up after the strut replacement then odds are your friend screwed up in the strut assembly.
Your friend also has a vested interest in not believing the dealer because that places the blame on the strut installer.

Several questions though.
Strut is used in the singular. Does this mean only one side replaced? (Mistake, if so.)

Did the friend charge you, even a discount price, for doing this work?

Keith, thanks very much for your knowledge. I have to drive on many speed bumps (neighbor and school zone) on the way to work; I don’t know if it’s the reason caused the leaking at the struts. I didn’t drive too fast on speed bumps. I bought my 2009 car brand new.
Stoveguyy, yes Toyota dealer told me to discard my new aftermarket struts. And they didn’t tell me why they recommended that.

asemaster, thanks for the hint. I don’t know how to do it so I have to ask a mechanic to do it for me.
ok4450, all 4 sides replaced. I bought a power tool for him so he doing this work in return. I think he had a good intention, but he f*ck up my car instead.