Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Toyota struts

My mechanic said my 2000 rav 4 need rear struts. Can this repair wait or will it hurt the car?

How many miles on the car?
How bad are they worn?
What kind of driving have you done and are going to do?
How long do you want to wait before repairing?
Have you talked to any other mechanic?

Bad struts can wear out tires pretty quickly, costing you even more.

Here are a couple of easier questions to answer that will help you decide if you should replace the rear struts on any vehicle:

Does it rain or snow in the area that you live and drive in?

Do you drive on a road that has curves?

Are there bumps in the middle of those curves?

I ask these questions because of the fact that if you are driving on that road in the snow or rain, and hit that bump, your rear end of the car can lose traction, sending you sliding out of control, either into a guardrail, into a deep ditch, into opposing traffic, or over a cliff, if you are really unlucky.

So, a couple hundred to replace the worn out struts, or your entire deductible if you damage the car, or someone’s life if the worst happens? Which one of these costs are you willing to live with?


I would be surprised if a 2000 car would not need new struts by now. As noted, it can be a safety issue. It also usually will mean new tyres of they go too far before you replace them.

I have 147 thousand miles on it and I mainly do city driving. I was thinking of waiting 4-6 months. I didn’t realize struts could wear tires.

We, at my shop, always joke about telling customers that they will die if they don’t do X to their car, but you sound like you’d actually do just that. I agree that worn struts can be dangerous, I just got a chuckle at your approach.

If the rear end of your vehicle does not act strangely when driving on a bumpy curve at normal speed, I would question if you need rear struts. By acting strangely I mean that the rear wheels will lose lateral traction which will allow centrifugal force due to the curve let the rear end of your vehicle to move sideways in lurches.

My wife’s car with worn rear struts did this; made a bumpy curve a little treacherous so be careful when testing for this. New rear struts took care of it but worn tires were not a problem in our case.

How does it handle? A second opinion wouldn’t hurt. There’s needing struts and then there’s NEEDING STRUTS. If you go for a second opinion just make it a local, reputable shop and ask them to give the major stuff a once over. See if they come back with struts. Ask any mechanic who tells you that you need X to please show and explain.

Strut wear is gradual and sometimes you don’t know they are bad until you replace them and see how much better the car handles. Strut replacement is also a frequent “scam” and unscruppulous shops make extra money replacing perfectly good struts.

You need to get some other opinions on the condition of the struts before you replace them. Uneven tire wear on the back (or front) tires can have other causes, poor alignment, unbalanced tires, defective tire(s), accident or pothole strike damage. You can drive the car safely enough to get some other opinions before you decide to replace them or not.

I would be amazed if, at 10 years and 147k miles, you didn’t need struts all around. You may not notice it, but they are very likely worn. Of course, if you’re selling it next year, and it handles ok, you could wait and see.

Here in Colorado, there aren’t any safety inspections for vehicles, so there are lots of vehicles running around with their tires rebounding along the highway without end that I see on a daily basis.

Last winter, I had to perform one heck of an evasive maneuver in the snow on a highway because a guy in his green Ford Explorer hit the tire ruts, and went spinning out of control in front of me. Better suspension and tires would have prevented his wreck, because the rest of us on the highway was able to dodge him without spinning out of control (he was in the left lane, shifted to the right, lost the rear end, and went nose first into the concrete median divider in the center of the highway).

When I bought my Boxster, the right rear strut was completely blown, and changing both rear struts made the car feel much better, as the left rear strut had to do twice the work to keep the back end under control.