Will replacing my Struts improve my car's handling?

struts

#1

I have a used 2001 Maxima SE. The car is in good shape and runs really well. It’s the first car I’ve ever owned with good pickup! My only real gripe is that it doesn’t handle very well at high speeds. For example, on highways I feel like the car is going to tip over on turns at 70 and up (these are typical bendscurves in a highway). As a result of this, I don’t feel comfortable driving it as fast as I’d like to. Since I bought the car used, I am not sure if it once handled better or if all Maxima’s do the same thing at high speeds.



My old car ('96 Jetta) was significantly slower, but it handled quite well; I never had the sensation that my Jetta was going to tip over on high speed turns.



A friend of mine told me that replacing the struts will increase my handling and I’d like to know if this is true. He also said I could buy different struts which would help even more, but cost a lot of money. Either way, the estimates I got for strut replacement are all pretty high ($1000 - $1500) so before I spend all that money I’d like to know if this will actually help.



I asked my mechanic to look at the condition of the struts on my car and he said they were fine. This sounded odd to me 'cause whenever I go over a bump, my car bounces up and down a lot afterwards like riding on an old school bus.



So I’d like to know if replacing my struts will actually increase the car’s handling at high speeds.



I would also appreciate anything else I can do, besides driving slower :wink: to increase my car’s handling.



Thanks in advance for your thoughts and contributions.


#2

Yes, replacing your struts will make it handle better. Particularly because you said it bounces when you go over a bump. That is the main indicator that the struts no longer work properly. Replacing them will improve handling at all speeds. Another thing to look at are the sway bars to ensure that a connection hasn’t broken somewhere. But your mechanic should notice that problem if he inspected the suspension


#3

What are the make/model of your tires. This can make a major difference especially if they are budget ones.


#4

I’m pretty sure the are Cooper Cobra’s and they’re pretty new (lots of tread left).


#5

Besides checking the ANTI-sway bars to be sure that they aren’t broken, it is a good idea to have your mechanic verify that they are still actually there! If the vehicle was in an accident before you owned it, it is possible that someone “cheaped out” on the repairs and left off an anti-sway bar.


#6

Those are decent tires. I would look at your suspension at another garage.


#7

Get the regular struts and not heavy duty ones or you will hate driving the car. It sounds like you just need struts and a four wheel alignment.


#8

Repeated bouncing after going over a bump means the struts are gone. Replacing them will definitely help the handling and save the tires. Ignoring the struts will cause the tires to go pretty quickly.

The price seems kind of high on strut replacement. Strut cartridges can be purchased in a price range from around 50 to 90 bucks each for anything other than the higher dollar Konis or Bilsteins, which you do not need.
Figure in a little extra for new strut mounts if needed.

Labor should be no more than a couple of hours per side.
JMHO, but I don’t see that a strut job should run more than about 600 at the most, and more than likely should be less.

Where are you getting this job priced at?


#9

I just asked my local mechanic for an estimate on how much it would cost. Now that I think about it, I don’t think he put much thought into the estimate. In his opinion, the struts “had a few more years left” and he told me it would be really expensive to replace them.

Can anyone recommend a good strut replacement place (I live in Northern, NJ)? Will I get ripped off if I go to a place like Midas?

Also, is there a good site on the Internet for finding a decent mechanic (possibly something with reviews from other customers, like Amazon)?