Worn struts I read somewhere on the internet that worn struts can last 20 years!

Last week my mechanic told me my 1999 chevy prizm needs new struts. However, on the internet someone said worn struts can last another 20 years. Is this an insider nugget? Is this true? I have heard a lot of cars and vans in town bouncing as they drive, now that i’m kinda focused on struts and car noise. I’m guessing they have broken struts. My car isn’t that noisy, yet. I had the bushing, and link replaced. which reduced my car’s noise. and on smooth roads I don’t hear any swaying.
So, can a stut last a year safely, before sounding like the kidde ride at the wal-mart? Providing, I don’t take the expressway?

It depends what you mean by “worn”. Drivers can opt to live with an imperfect ride, a little more bounce than when the car was new, and do so all the time. For economic reasons, or just that the quality of the ride isn’t important to them. But if a “worn” strut causes unsafe handling, like would be the case if there was a lot of play in the strut, suspension bushing, or the stut or strut mount was broken, that’s unsafe and isn’t something to just grin and bear it. A good mechanic can tell you if replacing the struts is optional or not.

You would have to have some kind of Super Powers, to hear your car swaying.

You are talking about a vehicle that is already 16 years old, and I wouldn’t doubt that the struts are worn out.
An easy test is to do a bounce test. Start at one front corner and bounce the car with your weight. When you stop and let up, the car should only bounce a few times and each time will get less and less bounce. If it bounces more than four times…when you let up…your struts are probably worn out.
If still unsure…go bounce a newer car to compare to.

Struts can also leak their fluid from worn seals, and this is a sure sign that new struts are needed.

Also, never just replace just one strut.

The bushing that you refer to could be any of a half dozen bushings in the front, and there are probably as many in the rear. Link…I presume you mean a sway bar link.


wow! Great reply! You really are the salt of the earth, I like your explanation. 4 stars!

to GeorgeSanJose-the salt of the earth.

to yosemite I’ve tried the bounce test on the rear driver side, and it bounces normally. once, twice if that.

to yosemite- I 'm serious, while i’m driving on a bumpy road, i can hear the car bouncing, or swaying.

I had a bushing, and a link replaced and the noise wasn’t so persistant.

Oh! bounce the car with -all- of my body weight. sorry! my mistake.

this chevy prizm is a strange car. the passenger side visor keeps falling off. and the front passenger door handle has been stiff ever since i Bought the car in 2007, and the window washer fluid doesn’t completely satriate the glass in front of the passengershotgun position.
This car is sooo reliable though, drove to chicago, minneapolis, detroit, florida, never any problems on the way.

Ok, Ok, you can hear a bounce and a sway, but can you hear the rush of air escaping!!!

You may feel the bounce or sway!!!

What you hear is a squeak, a rattle, a grinding, a clunk!!!


I own a 90’s Corolla, which is basically the same car. And guess what, my car has all those same issues … lol … but like you say, those are minor annoyances when other wise the car is so reliable.

Any high mileage 16 year old car can be expected to need new struts. The bounce test is not a good test. If the car drives like a boat, it needs struts… and in all probability more.

Can worn struts last 20 more years? Depends on your definition of “last”. They’ll probably hold the wheels on the car, but not hold the tires on the road. Don’t be surprised if you’re wearing out tires twice as fast as you should be. With the cost of tires these days (yipe!) it might be cheaper to just get the struts replaced.

Who has that great video of the car going down the highway with the wheel hopping? I know it’s one the regulars here, but can’t remember who. Might be real appropriate here.

I’m with the others on the un-knowable true condition and the use of the term ‘‘worn’’.
When it’s a safety and driveabilty issue …THAT is past time to replace.

If the car reamains bouncing , even twice, when you brake to slow and make a quick turn ( like when the oncomming traffic is clear enough for you to make that left turn ‘‘right now’’ ) …That can be dangerous uncontrollablility.

If the car reamains bouncing , even twice... ...That can be dangerous uncontrollablility.

… Or a perfect condition 1982 Caprice Classic. :wink:

Don’t let Rick hear you say that

I seem to remember he said he bought an older Caprice last year