The national cost for suspension strut cartridge replacement is between $96 and $440 with an average of $145

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National average cost of a Strut Cartridge Replacement
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What is a strut cartridge and how does it work?

A strut cartridge is part of the strut assembly on the majority of vehicles on the road today that are equipped with independent suspension. Other forms of suspension systems rely on a set of springs to “suspend” a vehicle over the wheels and tires. The springs are aided by a set of shock absorbers. An independent suspension is different. It features a strut assembly that combines a coil spring with a dampening device similar to a shock absorber into a single unit. The strut assembly takes the place of springs and shocks. The strut cartridge, also known as a strut insert, is the removable shock inside the strut assembly.

How do I know if a strut cartridge needs to be replaced?

The combination of spring and strut cartridge (shock absorber) in a strut assembly serve to allow your wheels and tires to remain in contact with the road, especially when driving over uneven terrain and when turning. The spring "suspends" the vehicle, while the strut cartridge dampens movement up and down. If the strut cartridge fails, you might notice one or more of the following signs

Your vehicle produces a rougher than normal ride or one that feels soft, as if the car was floating

Knocking noise when driving over bumps or through potholes

Uneven tire tread wear

Fluid leaking from the strut cartridge


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How is this service performed

How is a Strut Cartridge Replacement done?

Some strut assemblies are serviceable, with strut cartridges that can be replaced. The procedure is more time consuming than simply replacing the entire assembly. It is also more hazardous and requires special tools and experience to prevent serious injury. To replace a strut cartridge, a mechanic will first need to safely lift and support your vehicle off of the ground and remove the wheels and tires. From there, the following general steps are necessary

  • Remove the brake hose from its mount on the strut assembly
  • Detach the stabilizer bar link (in some cases) from the strut
  • Remove the bolts that fasten the strut to the steering knuckle
  • Separate the top of the knuckle from the upper control arm ball joint (on some vehicles)
  • Remove the upper strut mount at the top of the shock tower
  • Free the strut assembly from the vehicle
  • Using a special tool or machine, compress the coil spring to relieve tension on the strut cartridge
  • Remove the upper retaining nut to release the strut body from the spring
  • Unbolt the cartridge from the strut body and install the new cartridge
  • Place the strut body with the new cartridge inside the spring and tighten the retaining nut
  • Release the spring compressor, taking care to ensure that the spring, strut body, and upper mount are in alignment
  • Reinstall the strut assembly in the strut tower
  • Reattach the knuckle, upper control arm ball joint (when necessary), sway bar link, and brake line
  • Reinstall the wheel and tire and lower the vehicle
  • In many cases, a wheel alignment will also be necessary Note


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