Average cost of Strut Cartridge Replacement for popular vehicle models in Normal:
Avg. cost $83
Avg. cost $41
Avg. cost $23
THE IMPORTANCE OF Strut Cartridge Replacement
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. As opposed to other forms of suspension systems, where a set of springs “suspends” a vehicle over the wheels and tires, aided by a set of shock absorbers, an independent suspension 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
FREQUENCY OF INSPECTION
How does a technician perform Strut Cartridge Replacement ?
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 - Extreme caution must be taken when disassembling a strut assembly to prevent the coil spring from dislodging while under tension. Serious injury or death can occur otherwise.
OTHER QUESTIONS CUSTOMERS ASK
What all should be replaced when replacing struts?
On some vehicles, the strut cartridge (the shock absorber inside the strut) can be replaced without replacing the entire assembly. On others, the entire strut must be replaced as an assembly. Sometimes, it costs less to simply replace the assembly because disassembly is time consuming (not to mention hazardous). In any case, struts and strut cartridges should always be replaced in pairs. Other components to consider replacing at the same time include ball joints, sway bar links, tie rod ends, and control arms, since they are all easily accessible with the strut removed.
Do you need an alignment after replacing struts?
Generally speaking, yes. A wheel alignment is needed after the struts are replaced in your vehicle. Some vehicle manufacturers expressly recommend an alignment when struts are replaced, usually because adjustments to the alignment are part of the relationship between the strut assembly and the steering knuckle. An alignment should also be done after strut replacement if you had any suspension modifications done or if you are also replacing your tires.
Do struts affect steering?
The design of an independent front suspension [holds] that the top mount of the strut assembly functions as the upper pivot point for the steering system. The condition of the struts is fundamental to the performance and safety of your vehicle’s ride, handling, braking, and steering. When the struts become worn, these elements are diminished.
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