Engines of any kind are typically noisy and can cause vigorous vibrations. And not all roads are smooth and you could encounter really bad ones on your journey. But why do you barely notice them when you are behind the wheels? That is because there are parts of the vehicles that make it possible. These are the shocks and struts.
Shocks are the responsible for the absorption of the impacts of the road while running regardless of its condition as well as the minimizing the vibrating feel inside the vehicle. On the other hand, the struts are more on supporting the vehicle by allowing it to conform to the roads.
Most vehicles manufactured after 1995 would usually have front and rear shock absorbers. If this is the case, then it may be advisable to change them simultaneously because there is the possibility that the front or the back system would fail soon after the other one has been replaced. Also, you could feel some imbalance when you replaced just one side and the weaker side would be bearing most of the impact making the wear and tear accelerated.
How much to replace shocks and struts depends on a lot of factors and it is important to know each of them so read along.
Average Cost of Shocks and Struts Replacement
The average cost to replace shocks and struts varies depending on a lot of factors but typically range between less than $150 and $400 for the low-end vehicles and between $400 and $3,000 or more for the high-end models.
According to RepairPal.com the specific cost of front shocks and struts replacement for some brands and models of vehicles are the following:
The following are the shock absorber and strut assembly replacement costs which are priced separately by YourMechanic.com:
The strut assembly replacement costs for different vehicle brands and models are given below:
The cost to replace shocks for some vehicle models is as follows:
What are Included
The cost to replace shocks and struts would include the materials and labor as well as the cost of the service of machines and tools needed to accomplish the job. Depending on the auto or vehicle shop, the warranty involved is usually 12,000 miles or 12 months whichever comes first.
Before any repair or replacement is to be made, the mechanic would have to check first and confirm if that is indeed the root cause of the problem by inspecting the steering wheel setup, the suspension, and alignment to see if any repairs are needed in any of these areas.
How much to replace shocks and struts would depend on the mechanic as he or she needs to do a thorough evaluation of the vehicle beforehand. During this problem identification, you would likely be billed an amount ranging from $25 to $55 especially if diagnostics is what you are really after. But if you do intend to get the same auto shop’s service after the problem identification, then this amount would likely be offset to your final bill.
If deciding to do it yourself, some of the materials and tools you would need to accomplish the job are the following:
- Shocks and struts
- Jack stand
- Torque Wrench
- Backup wrench
- Coil spring compressor
- Rubber mount of struts
- 6-inch C-clamp
- Allen wrench
- Pry bar
- Ratcheting box-end wrench
Shopping for Shocks and Struts Replacement
Most vehicle repair shops offer shocks and struts replacement so you can inquire and ask for estimates for your type of vehicle. Get a few quotations as possible so you could compare the prices and the inclusions in the estimates. It may also be advantageous if you choose the one that offers a good warranty and guarantee for its work.
If you cannot find any auto shops in your vicinity, you may check out the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence to see any shop nearest to your place through their locator.
Factors Affecting Shocks and Struts Replacement Cost
The cost of the parts – there are parts that are original which means they are manufactured by the same manufacturer of the brand of your vehicle which is likely more expensive. There are also those aftermarket parts available which could be cheaper. The choice between these two could spell the difference in your overall cost.
Make, model, and year – As you can see above, the prices per brands and models vary and those more expensive cars tend to cost higher in terms of replacing their parts, although there could be some exceptions to this rule. Take the case of old cars. Spare parts of some of these vehicles tend to cost higher due to their scarcity as there are only a few people who maintain them.
Ease of access – another exception to the rule that pertains to the value of the car is the level of difficulty in accessing the parts that need repair or replacement. There are those replacement jobs that have expensive parts but cheaper labor cost and there are also those with cheaper parts but expensive labor cost depending on the ease of access to these parts.
Labor – aside from choosing the parts to be installed on your vehicle, the choice of mechanic would also play a major part in the costing as labor cost usually runs around 40% to 60% of the total cost to replace shocks and struts.
Vehicle shop – you can choose between bringing your car to a dealership where you could be assured of the quality of service and be backed up by warranties and guarantees if it fails at a more expensive cost, or go to your neighborhood mechanic or auto shops for a cheaper service but with lesser or no warranties and guarantees at all. Your overall price could also be affected by how popular a shop is.
Location – the cost of living and cost of doing business in a particular state, city, or county usually play a part in the overall costing of any commodity. Also, the labor cost would also vary in different areas depending on the prevailing rate.
Insurance – preventive maintenance and check up and other repairs and replacements brought about by wear and tear are not covered by insurance unless you specifically paid for them to be included. The only other time it would be covered is during an accident where it would be paid no questions asked.
There are tell-tale signs of defective struts and/or shocks that you may likely consider to replace them altogether. Please note that these signs may be an indicator or may mimic the symptoms of other car issues so it is good to have them checked by your mechanic.
These symptoms include:
- Accelerated wear and tear of the tires and suspension system.
- Bouncing and sliding sideways on rough roads
- Excessive bouncing after hitting a road bump
- Rear end squats when accelerating
- Steering is stiff or makes noise
- Swaying when turning
- The bumper or the front end sway dives during brakes
- The vehicle bottoms out on bumps especially in humps
There may also be instances when the struts and shocks do not show any symptoms but you may still consider having them replaced during some instances that can be seen on an occasional preventive maintenance checkup or regular oil change:
- Abnormal or unusual wear on tires
- Crushed rubber bumpers
- Dents and damages on the shock or strut body
- Fluid leaking out on the housing
- Mounts or bushings are broken or worn
- Pitted piston rods
- Worn rubber mounting bushings
You may also consider replacing your shocks and struts when your car has already reached the 50,000 mileage as replacing them early before any symptoms occur would ensure smoother driving experience and preventing other parts from being affected if you wait for the symptoms to appear.