Steps To Identify, Locate, Replace, Remove And Install Car Struts

Car Struts are one of the most important components of car suspension system. They are essential to keep vehicle’s wheels in contact with the road and ensure stability during cornering and braking. Strut works together with springs which control its movements so that car doesn’t swing especially during rough drive.

Car Struts are basically a spring-mounted shock absorber that’s been a part of vehicles since 1950. They add support to your vehicle’s suspension system along with coil springs, stabilizer bars and leaf springs.

2 Signs to Identify a Bad Car Struts:

Each component of vehicle has a limited life and struts are no exception to this rule. Like all other parts struts also worn out with the passage of time and break in case your car passes over bumpy terrain.

Changing faulty strut keeps your vehicle stabilized at high speed. It also ensures comfortable, smooth and safe ride. Following are the symptoms that indicate imminent replacement of your vehicle’s struts:

  1. Excessive Bouncing

It is hard to ignore the problems created by faulty car struts. You can literally feel its effects every time your car hits pothole or you are driving on a bumpy road. There will be excessive bouncing while driving your car. This indicates that it’s time to change struts.

  1. Noises from rear end of vehicle

While accelerating, you can hear the rear end of your car squatting. Whole car frame of your vehicle tends to bounce or swing up and down after hitting a pothole. This indicates the weakened strut which should be replaced.

  1. Oil Leakage from Suspension System

There is a piston and hydraulic fluid inside every strut. While driving on a bumpy or rough terrain car strut starts to compress and causes piston to push against the hydraulic fluid.

Leaking of oily liquid is the indication of faulty struts. Malfunctioned struts create cracks in its body or around the seals of strut that enable its inner fluids to leak out.

Steps To Locate and Replace Old Car Struts

Below are the steps by which you can easily do the car strut replacement and can replace them with new one.

car struts

How to Locate Strut in Your Vehicle?

  1. First step to replace the car struts is to locate the bad one in your vehicle. They are cylinder-shaped pistons that are filled with hydraulic fluid. Struts of vehicles looks like a metallic rod cone with a spring which is wrapped around it.
  1. Open the hood and look for the strut bolts. There is one on each side of the car for each wheel. They are in a circle of three bolts on a pan in engine compartment and are attached on each side the vehicle.
  2. Lift the front of your vehicle with a floor jack and support it with jack stand for car’s stability. Don’t forget to read owner’s manual instructions to position a jack under vehicle. Use a wrench to loosen and remove the nuts that hold wheels.

Although it is essential to use jack stands to secure the vehicle but never rely on it. Jacks can be shifted suddenly which results in dropping of vehicle.

  1. Remove the brake hose bracket (in case your car is equipped with it) by loosening the retaining pins with a ratchet and socket. Attach the bottom bracket with wire ties. Don’t let it hang by the brake hose bracket so that you can easily remove the strut.
  2. Sway bar is also known as anti-oil bar or stabilizer. It works with your vehicle’s struts assembly to stabilize it during bumps and rough road conditions.

Loosen the sway bar by removing the mounting bracket with a wrench. After removing it, rotate sway bar out of your way. Look for the thin metal bar that connects the whole suspension and bottom and then remove it. Now all you have to do is loosen the car struts from the steering knuckle to free it. You are ready to remove the old strut now.

How To Remove The Bad Car Struts?

  1. Now that you have located the car struts, remove the bolts from the steering knuckle. There are usually two or three big bolts that secure the strut to your vehicle’s steering knuckle. Loosen these bolts now from the assembly.

You can use spray like WD-40 for nuts which are difficult to remove. Before hammering directly on the bolts which secure the strut to the knuckle, try doing it few times on the knuckle itself so that things can be loosen up a bit.

  1. Locate the strut tower under the hood to remove the bolts. They are secured by three small bolts and look like cylinders. Strut towers are usually located at the midpoint of the inside fender. Remove the strut tower bolts after locating it. Struts can be detached easily as the bolts are removed from the steering knuckle.
  2. Now that the old strut is free, you need a set of special tools to compress the spring. These tools are usually a pair of hooks that hold and clamp the springs with huge screws. One has to take extra care while using these tools because they can be dangerous in case they are worn out or you don’t use them properly.
  3. While removing strut, coil spring also comes out and it needs to be removed to install a new strut. Compress the springs by using the coil spring compressor to remove the plate that holds the spring on. Nuts that hold the plate can be removed easily and springs also come off without any force once the coil spring is compressed.
  4. Place the spring on the new strut and make certain to connect the end of the spring coil with the notch in the plate. Now tighten the springs in place with the nuts provided.
  5. Assemble the new vehicle struts now. Put the spring over the new strut and ensure it includes any rubber parts available from the old strut. Install the strut bearing over the new one and replace the strut rod nut according to manufacturer’s specified torque.

5 Easy Steps to Install New Strut:

  1. Install the strut assembly now back into steering knuckle. Replace all the bolts which you had loosened to reach struts. Tighten them by hand as much as you can.
  2. Replace the strut tower bolts after placing the strut assembly back into the strut tower. Tighten the bolts with ratchet and wrench and secure the strut assembly to steering knuckles according to the manufacture’s specified torque for safety measurements.
  3. As sway bars and brake line support is not necessary to remove while removing struts. They are only removed when struts are not properly visible to you. In case you have removed them, make sure to replace them correctly.
  4. Replace the wheel and make sure to tighten the lug nuts properly before lowering the car from jack stand. Wheel alignment can be affected when replacing the front struts on a vehicle. It is always good to have it checked after replacing front struts on your vehicle.
  5. Check all the parts which you replaced one final time. Make sure every part is perfectly fitted. Test drive of vehicle at low speed helps you evaluate the vehicle’s safety.

Car strut replacement is a part of car’s maintenance. Any vehicle that is used for more than a decade is a good sign of replacing struts. Like all other tasks safety is also paramount in this work that requires working under the vehicle. It is important that the vehicle must be properly supported by jack stands when working on it because collapsing of jack stand can risk your life.

Tips & Warnings While Replacing Car Struts

  • Wear a pair of safety goggles to prevent eye injuries.
  • Do not use wooden blocks instead of jack stands. Get the right tools to ensure your safety.

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