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Please help me with struts


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sonuvabish
Novice

Jun 25, 2022, 10:44 AM

Post #1 of 13 (322 views)
Please help me with struts Sign In

I have a 2010 Malibu with 92K miles. One shop has been trying to sell me on struts since about 75K miles...their generic checklist only specifies the reason as due to age of vehicle and technician experience. I have been in no financial position to even consider non-emergency repairs until recently. For the first time ever, I had the rear brakes replaced, all the fluids changed, my car aligned (lifetime), the resonator replaced, and the spark plugs replaced. Is it time to do the struts?
After researching, I excluded quick-struts. I then realized that I might have to replace more than just the struts--and that aftermarket suspension parts are either junk or have very inconsistent reviews. So I bought all the OEM parts, except strut mounts and springs--because the strut mounts were so insanely expensive and didn't even come with the bearing. I called my shop who always allows me to bring in parts. They refused this job, suggesting they customarily do quick-struts, maybe implying they would do it if I let them source all these different parts. I cancelled my parts order.
Which inextricably leads me to the most important point--strut mounts. The OEM strut mounts are about $85 per piece; the OEM strut bearing is about $45 apiece. The most expensive aftermarket mount is about $45 apiece and INCLUDES the bearing and new bolts.

Is the strut mount a wearable item? Or it just the strut bearing, but it usually considered part of the strut mount?
Knowing that I have to now eat a massive parts mark-up, is OEM worth it? What parts of the assembly does aftermarket not generally screw up?
The springs are the biggest problem (but not the only) with quickstruts from what I gather--is there a quickstrut out that isn't unreliable junk and I can swap the springs with the OEM?
None of these questions are rhetorical. I'm so confused.


(This post was edited by sonuvabish on Jun 25, 2022, 10:47 AM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 25, 2022, 11:05 AM

Post #2 of 13 (314 views)
Re: Please help me with struts Sign In

92K? Struts under 100K is insane.

You don't need any of that. I'm betting this is a tire shop trying to sell you this stuff. If I were you I would find another shop that isn't trying to sell you stuff you don't need.

If they aren't leaking, you don't need them replaced.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jun 25, 2022, 11:37 AM

Post #3 of 13 (307 views)
Re: Please help me with struts Sign In

Agree with that - mostly. If your roads and driving habits are all good you may not need this stuff.
WORSE is not allowing YOU to decide on OEM parts or not! They get them and will mark the price up NOT you is common. New means you get the old ones back if you wish.
They do get their markup price because they are taking on the responsibility also. Some shops will allow customers to bring their own parts to me means now YOU own any failures for them plus they may charge some "up charge" for doing that.
Shops can refuse to do it your way if they want anytime. I don't personally see how OEM parts could possibly be out of their domain?


Friend - the biz needs the $$ it costs a fortune to even try to do this stuff in biz plus unreal costs for tools and the place to do it. Can't help that plus you get trained tech (will all hopes) qualified to do this stuff took years of training to be able to wasn't cheap or easy if free to them.


How about look for another shop if you wish more things to your liking make an agreement?


T



sonuvabish
Novice

Jun 25, 2022, 11:40 AM

Post #4 of 13 (305 views)
Re: Please help me with struts Sign In

I appreciate the response. But that doesn't tell me a whole lot. Why is it insane? Everything I google says 50-100K. Everything I google says I won't really notice because it's gradual and I will slowly degrade my suspension and tires for ignoring it.

Yes, it's an oil change place, but they sell tires. And yes, I'm extremely suspicious of them every time they try to upsell me anything. They never get my business for an upsell anyway, I go to my preferred place for repairs. But my research suggests that it's about time to change them.

So basically, if that's insane, when am I supposed to change, assuming I want to change them as preventative maintenance and before the shocks need to be replaced? I don't want to be caught broke and needing new struts because I didn't wait until the milestone of 100K miles. But if I should be waiting until 150K, then yeah, prob shouldn't be preforming maintenance.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 25, 2022, 11:47 AM

Post #5 of 13 (300 views)
Re: Please help me with struts Sign In

Yes, they do deteriorate slowly but it doesn't even start until about 100K. I have seen cars with 200K with original struts and no problem.

It is the strut manufacturers that tell you 50-100K so they can sell struts and shocks. I spent many years managing tire shops like this. They would run contests to see who could sell the most.

If you drove that car for another 50K with the same struts, you still wouldn't be able to tell the difference in ride..



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



sonuvabish
Novice

Jun 25, 2022, 12:03 PM

Post #6 of 13 (296 views)
Re: Please help me with struts Sign In

To clarify about this shop, I'm not mad at them about refusing the job. I was talking to the owner and he stopped me before I got even half way done listing all the parts I wanted installed (struts, strut bearings, isolators, boots, jounce bumpers, end links, end link bushings). I suspect the reason is because he doesn't know me and can't trust that I will get the correct parts, and/or that I won't blame them for something going wrong. That's understandable with building an assembly. The only issue is that an underling kinda already told me it was OK, so I was lucky to have called to schedule the appointment just after ordering, so could cancel at no cost. The owner was not really clear about whether they would do the job if he sourced them...all he said was they've only done quick-struts for the last few years. That might not even be true, he might have been just taking a negative stance against me bringing in parts for this. I don't really appreciate lying if he was, but whatever, he maybe wasn't comfortable with having to tell a customer no. I'll just pretend it never happened and ask them to inspect and go from there. But def no quick-struts.

But I disagree with you on the $$/biz stuff. Frankly, it's not my problem. I just called today and got an estimate from the place I will get the alignment from, since I will take it there for that. They predictably quoted me a price on quick-struts before I told them i was going to want an estimate on OEM. Their mark-up was well over 150%. That's over 2.5x the amount I could buy the same parts for. The "biz" has created this class of price hawks through their constant gouging. And in turn, they have created a niche for other garages to exist that let people bring in their parts; they can charge higher for labor without even having all the sophisticated equipment of a commercial garage or the economies of scale that the chains do. I'm not there to give charity--I'm there to conduct business.

Well, I think I'm going to just ask my preferred garage if they will take a look at the struts (and shocks, maybe the rears are worn and fronts aren't?). If they think the struts should be replaced, let them source all OEM parts if their estimate is reasonable--plus at least I'll have a warranty.


sonuvabish
Novice

Jun 25, 2022, 12:12 PM

Post #7 of 13 (292 views)
Re: Please help me with struts Sign In

Really? Is that the same with the shocks then too? Because replacing shocks isn't as painful. I may just take this advice and ignore the struts for awhile.

On a possibly related note, about a year ago, I heard loud rattling under my car, towards the front and center. Occurred while driving straight, usually at high speed. It was disturbing, sounded like I was dragging something--I pulled over on the highway. I happened several times, seemingly randomly, after the first time. I already knew I had a leaky resonator. So I replaced the resonator. Did not fix the issue. I had the car taken out for a road test. The techs failed to reproduce the sound. About 6 months later, my transmission blew and had to be rebuilt. Issue has not been heard since. So...would you also think the issue was associated with the transmission as opposed to bad strut mounts or something related to the strut assembly?


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 25, 2022, 12:20 PM

Post #8 of 13 (289 views)
Re: Please help me with struts Sign In

Struts are a little heavier duty than shocks but they are both the same principle. The general way to quick test shocks or struts is the jounce the suspension up and down hard and let go. If it stops bouncing by the 2nd bounce, the shocks/struts are good. They will normally leak when they are bad.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jun 25, 2022, 12:50 PM

Post #9 of 13 (281 views)
Re: Please help me with struts Sign In

OK, This "oil change place" probably has some agreement to sell certain brands or items if enough their price/cost goes DOWN? If you really don't need them that' "overselling" which is or should be illegal.

Prices, markups etc: YOU need to agree to costs never mind how much they paid or marked it up. That's a yes or no deal.

If you don't need the item it's just WRONG.

A good shop will check things to alert you hopefully even if they don't do that that type of work.

Just know it's a tough biz on them and you some just better at it communication wise.

Hey - the speedy oil change type places can be handy I see the prices out there is low profit so either speed makes it up or find other work if legit would be fine IMO.

Those places are also much less apt to pay techs very well who would leave as demand for experienced techs is seriously high now fewer people want this nightmare - it's hard work so where's the payback for new techs now?

It's just another mess that needs attention out there that's out of balance workers and the demand for that work.

I can't fix that.

YOU need to know your car is safe stinks if you can't get honesty out there - not saying dishonest but seems just out to sell, sell, sell no matter what isn't cool,

T



sonuvabish
Novice

Jun 26, 2022, 5:41 AM

Post #10 of 13 (246 views)
Re: Please help me with struts Sign In

Hammer--I've spent many fruitless hours researching the parts. I've definitely come across the bounce test. My conclusion was that this test is garbage, at least on a modern car.
First, it's only going to tell you if your car is boderline undrivable, which you should already know without a bounce test--making it useless for preventative maintenance applications.
Second, it's not testing the part of the strut that does the most work. It tests the parts that handle the big bumps. It won't test the part that handles small bumps and keeps your car steady in normal conditions. Regardless, I'm leaning towards holding off.

Unrelated, and I can post this somewhere else, but since I'm here...before my transmission blew up, I had it serviced. Drain and fill, plus new filter and gasket. The mechanic said they saw some metal shavings in the pan and was unsure if they were nothing or a concern--I did not see them. In hindsight, I was unsure if the mechanic actually saw them or was disclaiming a warranty.

A few months later my tranny blows. Internet says my car is notorious for known trans failures at my mileage level. Internet also says that the most common cause of trans failures after service is mechanic incompetence regarding under or overfilling the oil, or using the wrong oil. The trans lasted approximately 2000 miles after service, but that translated into about 9 months with Covid. The only potential symptom was the seemingly random, rattling/dragging sound mentioned earlier. So--what's your impression of the cause? I'm not really going to do anything about it, just wondering if I should be more wary of this mechanic.


sonuvabish
Novice

Jun 26, 2022, 6:06 AM

Post #11 of 13 (245 views)
Re: Please help me with struts Sign In

Tom--I imagine they do have agreements. Valvoline, Pennzoil, and Duralast are everywhere. Well, overselling is how they've made all their money. It's not usually untrue to say a new part will be better than the old one. The untrue part is usually that it's a wise purchase.

Well, they get you to agree. Everything is urgent. Everything is an emergency. The things that are undeniably unnecessary--it might not be an emergency, but it is highly recommended to get it done and soon. I don't know anything about cars, but I'm a price hawk. Women and young people don't have a chance. Having no money is what saves ignorant people from wasting it.

There may be some places out there who are perfectly honest and very useful. The well has been poisoned. Now, I have to research everything I am told. Price everything out. Get two opinions on everything. That's not me being a cheapskate, in my opinion. That's me avoiding being taken by an industry full of cons that routinely engage in questionable business practices across the board. Like I mentioned earlier, the mark-up on low-quality parts was in excess of 150%--and I included the cost of shipping and tax in what it would cost me, when they have them in their inventory and when they didn't include hidden garage fees. Looking at it less favorably to them, the mark-up was more like 200%. Why would I trust them when I know that either purchasing manager is incompetent or they are trying to jack my wallet? I know this is the rule, not the exception.

Lots of businesses are tough. Again, not my problem. I'm there to get the best deal, which usually means to minimize their profits. And many of them are obviously there to get the best deal--which usually means to maximize my expenses. At the end of the day, I want to win and that means I also want them to lose. Let them win against the women and children. If they want to play a different game, that's on them to change the business.

IMO, traditional full-service oil change/tire/repair are going to face tough times and start dying off like department stores. The internet has given access to all the parts information and the pricing--and people can buy like half of all car parts off of rockauto. You can get high quality OEM parts that will last 3x times longer for 50% less than the Chinese junk your shop wants to sell you in some cases. The new wave will be actually paying what it costs for the part that you want. And if that isn't a golden opportunity for techs to charge a higher rate, then I wouldn't be blaming the customer; I'd be wondering where the graft is and where so much money is being wasted.


(This post was edited by sonuvabish on Jun 26, 2022, 6:24 AM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 26, 2022, 6:35 AM

Post #12 of 13 (235 views)
Re: Please help me with struts Sign In

OK, you put your money on Dr Google.

One last piece of advice...... Call the dealer and ask them what criteria they use to determine if a strut is defective under warranty.

I tried to save you. I'm outa here.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jun 26, 2022, 6:59 AM

Post #13 of 13 (233 views)
Re: Please help me with struts Sign In

You are savvy and becoming educated at the biz world, never mind it's vehicle repair and service.

The issue is partly how costly it is to have the place for working on vehciles, then the hazmat control, techs that know how to do it right the FIRST time hopefully.

Telling you it's an "emergency" I'd want to see what they meant if not already understood. THERE SURE ARE THNGS THAT ARE UNKNOWN TILL TECHS GET A LOOK AND SEE IT! Cars can kill of course - wheels fall off so the responsibility is intense so are other things we do and need done.

Scaring you into it bother me. If something unknown if I didn't totally know and trust (I do with most other things) would like to see it myself.

Then the excuse they can't show you because shop rules are no customers in the working area! Both reasonable and not there are dangers all around a working shop don't get YOU HURT just walking thru it.

Old fart so today take pics and show you some issue on phone or device.

I know you can find parts for dirt vs what you'll pay so do they then volume makes it even cheaper. RockAuto type volume is cheap to you imagine they probably got 200% for volume of what's sold!

Storing parts for millions of models over decades of vehicles is costly somewhere I'm in very costly Metro Boston you don't warehouse stuff on this real estate and wait years to sell it.

You are so interested which is good it might also be biting you so try to find the right shop not to scare you but show you found things if a surprise.

Know costs up front any sneaking in fees after a quote isn't fair IMO for much of anything.

The short note: Hammer said how to check your own struts so do it!
You can tell or look for leaks if any. Car wouldn't ride as expected or handle properly if bad enough the shock absorption alone if not there cars feel like crap over bumps.

Find a shop that will deal with your level of interest in costs plus if asking for highest quality say so.

That would solve a lot of your frustration if you can find that I'm a customer for things too drives me nuts other things totally,

Tom







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