The car is built from many small yet important parts which altogether make it work. One such thing is a strut, as opposed to its size, it actually plays a major role in the dynamics of a vehicle.
Bad struts have a major impact on the overall drive of your vehicle, and they are the backbone of a good suspension system.
1. Could Bad Struts Be Disastrous?
Front struts have gone bad to have a very negative effect on various parts of a vehicle. Following are the parts which get affected the most.
The front struts are in direct connection to the tires, which is the reason why tires are affected the most by bad struts.
The chain doesn’t stop and tires being worn out gives a major setback to your suspension system as well.
As bad struts are already wearing the tires out, its pretty simple that the transmission will be forced to use extra power.
This extra stress bore by the transmission will damage it causing it to deteriorate way before it was supposed to, reducing its age.
The misaligned tires as a resulted by bad struts will use the extra horsepower of the engine, forcing it to give the vehicle a harder push than it is meant to.
The engine providing extra power will make it exhausted over time, and the vehicle’s health will go downhill fast which, if not taken care of immediately, could use quite a fortune out of your pocket in the long term.
2. Symptoms of Bad Struts
Now that you know the deadly consequences of struts going bad, you probably need to be aware whenever yours start going bad so to take care of them immediately saving your precious money.
Let’s see the ways how can you actually figure out that the struts are going bad even if you’re not much of a vehicle person.
I. Uncomfortable Ride
This is usually the symptom that’s noticed before any other as there’s nothing worse than spending huge sums on luxury vehicles and still getting uncomfortable rides.
As we discussed, bad struts directly affect the suspension system causing its performance to go down significantly.
However, it’s not only struts that can be causing an uncomfortable ride so unless you’re a geek, but it’s also recommended to get help from a local mechanic and if everything seems to be good, bad struts are the reason behind this.
The front struts being directly connected to the chassis and the wheels, withstand all the major bumps experienced by the vehicles. Without them, the ride would be pretty bumpy as they practically hold the entire weight of the vehicle.
With bad struts, a constant knocking noise will mostly be heard from the Fender, whenever you hit any bumps or uneven road. These noises keep increasing in frequency as the situation keeps going worse.
So, if you’re experiencing weird noises from the front of your car, it’s probably time to get a professional checkup.
III. Unusual Wear Out of Tires
As already mentioned earlier, tires are the major factor in the stability of the car. Due to the deterioration of shocks when the struts are going bad, tires get the major damage and quickly wear out.
The struts cause the shocks to perform under par which in turn put immense pressure on the tires inflicting heavy damage to them hence wearing them out.
You might think that tires are meant to wear out sooner or later, so how do you really know it’s the struts that are causing it? Well, tires do wear out, but they wear out at the same speed no matter its the front or the back tires.
While if the struts have gone bad, the wearing out of tires will be quite uneven with one tire wearing out faster than the other. If you notice this, there’s none other reason that can be causing it but bad struts.
So, whenever you feel like the tires of your vehicle are wearing out unevenly, immediately get the struts checked out to save yourself the fortune of getting new tires.
IV. Unstable Vehicle
The front struts are in direct connection to the front frame of the vehicle. So, the stability of the vehicle is highly dependent on them and them not working properly causes the vehicle to lose balance.
Imagine you’re driving your vehicle on just a regular day and notice unusual swaying of the car to one side or the other, front struts going bad could probably be the cause for it.
This situation is quite dangerous, so it should be taken care of as soon as possible.
However, it’s not only bad struts that could be causing it. Unaligned tires could also be a possible cause so get the alignment checked before you go for the struts.
If there is nothing wrong with the alignment, then it can be safely said that you need to replace the struts of your vehicle.
V. Jumping of Vehicle At High Speeds
When you’re driving inside the city on reasonable speed, you are not very likely to notice much instability as there are certain factors which could be causing it and no vehicle is super smooth at slow speeds.
However, bad struts cause the vehicle to adopt a weird “jumping” behavior even on highway speeds when the road is buttery smooth.
This is caused by unequal behavior of the front and back portions of the car. While in average roads, this could often occur, but if noticed on a smooth road and higher speed, there’s a clear sign of bad struts.
Hence, immediately get your struts checked out in case of bumpy rides at high speeds when it doesn’t make sense.
3. What Is The Solution?
Now that we know the way of figuring out if you’re suffering from bad struts and the deadly consequences that you will have to face by ignoring them let’s look at some solutions in case you’re stuck with bad struts.
While the obvious easier approach is to visit a mechanic straight-away and the rest will be taken care of. Obviously, this would cost you quite a few bucks, and if you’re on a budget, you might want to replace them yourself.
We’ll see a step by step guide on replacing bad struts. Before that, we have made a list of the equipment you will need to complete the process yourself.
- Pry Bar
- Additional Struts
- Additional nuts and bolts, if needed
This is pretty much everything that will be needed; once you have them all, you can safely continue on to the process. So without any further wait, let’s see how to replace the struts by yourself at home.
- Get a jack stand and jack your vehicle up.
- Locate the strut and loosen up the two bolts using a wrench and socket.
- Look for three nuts under the hood.
- Loosen these nuts using a ratchet and a socket.
- Get a pry bar.
- Use the pry bar to pry the bottom of strut away from mounting on the steering knuckle.
- Take the strut off.
- Take a spring compressor.
- Use a spring compressor and put it over the coils of the spring of the strut
- Tighten the compressor using a wrench which in turn compresses the strut spring.
- Use a wrench to loosen up the upper nut from the strut.
- Pull the spring off the strut by pulling the upper strut plate first.
- Put the spring on the new strut.
- Put the upper strut plate on the new strut as well.
- Tighten the upper strut nut using a wrench.
- Again use the spring compressor but this time in the opposite manner. Use it to extend the spring installed inside the strut system fully.
- Now put this assembled strut system back under the vehicle bypassing the upper strut studs through the holes.
- Mount it on the steering knuckle the same way it was before we uninstalled it. Push the base of the strut to mount it back.
- Put the tow strut bolts under the hood the tighten the nuts onto them.
- Make the bolts tighter using a wrench and ratchet.
- Put the nuts on the upper three bolts.
- Tighten them fully using a wrench and ratchet.
- Repeat the process for all of the struts.
- Remove the jack, and you’re good to go!
As you can clearly see, the process is quite simple, and if you’re determined enough and have time on your hand, you could easily carry it out yourself as opposed to taking your vehicle all the way to the mechanic spending your money.
However, before you start off to do it yourself, make sure you have got all the supplies you will need throughout the process so you won’t have to run around during the work and can complete it without any inconveniences.