When should I replace the Struts on my Subaru?
This question comes up a lot, everyday it seems, and there really isn’t an easy one size fits all kind of an answer. Struts can develop a leak of the hydraulic fluid and start making noise over bumps or an immediate change in how your Subaru performs may be noticed as well. Struts can also slowly over time start to lose the gas charge creating a “weak strut” and because this happens slowly over time the driver also slowly adjusts to how poorly the Subaru actually handles now. In the NW we have so many potholes, so many challenging road conditions with rain, sand and debris. Struts greatly affect so much of how your Subaru feels, it starts with how it handles, but how it handles also affects how well the brakes perform, and most notably in a “panic brake” type situation, something all to common on around here. Anytime there are signs of fluid leaking from the Struts they really should be replaced, and other than a break or bend in the strut due to some sort of an accident, Fluid leaks are really the only visual sign indicating a strut replacement is warranted there is.
From there it’s knowing how the car should perform Vs what it is doing now. These are some but not all of the indications that perhaps your Struts have become weak.
- Does your Subaru make you question your “sea legs” when making a lane change, or seem to sway excessively ?
- When going into or coming out of a corner do you feel safe and stable.
- In a sudden slow down from higher speeds or even low speeds to stop, does the car lean forward aggressively?
- Do you hear excessive noise over bumps or potholes?
Why don’t shops bring this up more?
I mentioned earlier that Struts are a huge part of how your Subaru performs, and with that comes an expense when they need to be replaced, and that fact more than any other makes shops reluctant to talk to you about Struts when we are also monitoring all of the other systems you inevitably have to invest in. Unlike the old days with shocks, struts take quite a bit longer to replace and do require the springs be compressed to change the Strut assembly. Also because you may not be complaining about how the car feels, shops will most likely only bring it up when it’s very obvious, such as leaks, or very noticeable symptoms while driving. The Strut assembly is both a housing and a cartridge, the design is such that there is a spring in the way of performing any real test of the cartridge to determine if it has become weak.
A Jounce test while pushing on either the front or rear bumper can be done but will not yield very good results.
Now there are going to many individuals with varying degrees of opinions on this. Ours is that the Struts should be inspected as often as possible for signs of leakage and also be evaluated yearly once the car has over 100,000 miles or is at least 7 years old for performance related problems. We are offering a free strut evaluation as well as discounts to replace the Struts if needed for the next couple of months. You can schedule below as well.
Thanks for reading