Tips & Advice
Can struts be replaced by shocks?
No, struts cannot be replaced by shocks. Though these parts both work to enhance a vehicle's ride quality, they are not interchangeable. Each wheel will have either a shock or strut, but never both. A vehicle might have struts on the front axle and shocks on the rear, so it's possible for a single vehicle to have both.
Do all cars have shocks and struts?
No, not all cars have shocks and struts. Some vehicles are equipped solely with struts, while others have just shocks. Shocks support the car's suspension, while struts are an integral part of a vehicle's suspension assembly. Both these parts work to improve the way a vehicle travels over bumps and rough road surfaces.
What are the signs that a car's shocks and struts need to be changed?
There are certain visual signs that indicate a car's shocks and struts need to be changed. If there are leaks from the struts and shocks, or if they look dented or damaged, repair is necessary. Diminished handling--if the car has a bumpy ride quality or stiff steering response--can also mean it's time to change the shocks and struts.
How long do shocks and struts usually last on a car?
Shocks and struts can last anywhere from 50,000-100,000 miles or more. If you have rough driving habits, this will significantly shorten the life of these parts. If the shocks or struts begin to leak or if they are broken or damaged, replace them immediately. Ideally, struts should be replaced in pairs.
When should shocks and struts be changed?
Shocks and struts should be changed if your car displays instability when braking or poor steering response, which could indicate a problem that calls for shock and strut replacement. Excessive vehicle bounce, uneven tire wear, and leaks from the shock or strut body are also signs that your shocks and struts might need to be replaced.
How much does it cost to replace shocks and struts?
The total cost of replacing shocks and struts can range from $500-$600 or more, including parts and labor. The parts can cost $200-$250, and labor can cost $300-$400. Before replacing struts and shocks, perform a full inspection of the vehicle's steering and suspension to see if the damaged struts and shocks have caused any other problems in the vehicle.
What are shocks and struts?
Shocks and struts are parts that influence a car's ride quality. Shocks prevent the car from bouncing on uneven road surfaces. They can also reduce the rate of roll, brake dive, and acceleration squat. Struts are dampers that are a key part of the car's suspension system. Like shocks, they work to improve ride quality, but they also provide structural support for the vehicle's suspension.
Is it worth repairing an old alternator or is it better to buy a new one?
In some cases, it's worth repairing an old alternator. If some parts go bad, they can be inexpensive to repair. For example, alternator belts can be quite cheap, and parts and labor for handling this repair will run you between $100 and $125 for most vehicles, which is significantly less than the cost of a new alternator. If the total cost of the repair exceeds 50 percent of the cost of replacing the alternator, it makes sense to invest in a new alternator.
How long can a car run on a bad alternator?
If your car's alternator has gone bad, you may be able to squeeze in a short journey, but the car's battery will drain very quickly without the alternator's support. Stop-and-go traffic will place even more pressure on the battery, and so will using auxiliary items such as the radio, air conditioning, heater, windshield wipers, and headlights.
What is a one-wire alternator?
A one-wire alternator is a type of alternator that can be easily put into place with the installation of a single wire. The key benefit that these alternators bring is that they are simple to install. However, many one-wire alternators provide low output when the car's engine is idle, and this can burden the car's electrical system if you're idling at a red light with the headlights and stereo on. Some one-wire alternators also require you to rev the car's engine to a certain rpm to activate the alternator and begin the charging process.