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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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front struts replacements

Hi all,

i recently did a laser alignment and was told that my 2012 rav4 base 4cy 4wd has weak front struts. i was quoted $1000 from dealer to change both of them. i contacted a local mechanic he asked for 700 to change both with oem struts. now i am confused. should i trust local mechanics over toyota techs? also i live in NYC where there are a lot of potholes. i also do.a lot of city/bad / off road driving a lot. i need some good long lasting struts. should i go with oem or there are better more reliable option?

i have 77k miles on it and never changed front struts before. till now it was the factory one.


thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 04:07 PM
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This isn't a complex job requiring special dealer-only tools so I'd go to the local mechanic, and even his price is high IMO. I'd check around. (See my signature.)

Also, other members will likely recommend better-than-stock struts and they'll probably be lower priced than the dealer.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salman1922 View Post
Hi all,

i recently did a laser alignment and was told that my 2012 rav4 base 4cy 4wd has weak front struts. i was quoted $1000 from dealer to change both of them. i contacted a local mechanic he asked for 700 to change both with oem struts. now i am confused. should i trust local mechanics over toyota techs? also i live in NYC where there are a lot of potholes. i also do.a lot of city/bad / off road driving a lot. i need some good long lasting struts. should i go with oem or there are better more reliable option?

i have 77k miles on it and never changed front struts before. till now it was the factory one.


thanks in advance.

what is the reason for replacement? Did you complain about something with the car or this was recommended after routine oil/tire/whatever change? I read the part about alignment, I wonder if you complained about something at that point. 'Laser alignment' triggers some alarm for me- it is nothing special, all of the ones I ever been in the last 20 years used lasers. Still requires tech to know what they're doing. BS numbers printed by computer are still BS numbers .


Weak struts usually mean 1 thing- the corner of the car continues to bounce more than once after you lean on it and sharply release. If it goes up-down they are good and the new ones will not improve anything. If the corner continues to go up and down multiple times then yes, they need to be replaced.
This is no urgent matter either: my own timeline for such issue is months, not days or even weeks. It's more of annoyance than anything. Usually only 2 of them require replacement and others can last another 5-10 years.
What actually fails are gas shock absorbers located in the center of the strut springs. I never seen springs themselves failing. I think the shocks can be had for under $100 / pair. I usually do alignment after replacing front shocks.

2011 RAV4 V6 Limited
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=max5gen;2682197]
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Originally Posted by salman1922 View Post


what is the reason for replacement? Did you complain about something with the car or this was recommended after routine oil/tire/whatever change? I read the part about alignment, I wonder if you complained about something at that point. 'Laser alignment' triggers some alarm for me- it is nothing special, all of the ones I ever been in the last 20 years used lasers. Still requires tech to know what they're doing. BS numbers printed by computer are still BS numbers [IMG class=inlineimg]/forums/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif[/IMG].


Weak struts usually mean 1 thing- the corner of the car continues to bounce more than once after you lean on it and sharply release. If it goes up-down they are good and the new ones will not improve anything. If the corner continues to go up and down multiple times then yes, they need to be replaced.
This is no urgent matter either: my own timeline for such issue is months, not days or even weeks. It's more of annoyance than anything. Usually only 2 of them require replacement and others can last another 5-10 years.
What actually fails are gas shock absorbers located in the center of the strut springs. I never seen springs themselves failing. I think the shocks can be had for under $100 / pair. I usually do alignment after replacing front shocks.

so besically it was one of those shell stores, they do $50 alignment. i did laser alignment and he showed me on the computer that my front struts bar is on the red zone while it should be on.the green. he said its weak and to change the strut.

i have no leaking or excessive bouncing or any noise., no.uneven tread. i mean i absolutely feel every bump on the road ofcourse but thats how rav4 is, its a 15k base suv not a Lexus. its always been like this, I think most of the 4.3 rav4s are like that.
its just i am afraid that if it actually is bad shock, it will later mess up my shock mount or do more damage as i am not a mechanic or pro.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 08:18 PM
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[quote=salman1922;2682241]
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Originally Posted by max5gen View Post


so besically it was one of those shell stores, they do $50 alignment. i did laser alignment and he showed me on the computer that my front struts bar is on the red zone while it should be on.the green. he said its weak and to change the strut.

i have no leaking or excessive bouncing or any noise., no.uneven tread. i mean i absolutely feel every bump on the road ofcourse but thats how rav4 is, its a 15k base suv not a Lexus. its always been like this, I think most of the 4.3 rav4s are like that.
its just i am afraid that if it actually is bad shock, it will later mess up my shock mount or do more damage as i am not a mechanic or pro.

IMO you were fed sales pitch BS. BTW, if your alignment was fine (steering wheel at the center, no pulling left/right when not holding the steering wheel, even tire wear) I'd live alignment alone even if it was free, especially at the shop like that. My car alignment experiences were very dependent on the shop doing it ranging from them unable to make car go straight with my hands off the wheel after multiple tries to the one who did everything correctly on the first try on the same car. The price didn't really correlate with outcome . The trouble with alignment service is it is hard to convince them to 'adjust' their previous attempt results as they need to do it all over again pretty much doing it for free. Alignment was usually triggered by other repairs replacing other worn out components, not on its own.

I wouldn't worry about any potential damage, I'm not aware of any and definitely not in your case.

2011 RAV4 V6 Limited
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 01:02 PM
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Your struts can be worn even if you do not see a leak or uneven tire wear. Those are example of extremely bad struts. You can't really do a bounce test as this does not seem to work on this vehicle. If you feel every bump on the road then maybe it is time to replace the struts. If you are replacing them with original Toyota struts the price should be around $500. The struts retail for $155 ($120 online) and labour is 2 hours. Labour rate can be $60 to $120 with dealers in the upper range.

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2005 RAV4 Base 4WD -sold
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by DL175 View Post
Your struts can be worn even if you do not see a leak or uneven tire wear. Those are example of extremely bad struts. You can't really do a bounce test as this does not seem to work on this vehicle. If you feel every bump on the road then maybe it is time to replace the struts. If you are replacing them with original Toyota struts the price should be around $500. The struts retail for $155 ($120 online) and labour is 2 hours. Labour rate can be $60 to $120 with dealers in the upper range.

This is getting interesting- OP decided to use alignment coupon and ending up with $500 repair bill replacing struts on 7 yo car which was fine except 'red zone' on the alignment computer that can't show shock wear to begin with? Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
The bounce test would work on any car- that's what shocks are there for, to convert these up-down movements to heat. The moment they quit doing so they need replacement. I wonder what was other criteria used to call for struts replacement if the direct test didn't work? May be they should've left them alone if the car was not bouncing? Once upon a time my rear shocks failed differently- they froze and that was an experience- I literally felt every small imperfection on the road as rear wheels were practically 'welded' to the frame. The car was 21 yo at the time and definition of rust bucket, not relevant to OP 'troubles'.

The alignment is more art than science even with lasers/computers involved- tech still attaches mirrors to the wheels and fraction of mm error there throws off the entire setup to any zone you like. I never succeeded getting the same numbers on subsequent tries at the same place with the same car. It got me curios once and I blew $100 for educational purposes- no, they were unable to reproduce day before numbers with all that equipment. The car suspension was not worn out or lose, the whole point of doing alignment was to get it back straight after multiple components replacement.

2011 RAV4 V6 Limited
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 02:38 PM
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[quote=salman1922;2682241]
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Originally Posted by max5gen View Post


so besically it was one of those shell stores, they do $50 alignment. i did laser alignment and he showed me on the computer that my front struts bar is on the red zone while it should be on.the green. he said its weak and to change the strut.

i have no leaking or excessive bouncing or any noise., no.uneven tread. i mean i absolutely feel every bump on the road ofcourse but thats how rav4 is, its a 15k base suv not a Lexus. its always been like this, I think most of the 4.3 rav4s are like that.
its just i am afraid that if it actually is bad shock, it will later mess up my shock mount or do more damage as i am not a mechanic or pro.
Worn struts do not effect alignment. Worn springs that sag the suspension can, not not likely worn sagged enough to. What spec is in the red? Camber, caster, toe?

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DL175 View Post
Your struts can be worn even if you do not see a leak or uneven tire wear. Those are example of extremely bad struts. You can't really do a bounce test as this does not seem to work on this vehicle. If you feel every bump on the road then maybe it is time to replace the struts. If you are replacing them with original Toyota struts the price should be around $500. The struts retail for $155 ($120 online) and labour is 2 hours. Labour rate can be $60 to $120 with dealers in the upper range.

the dealership asked for $1000 without alignment to change the front struts. an independent reputed mechanic asked around $700. i dont know what to do. i guess its NY thats why they charge this much.

is there any other way to know if its actually that bad?
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Worn struts do not effect alignment. Worn springs that sag the suspension can, not not likely worn sagged enough to. What spec is in the red? Camber, caster, toe?


thats the funny this. it wasn't camber or toe. he said its showing that front struts are weak and just going bad and i should change it. and the mechanic said it not the manager. they quoted me price $780.

couple of toyota dealers around me asked over $1000 just to change front struts. another reputed mechanic asked $700. i really dont want to damage my suspension system for this. specially where i live its a pit of million potholes. so i was thinking for better and long lastung struts. this factory one lasted till now when its 77k. i want something better as i drive a lot on bad road.
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