A strut is a suspension component that holds the tire in place. It’s a spring that supports the weight of your vehicle. It’s also a shock absorber that cushions the bumps in the road. The strut mounts to your car’s chassis (or frame), which is why it’s called an “upper control arm.”
The car strut is one of the most essential parts for long-term car performance. It helps to keep your tires in place, and it helps with suspension. If there are any issues with the struts, then you might have to replace them.
In this article, we will discuss how to check for leaking struts and what symptoms indicate that they need replacement.
Table of contents
- How to Check for Car Strut Leakage
- Symptoms of Car Strut Leaking
- Is it Ok to Drive with a Leaking Strut?
- How to Replace a Car Strut
How to Check for Car Strut Leakage
A strut is a shock absorber that supports your car’s suspension. Strut leaks are usually caused by worn-out struts, which cause the shock absorber to leak fluid when driving on uneven roads. There are several ways to check for a strut leak:
- Check your vehicle’s tires for noticeable wear and tear: if you’ve recently had it in for repairs. If you notice your tires wearing out quickly or unevenly, this may be an indication of leaking struts.
- Listen for any noises coming from underneath the hood while driving (like squealing brakes): This could indicate that there’s something wrong with your struts and they’re starting to fail.
Symptoms of Car Strut Leaking
1. Excessive Bouncing
One of the symptoms that your car strut is leaking is excessive bouncing and this can be caused when your car has been idle for too long. This means that your car can start to bounce excessively when you drive it after a long time.
2. Front “Nose-Diving”
A nose-dive is when a car hits a bump, and the front tire drops down. When this happens, it can be dangerous because the driver loses control of their vehicle.
When air escapes from your struts, it causes them to lose their stiffness also signifies one of the symptoms of car strut leaking. If you experience nose-diving, you have to engage the services of an auto mechanic to get it checked and fixed.
3. Decreased Performance
When a car strut is leaking, it can cause your car to lose performance. This is because the struts are designed to provide a springing effect for your car. The springing effect helps the car go up and down, as well as rotate left and right. When fluid leaks out of the strut, this will decrease its ability to make these movements. You may notice that your vehicle seems sluggish when starting from a standstill or accelerating quickly from a stoplight.
Is it Ok to Drive with a Leaking Strut?
No, it is not OK to drive with a leaking strut. Driving with a leaking strut can lead to premature wear on other components of your vehicle and may even result in an accident.
Driving with low fluid levels also changes how your vehicle rides over bumps because they won’t be absorbing shock forces very well at all anymore. You’ll feel every bump in the road under all circumstances (including when going over relatively smooth surfaces), which makes traveling uncomfortable at best.
However, if you’re short on cash or don’t want to put off fixing the problem, you could manage driving with a leaking strut. Just be prepared for some inconveniences along the way. You’ll likely notice that the steering feels heavy and that steering inputs are not very responsive.
This happens because fluid levels in the shocks will begin to drop as soon as they start leaking out of their seals; since fluid acts as a lubricant for suspension components like struts and shocks, this means less resistance against motion inside those parts so they move more easily than usual.
How to Replace a Car Strut
1. Raise The Vehicle
You can use a floor jack to raise the car and keep it in place, but using jack stands is recommended for safety reasons. Make sure that you are on a level surface when you set up the jack and stand to raise the car.
If you aren’t, you could end up with one side of your car higher than another or with uneven tire pressure as well (which can also cause other problems).
Once you’re sure that everything is stable, lower the vehicle onto its wheels again and engage in park mode before taking off any weights from underneath it.
2. Get a Spring Compressor
A spring compressor is the best tool for this job. You can rent one from a local auto parts store, or buy one online. To use it, you’ll have to compress the spring so that the strut can be removed from under the car.
It will take some time and effort to compress both struts down, but it’s necessary to remove them safely without damaging them any more than they already are.
Once they’re compressed enough that they’re not going anywhere while you work on them (about 3 inches), lift one side of your car with jacks so that its weight isn’t bearing down on its suspension components. Then start working.
3. Remove Old Struts
Remove the nuts, bolts, and washers. Also, remove the shock absorber. Remove the cotter pin from the shaft end of your old strut assembly. If you cannot find one on your old strut assembly, you will need to buy a new one at most auto parts stores.
Remove your spring from its mounting brackets on top of both struts and set it aside in a safe place. Ensure you set it in a position where it won’t get damaged or dirty while working on your car’s suspension system. (make sure there is no dirt or grease on it so that when you put everything back together again later, everything will fit properly).
Then, use pliers if necessary to remove both boots from their respective ends of each strut assembly; they should come off easily once you have removed all four nuts holding them in place at either end of each strut assembly.
Set these aside in a safe place as well so nothing gets damaged while working with them this way too.
4. Install The New Struts
Here are the steps to achieving this:
- Use the spring compressor to compress the strut.
- Install the new strut, boot, and strut mount.
- Install the strut tower, lower control arm, and upper control arm.
- Install a stabilizer bar if needed (not on all cars).
5. Test Drive
After installing, take your car out for a test drive. When you take your car for a test drive, pay attention to any abnormal sounds or vibrations. If you hear any rubbing noises from the suspension system, it could be a sign that one of the struts is leaking.
You should also check to see if there is any abnormal handling, tire wear, and pressure levels. Lastly, make sure that none of your tires are flat when they shouldn’t be.
6. Get a Professional Alignment
Getting a proper professional alignment after test driving will help in restoring your car’s ride quality and safety. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then this may not be the best thing for you. You can check out this post on how long does an alignment take to have an understanding of all you need to know about wheel alignment.
However, if you’re looking for an excuse to get under your car and tinker with it, then by all means. Just make sure that whatever tool(s) you use aren’t dull or have any other type of defect in the first. That’ll just make matters worse when one of these leaks happens again (and they could).
Car struts are a part of the suspension system, designed to absorb bumps and keep your wheels in contact with the road. They’re attached to the vehicle’s body by a strut mount, which provides support for them as well as some protection from road debris or other hazards.
When it compresses too much or too quickly though (like when there’s a leak), you may suffer from poor handling, or worse yet: loss of control while driving.
The common symptoms of car strut leaking are excessive bouncing, decreased performance, and front nose-diving.
It is advisable that you take your car for proper diagnosis when you notice these symptoms in order to prevent more complications in the future.