Front strut is leaking

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JEDI

Lifer
Sep 25, 2001
27,846
1,608
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2005 Mazda3i AT, 150k miles

went for an oil change at the dealership.
the dealership always perform a free 'full circle' inspection.

they said my front strut was leaking. recommended replacing both.
4hrs labor ($100/hr) and $540 for both struts = $1000 :eek:

they showed me where it was leaking but i couldnt tell so i i didnt get it fixed.

How can i tell if a front strut is going bad?
and what would happen if i didnt replace a leaky strut?
 
May 13, 2009
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I just changed the struts on my Mustang yesterday. I'm a noob when it comes to mechanic work. Im not gonna lie I'm pretty tired from wrestling with the nuts and bolts but it's done. I bought 2 struts (front) and 2 shocks (rear) for $269 to my door. A shop told me they'd do it for $800+ and they were going to put friggin Monroe's (cheap junk) on there. I put Tokico blues front and back and still saved $500. If you are willing to get your hands dirty and invest in some tools (which can be reused for other projects) you can handle this.
 
May 13, 2009
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Very bad.

$270 per strut? God anus damn crap.
Quick look on google shows some KYB struts available for $80 a piece. $160 in parts and a couple hundred in tools (floor jack, jack stands, sockets, etc..) and he still saves $700 and has tools for another job.
 

Raizinman

Platinum Member
Sep 7, 2007
2,339
64
91
Are your tires cupped? Run your hand over your tire. Does it feel smooth? It's an old mechanic trick to squirt oil on shocks or struts and then show the customer that their shock is leaking.

If you have a 160,000 on your original Mazda struts, you are long due for struts. You can purchase complete strut assemblies from RockAuto.com (Monroe) for $116 each. That would be $232 for both sides. This is the complete assembly with coil spring. Very easy to bolt right in. It should take you about 1.5 hours per side (for in inexperienced mechanic) and requires no special hand tool. After you get the new struts in, you must get an alignment, add another $79. This brings the total to a bit over $300.

This is how I would proceed. You don't need any fancy shmancy shocks. I would highly recommend getting the complete assembly, this way you won't have to worry about compressing the coil spring and likewise, your old spring is probably worn out too.
 
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woodie1

Diamond Member
Mar 7, 2000
5,947
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If you have a 160,000 on your original Mazda struts, you are long due for struts. You can purchase complete strut assemblies from RockAuto.com (Monroe) for $116 each. That would be $232 for both sides. This is the complete assembly with coil spring. Very easy to bolt right in. It should take you about 1.5 hours per side (for in inexperienced mechanic) and requires no special hand tool. After you get the new struts in, you must get an alignment, add another $79. This brings the total to a bit over $300.

This is how I would proceed. You don't need any fancy shmancy shocks. I would highly recommend getting the complete assembly, this way you won't have to worry about compressing the coil spring and likewise, your old spring is probably worn out too.
This.
 

Gs dewd

Senior member
Dec 22, 2011
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If they are leaking then yes they need to be replace. Call around and get other estimates on the job. And by no means attempt to do this yourself. The springs are under tremendous pressure, removing the center nut without the spring clamp down and compressed can kill you and anyone around you. Do not play with them. And yes I am a certified mechanic and a $1000 bill on replacing the front struts is extremely high to me. The bill should be about half that.
 

SparkyJJO

Lifer
May 16, 2002
13,357
6
81
If they are leaking then yes they need to be replace. Call around and get other estimates on the job. And by no means attempt to do this yourself. The springs are under tremendous pressure, removing the center nut without the spring clamp down and compressed can kill you and anyone around you. Do not play with them. And yes I am a certified mechanic and a $1000 bill on replacing the front struts is extremely high to me. The bill should be about half that.
I guess I have broken some rule by doing my own suspension, yet I'm still alive :hmm:

It is called using the proper tools correctly. If the OP isn't mechanically inclined then no, he should probably not touch it, but if he is it isn't that hard to properly use a spring compressor.
 
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Gs dewd

Senior member
Dec 22, 2011
255
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That's right "if he is mechanically inclined" and knows how to properly use the tool. I take it as he is not due to the fact of the questions he asked. I have no objection to people repairing there own cars and such, hell I actually encourage people to try and learn to do it. But there are somethings they must be very careful with and struts are one of them. It may look easy and all but it can seriously hurt or kill you if you don't know exactly what your doing. You apparently have some mechanical ability but that doesn't mean everyone has.
 

Raizinman

Platinum Member
Sep 7, 2007
2,339
64
91
If they are leaking then yes they need to be replace. Call around and get other estimates on the job. And by no means attempt to do this yourself. The springs are under tremendous pressure, removing the center nut without the spring clamp down and compressed can kill you and anyone around you. Do not play with them. And yes I am a certified mechanic and a $1000 bill on replacing the front struts is extremely high to me. The bill should be about half that.
Then obviously you know that by replacing the entire strut assembly there is no need to release the pressure of the coil spring. No need for a spring compressor. No need to remove the center nut on the strut. Not counting the wheel, about half a dozen bolts or so to remove the strut. A very simple job. An experiened mechanic could easily do this job in 30 minutes or less.

There is a 25 minute video on YourTube on how to replace the struts. Even though this video is for removing the coil spring, I still recommend that the OP (a somewhat inexperiened mechanic) replace the entire strut assembly. This video is a great way to see what nuts and bolts are necessary to remove. www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKtc-IEGS8Q
 

Kalvin00

Lifer
Jan 11, 2003
12,705
4
81
You're lucky they lasted this long... Mazda uses junk shocks.

The RF shock on my Speed3 started leaking at 51K miles.
 

Gs dewd

Senior member
Dec 22, 2011
255
0
71
Then obviously you know that by replacing the entire strut assembly there is no need to release the pressure of the coil spring. No need for a spring compressor. No need to remove the center nut on the strut. Not counting the wheel, about half a dozen bolts or so to remove the strut. A very simple job. An experiened mechanic could easily do this job in 30 minutes or less.

There is a 25 minute video on YourTube on how to replace the struts. Even though this video is for removing the coil spring, I still recommend that the OP (a somewhat inexperiened mechanic) replace the entire strut assembly. This video is a great way to see what nuts and bolts are necessary to remove. www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKtc-IEGS8Q
Actually I did forget about loaded struts. Yes he can use those if it isn't to cost prohibitive for him. Some loaded struts can be pricey.
 

Vdubchaos

Lifer
Nov 11, 2009
10,411
10
0
Are your tires cupped? Run your hand over your tire. Does it feel smooth? It's an old mechanic trick to squirt oil on shocks or struts and then show the customer that their shock is leaking.

If you have a 160,000 on your original Mazda struts, you are long due for struts. You can purchase complete strut assemblies from RockAuto.com (Monroe) for $116 each. That would be $232 for both sides. This is the complete assembly with coil spring. Very easy to bolt right in. It should take you about 1.5 hours per side (for in inexperienced mechanic) and requires no special hand tool. After you get the new struts in, you must get an alignment, add another $79. This brings the total to a bit over $300.

This is how I would proceed. You don't need any fancy shmancy shocks. I would highly recommend getting the complete assembly, this way you won't have to worry about compressing the coil spring and likewise, your old spring is probably worn out too.
Worn out spring?

NEVER

Just change the shocks and you will be fine.

PS. Just about any service place will compress your spring for like $20.

Just do research on the procedure and know exactly what you are doing so that you don't get hurt. If that spring flies out you will be lucky to get away with your life.
 
Sep 7, 2009
12,960
3
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As long as you're careful, pay attention to what you're doing, and use the tool properly then there is nothing at all wrong with using a spring compressor yourself.

That being said, for most of these situations it makes sense to just buy the spring/strut entire assembly from monroe.

...As someone else said, I sort of doubt that the leaking strut is legit. I wouldn't put it past a dealer to squirt oil on it or whatever and make up a bunch of BS to get you to change them.
 
Aug 23, 2000
15,511
1
81
If they are leaking then yes they need to be replace. Call around and get other estimates on the job. And by no means attempt to do this yourself. The springs are under tremendous pressure, removing the center nut without the spring clamp down and compressed can kill you and anyone around you. Do not play with them. And yes I am a certified mechanic and a $1000 bill on replacing the front struts is extremely high to me. The bill should be about half that.
Ahh, so you're a mechanic, hence why the bolded red?

I've changed springs and struts on my Trans Ams and it's easy. Jack car up and support it to let the wheels hang loose and take off the wheels. Once this is done there isn't that much pressure on the springs. Then remove the top and bottom bolt for the strut and remove them pull the spring out and replace. It's not rocket science.
 

Gs dewd

Senior member
Dec 22, 2011
255
0
71
Ahh, so you're a mechanic, hence why the bolded red?

I've changed springs and struts on my Trans Ams and it's easy. Jack car up and support it to let the wheels hang loose and take off the wheels. Once this is done there isn't that much pressure on the springs. Then remove the top and bottom bolt for the strut and remove them pull the spring out and replace. It's not rocket science.
Umm it not that easy bud. Struts are totally different then coil springs. The strut maintains it's tension after the load of the car is removed. I highlighted it in red so the op would know that there is danger in trying this without know what's involved in this. Obviously you haven't changed a strut before or you would know that the spring is very much still under extreme tension after the strut unit is removed from the car. The center rod of the strut is what is holding this tension in check until you remove the bearing plate nut. Please for the love of god do not post false info on this as it could seriously get someone hurt or killed. If there is no tension on the spring why do they make spring compressor and why do such spring compressor's have safety clamps and such on them? Oh and yes I am a mechanic of over 20 years and I am also a Ase certified master tech.


Op here is a vid of changing front struts on a Mazda 3. Pay particular attention what he says at the 11:30 on mark.

Strut Replacing at home
 
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Dec 30, 2004
12,554
2
76
If they are leaking then yes they need to be replace. Call around and get other estimates on the job. And by no means attempt to do this yourself. The springs are under tremendous pressure, removing the center nut without the spring clamp down and compressed can kill you and anyone around you. Do not play with them. And yes I am a certified mechanic and a $1000 bill on replacing the front struts is extremely high to me. The bill should be about half that.
lmao
BE AFRAID YOU COULD DIE!!!!
 

Gs dewd

Senior member
Dec 22, 2011
255
0
71
Let that spring slip or not be clamped down correctly and see what happens. That thing is under thousands of pounds of force. It can shoot the strut body through a wall or you. So yes you can die. As to why there are safety devices on strut spring compressors and most of the good compressors mount to a wall or the floor.
 
Dec 30, 2004
12,554
2
76
Let that spring slip or not be clamped down correctly and see what happens. That thing is under thousands of pounds of force. It can shoot the strut body through a wall or you. So yes you can die. As to why there are safety devices on strut spring compressors and most of the good compressors mount to a wall or the floor.
my stock springs were under minimal pressure . I just about unscrewed the strut mount at the top without compressing them there was so little pressure. There are compressors because it's a PITA to do it by hand.
 
Sep 7, 2009
12,960
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Let that spring slip or not be clamped down correctly and see what happens. That thing is under thousands of pounds of force. It can shoot the strut body through a wall or you. So yes you can die. As to why there are safety devices on strut spring compressors and most of the good compressors mount to a wall or the floor.

If you can safely jack up your car (IE use jackstands) then you can easily use a spring compressor.

This is a common mechanic BS statement too.. It's about the third time I've had a professional mechanic try to explain how a compressed spring will likely blow up your house if you even think about touching it.

Seriously... It is not that big of a deal. Spring compressors are easy to use, just don't be an idiot and you'll be fine.
 

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
29,293
5,474
126
my coilovers just bolted on to the frame. didn't have to take off the springs. just took off the whole assembly and put a new one on. it was easy enough :D
 
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