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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Need to Replace Struts?

Hi everyone,

I took my '06 Cobalt LS to Midas for a cheap oil change and they gave me an estimate for some "recommended" work. My front tires had some pretty intense inside edge wear due to (I think) my long commute and my failing to get a timely wheel alignment (a year ago). It's so bad that I'm replacing the fairly new tires as the braid is showing through on one of them.

They pointed out that my struts were particularly greasy and nasty (see attached images), and said they needed to be replaced. They claimed this was the root cause of the wear, noting the rear tires had no such wear...but...rear tires are more than 1 year newer than the fronts.

Driver side front


Passenger side front


Suspension seems to be doing it's job (smooth-ish ride) and passes my press-on-the-hood test. Seems to have some fluid still...

So My Question: Does their claim hold any water? My knee jerk / cheapo response is that I just need an alignment. BUT

Catch 22 with doing the alignment ($560 parts/labor):
-Do it now to fix the tire wear and waste the money if I do need the struts replaced (as the new struts will throw the alignment off)
-Do the alignment and wait to see if it alone fixes the wear issue, at the possible expense of killing the new tires I'm buying as I write this

I don't quite understand why whatever is getting so gunked up is affecting BOTH struts. Note: I have yet to do that power steering recall...not sure if this could be related to that.

Thanks for reading,
Jordan
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 12:13 AM
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When's the last time you replace your struts or shocks? How many miles ago? Every 50k struts and shocks would be a good idea to renew.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Never. Currently at 75k miles.

Every 50k? Really? This is a commuter car and has nothing performance about it.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 12:28 AM
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GM recommends replacing them every 60,000 miles. I currently just passed 120k and my rear shocks are completely blown and my front struts are looking a little worn. Get ready to shell out the monies like I did
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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My rear ones are fine and look nothing like these grimey things in the front.

Any thoughts on why just the fronts look like this?

Recommended maintenance schedules aside, how do mine look? Is that normal wear in the images?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 12:47 AM
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Replace em!!!!! Lol money money money give it to the government
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 12:47 AM
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I'd put money on just an alignment and there is no way you should give them $560 to do the struts and an alignment when you can do it yourself with the best parts for ~$300 then get the alignment for about $80.

Check to see if the shocks are leaking any fluid, try picking up the rubber boot covering the shock and see if there is any oil on the bottom. The dirt isn't related the the strut, even if it was leaking that dirt wouldn't be related to the strut.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 05:02 AM
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The problem with midas or any all around shop like them will get you the absolute cheapest shocks/struts and charge you the most they can..more than likely sell you some monroes or kyb gr-2's...both are okayish for oem replacement, but they only run about $70 per piece, so $280 tops for all 4. Roughly 1 hour of labor per front, then .5 hour for the rears, then attach a $80 alignment, sounds like they want your $$$. You could save a little dough and put the rears on yourself with very little mechanical experience, its just 2 bolts behind the wheel and no spring compressor required. You can also rent out a spring compressor from autozone for like $30 and its free if you return it. The only thing I would do is have them align the car and do the work at your residence.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 05:53 AM
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I can't see any pics in the post, but IF one of your struts is leaking badly, plan on replacing the pair. If it's not leaking, it should be fine. If need be, let us know and we can steer you toward parts and service.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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Doing the work myself is out unfortunately. No access to a garage or anything.

@Andrew: can I pick up the boot like you explained without taking the wheel off or lifting the car?

Midas said they'd use KYB struts. I'll call around for a better estimate if the struts don't pass Andrews test. Labor is ~ $100/hr in this part of the country...

Probably getting a new car in < 2 years. Assuming I find a better estimate, if I call around and shops wanna use KYB struts only, are they really that bad? Or is it just a price thing?

I know one local shop that refuses to use anything but OEM parts. But I don't know if I want those if this sort of wear happens without any incident.
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