Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Ben asks: I was told it would cost $800 for Firestone to replace my rear shocks. Since the car is old, but other than a slightly bumpy ride, runs like a top, is there any danger to me or the car if I don’t get the shocks replaced? Thanks for your input.
My reply: And they ask my why I drink!
Many – most – modern cars do not have shocks. They have McPherson struts, which combine what used to be the separate (and life-of-the-car) coil spring with a shock absorber which got replaced roughly once every 40,000 miles or so for not even close to $800 for all four of them.
Struts are much more expensive to replace. The quote you got is high but not out of reason, in terms of what shops charge (parts and labor) to replace a pair of struts. Consider it one of the hidden costs of owning a modern car.
Now, some good news. If you know how to replace shocks yourself you can probably tackle this job yourself and save a a lot of money. You may need some specialized tools, such as a spring compressor – but these can often be borrowed for your favorite price (free) at the parts store where you buy the new struts.
If you don’t want to DIY, I recommend finding a local repair shop (not a chain tire store) and see what they would charge to do the job… my bet is it’ll be less.
Hope this helps!
PS: If the struts are badly worn, your car’s handling/braking characteristics could become erratic and possibly dangerous. It’s not a good idea to drive the car in that case, obviously.
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