The strut mount of the vehicle is a lesser-known component, but that doesn’t make it any less vital to the suspension system. When a car suffers from a bad strut mount, it can lead to some surprising symptoms, and can create a dangerous ride.
I look at the location of the strut mount, its function, and what happens when it goes bad. I also examine the replacement cost of a strut mount. Let’s take a quick look at the signs first.
Symptoms Of A Bad Strut Mount
The most common symptom of a bad strut mount is strange sounds from the suspension while driving, especially if they occur while turning the steering wheel. You may also notice uneven tire wear if you check your tires. In some cases, you may also notice trouble steering your car.
Here’s a more detailed list of the signs of a bad or failing strut mount to look for:
1. Strange Noises
You don’t want to hear squeaking or clunking noises coming from the suspension system, but that’s exactly what occurs when the strut mount wears out. You might notice the front strut mounts making more noise when the steering wheel is turned.
These sounds come when two metal components begin rubbing against one another, or if the coil spring is jumping out of position. Without insulation, these parts are prone to creating noise when failing.
If you hear a “boink” noise from the front suspension when you turn the steering wheel, it’s a strong sign that the strut mount is worn. It could also be a broken coil spring, so it needs to be inspected carefully.
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2. Uneven Tire Wear
When the tires start to wear unevenly, there are a lot of things that could be wrong. In fact, your vehicle might just need a wheel alignment.
However, this is also a symptom that the strut mounts are bad. The failing mount wobbles and cannot keep the wheels properly aligned, which is what causes the uneven wear to occur.
3. Increased Vibration
A good strut mount contains rubber to provide insulation. If it is failing, the rubber has likely worn away, causing more vibration while you drive.
The strut mounts are needed for insulating the metal parts. Without this insulation, you are going to hear noises like I talked about earlier, combined with a vibration that makes the drive unbearable.
4. Steering Trouble
In a few vehicles, the strut mount plays double duty and works as a steering pivot as well. If the mount fails in these cars, it’s going to affect the way the steering operates.
The smoothness of the drive and steering response time could be affected. Steering and suspension issues should never be ignored, especially when you are dealing with both.
Strut Mounts are typically constructed of metal. Because of this, the mounts can become corroded, especially when exposed to an excessive amount of wear.
However, inside the mount, you will find rubber that serves to insulate. If this rubber deteriorates or cracks, you will also need to replace the mount. A physical inspection will reveal if either of these problems is causing the failure.
6. Increased Movement
Under normal conditions, the strut mount is going to cushion the imperfections of the road. It’s designed to cushion the blows from potholes and other bumps.
However, when the strut mount fails, it loosens up and can no longer hold the struts in place. This problem leads to excessive vehicle bounce and additional movement while you are driving.
Strut Mount Location
The strut mount is attached exactly where it sounds – on the strut of the vehicle. It links the suspension strut to the vehicle itself.
Front strut mounts might also contain a bearing plate or bearing that operates as the steering pivot, providing double-duty. Strut mounts contain rubber for insulating protection against vibrations and noise.
The Function of a Strut mount
On one side, the strut mount is bolted directly to the vehicle, while the other side connects to the strut. In between, there is a rubber material that insulates.
When the vehicle moves across bumps and imperfections, the impact creates a force against the mount. These pushing and pulling forces are cushioned by the mount, so the effects and noise are kept to a minimum within the cabin of the vehicle.
Front struts can also operate as part of the steering system, with an attached bearing. Having one on either side helps to serve as steering pivots, required for quicker response and smooth travels.
Why Do Strut Mounts Go Bad?
Struts should last a minimum of ten years when driven under normal conditions. Driving off-road or in a climate with excessive humidity can cause the struts to wear prematurely. Minor accidents can also affect how the strut mount works, and can sometimes lead to internal failure.
If you notice any usual symptoms, it’s best to have the mounts checked by a professional. These parts may also be inspected during a routine suspension evaluation.
Strut Mount Replacement Cost
The cost of an aftermarket strut is usually between $10 and $400. This cost is strictly for the part, not for the professional installation. The price will depend on what type of car you drive, the level of performance, and how many strut mounts you purchase.
When strut mounts are replaced, they should be replaced in pairs. They have likely endured the same amount of miles and driven across the same road conditions. Therefore, if one has worn out, the other is likely to follow. Always replace the left and right sides at the same time. By replacing them together, you ensure an even match across the axle, which ensures the correct ride height and responsive handling.