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Old 09-30-2010, 07:14 AM   #41
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If he didn't test drive it or at least do a "bounce test" and if he didn't see a bent rod or leaking fluid, then I don't see how he could recommend replacements.

If they are still providing good handling and damping, I don't think I'd replace them. Has this mechanic been a straight-shooter in your previous dealings?
I'm embarrased to say that my wifes 19 year old car still has the original struts and shocks and the car has approximatly 140k miles on her. They don't leak oil and the bounce test still passes. Mind you I don't deny that they don't perform as well as they did when new. Will I change them, she hasn't complained about them and since she loves her Acura I told her (how about we replace the car when she's 20). Since everything still works and the car has been amazingly reliable she's onboard with that.

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From my Internets research, the shocks are cheap and easy to replace (rear), the struts (which are combined shocks, springs, etc.) are difficult.
Last time I helped a friend replace front struts he had the proper spring compressor tool and since it's under a lot of tension, it was still somewhat dangerous. If however the whole strut including spring is being replaced as a whole then it's just a matter of re & re and as mentioned as long as the bolts aren't seized/rusted it's not a difficult job to do.

I guess it does boil down to trust and maybe yours were leaking and didn't pass the so called bounce test, if you trust him/her then that's half the battle.

People constantly ask me to recomend a good mechanic that they can trust and so far I haven't found on, good to know you have since I'm sure there are many out there.
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:22 AM   #42
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Today the mechanic told me that the shocks and struts are rusted (and "look crappy") on our 1999 Toyota Tacoma (140K miles), and it would be $700 to replace them.

I gave him the go ahead after a little Internet research, but I'm wondering what the best way to handle these decisions is. I trust that he's honest, but there's no way to know whether he's being overcautious.

I think I'll ask to see the removed parts to get a feeling for next time.

How do you handle it?
I do everything that mechanics tell me to do with my vehicles (safety first, and all that). Driving Toyotas, I rarely have any reason to see a mechanic anyway, so this hasn't cost me much at all. In your shoes, I would go ahead and get it done. You can always change mechanics next time.
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:17 AM   #43
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The tough part is if you think your mechanic is trying to churn business and you go somewhere else and ask them to check the struts and another mechanic says your car is fine, then you still don't know if the second mechanic is telling you the truth or is telling you what you wish to hear. Then you've spend the time researching the new mechanic. Yes, you can examine the parts and see learn to see if the original mechanic is leveling with you or not. But having the knowledge, isnt' that why you hire the mechanic in the first place?

While I was w*rking, I used to go to this place for years, but decided to "fire" them and now go to another place. Nearly every time, I brought my car in for an oil change, they say "so and so" also needs done. I never knew if they were churning service or not. The kicker though was once I brought my car in for an oil change, when I picked it up they said, "you should get your A/C worked on soon..." so the next time I bring it in I say, "do the A/C work", they look at it and say "the A/C looks fine, no prob" charged me for the inspection. Then eventually the next time I bring the oil change in, they do say the A/C needs work. I was going, "what the heck, why didn't they fix it when I told them to do it after they recommended the work?"

It was almost like one mechanic wasn't talking to another. That's why I keep good logs of services and they when I repair is warranted, I look at "is that reasonable for the time/miles driven?"--helps to take some of the guesswork of "Is the mechanic honest?" out of the equation.
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:34 AM   #44
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What do you think?



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Old 09-30-2010, 11:40 AM   #45
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Can you tell any difference in how the truck handles or rides?
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:46 AM   #46
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No, no difference. But they didn't say the shocks/struts weren't working.

My impression is that the shocks were fine and would have lasted another 5-10 years. The struts were maybe OK.
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:48 AM   #47
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Those photos are a joke, right? You found them while scuba diving? If those are indeed your old shocks I would not have driven another 10 miles on them.

Ha
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:54 AM   #48
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Those photos are a joke, right? You found them while scuba diving?

Ha

Not only that... but the bed they are on is also rusted out like crazy... maybe the struts were good until put on that bed
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:59 AM   #49
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With all the salt they put on the roads here in Wisconsin, every piece of metal rusts within about 3 years. That does NOT mean it needs to be replaced just because it "looks crappy". I've owned 5 vehicles, 2 with well over 100,000 miles, and have never replaced shocks or struts. My brothers mechanic said his car needed new rear shocks at 140,000 miles. Due to financial reasons, he didn't have it done. 3 years later the car is still fine.
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:03 PM   #50
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I think the mechanic was being honest that the parts were rusted and "looked like crap". But I suspect those would go another 4-5 years.

I pumped gas in the late 60's and the "fillin station" mechanics seemed honest but always tended to err on the "replace em" side. Of course, all their cars were older but kept immaculate and everything underneath the hood was shiny-shiny love.
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:04 PM   #51
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Looks like typical Northern road salt condition, except the shocks should be rustier.
T-Al, you need to stop spraying around that aerosol salt mist cologne, find another scent instead

I HAVE to trust my mechanic... he is me!
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:58 PM   #52
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What do you think?
I think it's a good thing you took that job to a trained professional who had access to all sorts of sophisticated power tools. Those must not have been much fun to get apart.

As for the need... you replaced them now when it wasn't inconvenient, so you've hypothetically avoided Murphy's Law of breaking a strut or a spring at the worst possible time.

But if the car passed the bounce test then you were probably good to go. The only question was how much further you'd get.

As some on this board will tell you, however, my credibility is suspect. I'm accustomed to pushing mechanical systems to their full design parameters. We recently got 10 years (and nearly 50,000 miles) out of a pair of steel-belted radial tires. We didn't replace them until the car developed a noticeable vibration caused by one of the belts wearing through the tread. I thought we were doing fine in an environment where the car rarely exceeds 60 MPH, but from some reactions you would have thought that I was being exceedingly foolhardy just to save a few bucks. Not, of course, that anyone has ever accused you of similar behavior.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:06 PM   #53
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As some on this board will tell you, however, my credibility is suspect. I'm accustomed to pushing mechanical systems to their full design parameters. We recently got 10 years (and nearly 50,000 miles) out of a pair of steel-belted radial tires. We didn't replace them until the car developed a noticeable vibration caused by one of the belts wearing through the tread. I thought we were doing fine in an environment where the car rarely exceeds 60 MPH, but from some reactions you would have thought that I was being exceedingly foolhardy just to save a few bucks. Not, of course, that anyone has ever accused you of similar behavior.
Driving around at 60 mph on 10 year old tires is nuckin' futz, especially in a rubber-destroying vog environment.

Not that I have a strong opinion on the subject of course...
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:14 PM   #54
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We didn't replace them until the car developed a noticeable vibration caused by one of the belts wearing through the tread.
When I was in college I did the same thing, waiting until the belts peeked through the tread at the edge (I figured the wear bars were the "advance warning" system, and that the steel belts constituted the no-kidding sign of need to replace the tires). It's risky behavior, as police can easily spot and ticket folks who do this--the wires make tell-tale sparks against the concrete at night. I don't know if it's the same on your coral-shell trails in the Sandwich Isles.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:37 PM   #55
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What do you think?
I think you went deep sea fishing in that truck!

I just too a look at mine 2000 Dodge Dakota 130K mi. - not a speck of rust.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:45 PM   #56
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The general opinion on the Tacoma forum is that it was reasonable to replace them, but the cost was a little high. So I think I'll continue with this mechanic.

Looking at the rear shocks, it would have been super easy to replace them myself and save a few hundred.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:58 PM   #57
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The general opinion on the Tacoma forum is that it was reasonable to replace them, but the cost was a little high. So I think I'll continue with this mechanic.

Looking at the rear shocks, it would have been super easy to replace them myself and save a few hundred.

Yes... with the right tools and the ability to get under the vehicle (truck is easy...)... it is a very simple job... just a few nuts off bolts.. put in the new and go...

I never did struts... but once I bent an A frame on an old car hand had to take the whole wheel assembly... now that got a few choice comments from me when I was trying to put it back together... fortunately for me I had a BIL who knew about the spring and warned me...
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:42 PM   #58
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What kind of coolant do you use? $34
The owner's manual made a big deal about using only Toyota's brand of coolant. I might have gone with another brand, but I couldn't get a reliable answer on which color to get, so I caved and bought the overpriced Toyota stuff.
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:55 PM   #59
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I was thinking about your post as I was prying and pounding on my front suspension to replace a cracked ABS tone ring, this morning. While you may have gotten more miles from the struts / shocks, you have gotten most of the useful life from them and it is no waste to replace them now. You will get a better ride and hopefully better tire life.
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:16 PM   #60
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What do you think?



I think you should ask your mechanic his (her?) opinion on your pants problem:



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Looking at the rear shocks, it would have been super easy to replace them myself and save a few hundred.
Maybe, but you'd have to include three hours to come up with the written procedure

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