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What Is the Cost to Replace Shocks and Struts?

Guide to Shocks and Struts Replacement Costs
Jason Steele
Jason SteeleUpdated April 18, 2023
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Shock absorbers and strut assemblies, called shocks and struts, are essential to a car’s suspension. Because shocks and struts are in constant use whenever you drive, they may wear out quickly. Replacing your shocks and struts can be expensive, but it’s important for the safety and handling of your car.Read on to learn more about the cost of replacing shocks and struts.

Shocks and Struts Replacement Costs: What's Included

Part of responsible car ownership is keeping your car well maintained, including key components such as the struts and shocks. When you replace shocks and struts, you'll pay for labor, parts, and getting the wheels aligned. A typical shock and strut replacement can cost between $450 and $1,000 or more. The price will vary depending on the type of vehicle suspension you have, the parts needed, and where you live. But that’s the cost for just one wheel. It's recommended to replace your shocks and struts in pairs, and to replace all four at the same time, if possible. The total shocks and struts replacement cost would be about $1,800 to $4,000 for all four.Here’s how the cost to replace shocks and struts breaks down:

Cost of Labor

The cost of labor for replacing a shock and strut assembly can range from $150 and $300 per assembly. The labor cost may vary depending where the work is done. For instance, car dealerships might charge more for labor than auto repair shops. 

Cost of Parts

Purchasing the parts is one of the major expenses involved in the struts and shocks replacement cost. An individual replacement shock and strut can cost between $150 and $900. You’ll need to multiply this number by 2 or 4, depending how many shocks and struts you’re replacing. You might be able to save some money by purchasing an aftermarket shocks and struts replacement online. These parts are usually the same as the factory-issued parts, but they’re less expensive. You could also get replacement parts from an auto repair shop. This will be more expensive than buying the parts online, but cheaper than getting them from a dealership. If you don’t have the cash on hand to pay for the replacement parts, a car repair personal loan could be an option to help cover the shocks and struts replacement cost.Recommended: Guide to Alternator Repair & Replacement Costs

Wheel Alignment Cost

When you install new shocks and struts, it can alter your vehicle’s alignment. If the alignment is off, that can create uneven wear and tear on the tires. That’s why mechanics usually recommend a wheel alignment after a strut or shock replacement. Supplies for a wheel alignment are around $20, and labor costs are about $130 to $180.Recommended: Car Loan Refinancing Calculator

Are Shocks and Struts the Same?

Although shocks and struts are similar, they aren’t the same. Struts are a major structural part of a vehicle’s suspension, and they perform more functions that shocks do. Here are some of the similarities and differences between shocks and struts.
Control spring and suspension movementControl suspension movement
Stabilize the carStabilize the car
Decrease bounce and rollDecrease bounce and roll
Velocity-sensitive damping to provide a better driving experienceVelocity-sensitive damping to provide a better driving experience
Absorb road inconsistencies like uneven surfaces and potholesAbsorb road inconsistencies like uneven surfaces and potholes
Support side load on the vehicle’s suspension
Support the spring and keeps the tires aligned correctly
Recommended: How Much Does a Timing Chain Replacement Cost?

Can I Replace Just the Shocks or Struts?

It's possible to replace just the shocks or struts if your car has struts in the front and shocks in the rear. However, your car won’t perform as well or ride as smoothly, if you’re driving with a mix of old and new shocks and struts. Replacing struts and shocks as needed can keep your vehicle in good working order, which might help increase the car’s value.As mentioned, it’s best to replace shocks and struts in pairs. Ideally, you should replace all four struts and shocks at the same time, if possible. Recommended: How to Save Money on a Car: 13 Tips

When Should I Replace the Struts on My Car?

Struts usually last between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. But driving conditions can affect their lifespan. If you have an extended warranty for your car, check to see if the shocks and struts replacement cost is covered.

Signs of Failing Shocks and Struts

You can do a road test to determine whether your struts and shocks need to be replaced. As you’re driving, stay alert for any of the following conditions, which could  be a sign of failing shocks and struts. If your car has any of these issues, see a mechanic right away.

Thumping, Rattling or Knocking Sounds

A thumping, rattling, knocking, or vibration of the steering wheel, even when the road you’re driving on is smooth, could be a sign of failing struts or shocks. 

A Bumpier Ride Than Usual

A rough ride is another red flag. The car may even rock from side to side when the wind is blowing.

The Car Dips When Braking or Accelerating Hard

If the front of your car dips down or swerves when you brake, your shocks or struts may be going. 

You Notice Your Car Rolls During Turns

The car feels like it’s tilting when you drive. Or it may pull or roll to one side when you turn the steering wheel. 

Your Tires Have a "Cupped" Wear Pattern

Uneven wear on tires is another sign of faulty struts or shocks. For instance, you may notice a “cupped” or scalloped treadwear pattern on the tires. 

Hydraulic Fluid Is Leaking

If you see leaking hydraulic fluid, have your car checked by a mechanic as soon as possible. This could indicate a problem with your shocks or struts, or another issue that needs to be repaired. Recommended: What Does It Mean if a Car is a Lemon?

The Takeaway

Shocks and struts are vital to the performance and safety of your car. Worn shocks and struts can reduce the vehicle’s handling and braking, and create wear and tear on your tires. If you notice signs that your shocks and struts are failing, see a mechanic about getting them replaced as soon as possible. And if you need help covering the struts and shocks replacement costs, you might want to explore the pros and cons of car refinancing to see if it’s an option for you.

3 Auto Loan Refinance Tips

  1. Refinancing your auto loan could lead to lower monthly car payments and more money in your budget. Lantern by SoFi can help you find the right auto refi loan for you.
  2. Shortening the term of your auto loan may increase your monthly payments, but you’ll likely pay less in interest over the life of the loan.
  3. Generally, the newer your car, the lower the refi interest rate. This is because younger cars typically have a higher value than old or used cars — and the car serves as collateral for the loan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth replacing shocks and struts?
What happens if you don't replace faulty struts?
Should you replace all 4 struts at once?
How long do shocks and struts last?
Can I drive with bad shocks or struts?
Photo credit: iStock/YinYang

About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and award travel since 2008. One of the nation's leading experts in this field, he has contributed to dozens of personal finance and travel outlets and has been widely quoted in the mainstream media.
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