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My mechanic says the right front strut of my Tacoma pickup truck is leaking oil.

Q: What do I need to consider if I postpone repairs until I save the money?

Q: What are tell-tell signs that I need to replace a strut to prevent damage, or further damage to vehicle?

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the struts are a major part of your suspension and if ride quality has been poor of late, it's certainly time to look into replacing the struts if the coil springs are still in good shape.

If you're postponing the repairs, you really need to be aware that you could end up incurring a larger bill because of the delay, but that very delicate driving will make this less likely.

You need to try to keep to major roadways, no offroading, no load carrying with the Tacoma for a while, otherwise you're increasing the risk of furthering the damage. If the strut were to freeze it could be pushed completely through the strut tower and into the engine bay if you hit a large pot hole, etc. You could also damage the strut mounts which go a long way toward ride safety and quality.

Loosing hydraulic oil from your strut, you're not likely to be able to hold off too long before the problem gets worse. It's certainly something you can replace at home if you're concerned about the bill, but you will need a few less than common tools (spring compressors, pickle forks, etc).

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Aside from acquiring the specialized tools, how easy is it to replace a strut? –  zundarz Aug 26 '11 at 16:35
    
It can definitely be a pain, but it depends on your car, and where you're located (it's a bit extra fun in the north east, with our salted roads and the occasional long winter). I would say that it is most certainly a project you can do at home, but something that you want a good tutorial for as well. ehow.com/how_7644140_replace-tacoma-xtra-cab-4x4.html that may help you get an idea of how much really needs to go into it. do make sure you have a good set of spring compressors though. There are only 2 springs up front, and they pack a huge punch if the compressors let go. –  Jessie Aug 26 '11 at 17:36
    
If you don't want to fool around with a spring compressor, you can buy a pre-assembled strut and spring. It only costs a little more than a bare strut. –  Mike Baranczak Oct 26 '11 at 23:02
    
That is certainly an appealing alternative, though with many vehicles that's not an option. If you're able to get them preassembled, it's certainly the easiest way to go. That reduces work to something like 5-8 bolts/side for the strut itself and whatever disassembly that's required to get the strut in and out of the tower. –  Jessie Nov 7 '11 at 16:58
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