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I had my safety inspection done today? The mechanic says that my shocks and struts need replacing. In order to prove it to me, he pushed the left tire up and down which caused the thing in the picture bellow to move up and down with it.

enter image description here

Is that a valid sign that they need replacing? I also looked up online and it appears that replacing is common every 50,000 miles or so. Is that true? My Chevy has 54,000 miles on it.

  • What state do you live in? – Move More Comments Link To Top Mar 16 '15 at 2:24
  • @Movemorecommentslinktotop In Hawaii. – AxiomaticNexus Mar 16 '15 at 3:43
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    Also the price you posted originally seems reasonable. You can always call other shops to get a quote on replacing the two front struts and compare the prices. – Move More Comments Link To Top Mar 18 '15 at 14:19
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I haven't had time to research your state, but you should be able to look up the requirements on your state DMV website. The state standards vary wildly so you will have to check your state specifically. In NC they have to be really bad to fail inspection, but again in your state it depends on what the standards are.

Without actually seeing what was moving it's hard to say. Could you post a video?

After some research on your model car it seems there is a problem with the upper spring seat on the front struts. Based on your information it looks like this may apply to you.

Bulletin No.: 12-03-08-001

Date: August 06, 2012

Subject: Clunk or Thump Type Noise from Front Suspension

Models:

2008-2009 Buick Allure (Canada)
2008-2011 Buick Enclave, LaCrosse, Lucerne
2011-2012 Buick Regal
2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt (Including SS)
2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR (Including SS)
2008-2009 Chevrolet Uplander
2008-2011 Chevrolet Aveo
2008-2012 Chevrolet Equinox, Impala, Malibu
2009-2012 Chevrolet Traverse
2010-2012 Chevrolet Camaro
2011-2012 Chevrolet Cruze, Volt
2008-2012 GMC Acadia
2010-2012 GMC Terrain
2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit (Canada)
2007-2010 Pontiac G5
2008 Pontiac Grand Prix
2008-2009 Pontiac Montana SV6, Torrent
2008-2010 Pontiac G3, G6, Vibe, Wave

Condition

Some customers may comment on a clunk or thump noise coming from the front suspension while driving over rough road surfaces. This noise will typically occur when the front suspension is returning to the upward position after a hard downward stroke, such as after driving through a large rut or pothole.

Cause

This condition may be caused by the jounce bumper slamming into the upper spring seat because it is not retained in the correct up position. The jounce bumper loses position due to oil being deposited onto its retention fingers. The oil is from the strut leaking.

Correction

Inspect the front strut(s) for evidence of oil. The leak may be slight but will still cause the concern. If oil is present, replace the affected strut, jounce bumper and dust boot (shield). Before reassembling the strut assembly, glue the new jounce bumper and new dust boot (shield) to the upper spring seat using the steps listed below. To further confirm this concern, the shield/bumper will easily slide up and down the strut shaft.

enter image description here

  1. Clean the surface area of the upper spring seat using fine sandpaper.
  2. Apply a light coat of *3M(TM) Automotive Adhesion Promoter, P/N 06396 or equivalent, to the top of the dust boot (shield) on the inside edge and to the top of the bumper. Allow to dry 10 minutes.

enter image description here

  1. Glue the bumper to the inside of the dust boot (shield) as shown. Use *3M(TM) Duramix(TM) Super Fast Adhesive, P/N 04747 or equivalent. Allow to cure thoroughly 5-10 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Apply a light coat of *3M(TM) Automotive Adhesion Promoter, P/N 06396 or equivalent, to the top of the dust boot (shield) and to the upper spring seat surface. Allow to dry 10 minutes.

enter image description here

  1. Glue the dust boot (shield) to the upper spring seat as shown using the above recommended adhesive. Allow to cure thoroughly. *We believe this source and their products to be reliable. There may be additional manufacturers of such products. General Motors does not endorse, indicate any preference for or assume any responsibility for the products from this firm or for any such items which may be available from other sources.

Parts Information

Part Number Description Qty Material Allowance
04747 3M™ Duramix™ Super Fast Adhesive 1 $22.00
06396 3M™ Automotive Adhesion Promoter 2 $4.00

For part numbers and usage of the strut, see Strut Kit in Group 07.345 of the appropriate Parts Catalog.

For part numbers and usage of the boot/shield, see Strut Boot/Shield in Group 07.371 of the appropriate Parts Catalog.

For part numbers and usage of the bumper, see Strut Bumper in Group 07.395 of the appropriate Parts Catalog.

Source (PDF File)

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  • He wanted to sell me the shocks/struts for the front wheels only, not all four. – AxiomaticNexus Mar 17 '15 at 19:48
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    @YasmaniLlanes Disregard my being suspect of him then. All of what he told you seems plausible. Even if it would pass inspection if you have the condition that the bulletin addresses then you need to change the struts regardless of the inspection. – Move More Comments Link To Top Mar 17 '15 at 21:09
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The shock absorbers do much more in a vehicle than just provide a comfortable ride. They are crucial to the stability of the vehicle, as I'm sure you know. They affect/prevent body roll, pitch, braking distance, etc, etc.

If you've got worn shocks and the kids freak out in the back while you're on the freeway, you'll know what I mean!

The part you've highlighted is the top of the suspension assembly for the front tire. The assembly contains the shock and a spring. It sits between the wheel assembly and the body of the vehicle.

If that part you've circled moves visibly at all, it most definitely is time to have them replaced. It sounds like there is structural damage to the strut, since it should not move at all at that point; did you hit a massive pothole or a rock or something?

50,000 miles is a long way if it's town driving, less so for highways/freeways. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to have the shocks and suspension checked every 20k - 25k miles and I would also recommend that you have the shocks replaced every 40k - 50k depending on your type of mileage (town, freeway, etc).

Definitely have it looked at and I would drive very carefully until they are replaced. As for the title of your question, I have no clue as to pricing (being from Africa), sorry. Mahalo!

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  • I don't remember hitting any huge pothole or anything. I do remember he saying that the struts were damaged. Which you just reaffirmed. – AxiomaticNexus Mar 17 '15 at 0:38

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