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I'm going to replace the front struts on my 98 Mazda 626 and was wondering if there are other components which should be checked / replaced at the same time, i.e. that if the struts are shot there is a high likelihood they need replacing as well?

  • While all the suspension components should be checked periodically, I don't think that you should need to replace anything else, unless they look worn and it makes the job a lot easier while the strut is off. While components have no load on them with the strut removed it may make it easier to detect play. – HandyHowie Dec 30 '15 at 12:34
  • I would mention getting the "quick struts" that are all one assembly with the coil and strut. For the home mechanic it's much safer. The coil compression kits you get from the local parts store are unreliable, in my opinion. – James Drinkard May 16 '17 at 13:21
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Bushes - If you've got the front end apart it's probably worth replacing these, unless they have been done recently. It's also probably worth checking the gaiters on the trackrod ends and driveshaft CVs, and any balljoints, easier to replace them while it's all apart too...

IIRC there isn't much else that would wear out, but inspect the suspension arms for any signs of damage while it's apart.

Glossary of above:

Bushes/Bushings: The rubber bits that allow the suspension components to move relative to each other

Balljoints: ball-and-socket type joints between two components. Usually protected by a rubber gaiter.

Gaiter/Boot: A rubber boot over a balljoint to keep the grease in and dirt out.

Trackrod End/Tie rod End: A balljoint on the end of a trackrod (the rod connecting the steering rack to the wheel), adjustable in length to change the toe-in of the suspension.

Driveshaft CV/CV Joint: Constant-velocity joint in the driveshaft. Allows drive to be transmitted through different angles as the steering and suspension change with the motion of the car.

Suspension Arms/Control Arms: The metal arms that hold the wheel onto the car. Joined at both ends with bushes or balljoints to allow the suspension to move up and down.

I can't find a nice royalty-free image to include here, but there's a good explanation here - no affiliation, just found it through an image search...

  • Could you explain what each of these parts is and maybe put in a graphic? – Robert S. Barnes Dec 30 '15 at 10:55
  • added explanations - I can't find a copyright-free graphic at the moment – Nick C Dec 30 '15 at 11:09
  • when you say the bushes to you mean the strut mount bearing? amazon.com/gp/product/… – Robert S. Barnes Dec 30 '15 at 13:35
  • Amongst others, yes - most suspension set-ups will have several, the exact number depending on the design - there will be two or three in the lower arm, probably at least one for the Anti-Roll bar, etc. Generally they are small, cylindrical rubber or polyurethane things pressed into a tube on one component, with a bolt going through the middle attached to another component - allowing the two components to twist relative to each other - for example, part 34-470 on this diagram jimellismazdaparts.com/… – Nick C Dec 30 '15 at 13:41

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