Can You Drive with a Broken Strut?

The Importance of Fixing a Broken Car Strut

Your Car’s Suspension System and Struts

Your car’s suspension system is responsible for ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride. Within this system, struts play a critical role in connecting various smaller parts and contributing to the overall quality of your driving experience.

Understanding How Shocks and Struts Work

Struts are composed of a shock absorber and a spring, combining the functions of both into a single unit. They are designed to support the weight of your vehicle, absorb shocks from uneven road surfaces, and provide stability during cornering and tight turns. Additionally, struts contribute to vehicle alignment and the functioning of the power steering system.

Identifying Signs of a Bad Strut

It is crucial to recognize the warning signs of a worn-out or broken strut in your car. Some common indicators include:

– Unstable handling at high speeds
– Leaning heavily to one side while turning
– Front end diving forward when braking
– Rear end squatting when accelerating
– Excessive bouncing while driving
– Uneven tire wear
– Fluid leaks in the wheel wells or suspension components
– Abnormal sounds, such as clunking noises
– Decreased braking performance

Driving with a Broken Strut

If your car has a truly broken strut, it is highly unsafe to drive. A broken shock absorber, strut mount, or collapsed spring can lead to hazardous driving conditions. Driving with severe strut damage can also cause further harm to other suspension and steering components, resulting in more expensive repairs. In cases of worn-out struts that are not completely broken, driving for a short period without replacement may be possible. However, it’s important to note that even with worn-out struts, your car’s handling will suffer, and you may still damage other parts of the vehicle, such as the tires.

The Cost of Replacing a Bad Strut

The cost of replacing bad struts can vary depending on your location and the make of your car. Generally, you can expect the price to range between $450 and $900. This cost includes the purchase of two strut assemblies (as they should always be replaced in pairs), labor fees, and potentially an alignment after the replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I drive with a broken strut?

Driving with a broken strut is highly unsafe and can lead to further damage to your car’s suspension and steering components. It is crucial to have a broken strut repaired by a professional as soon as possible.

2. How do I know if my car has a bad strut?

Some common signs of a bad strut include unstable handling at high speeds, leaning heavily while turning, front end diving forward when braking, rear end squatting when accelerating, excessive bouncing, uneven tire wear, fluid leaks, strange sounds, and decreased braking performance.

3. Are worn-out struts dangerous to drive with?

While it may be possible to drive with worn-out struts for a short period, it is not recommended. Worn-out struts can negatively affect your car’s handling and potentially cause damage to other parts of the vehicle.

4. How much does it cost to replace a bad strut?

The cost of replacing bad struts can range from $450 to $900, depending on factors such as your location and the type of car you own. This cost includes the purchase of new strut assemblies, labor fees, and potentially an alignment after the replacement.

5. Do I need to replace both struts?

Yes, it is strongly recommended to replace both struts at the same time. This ensures balanced performance and extends the lifespan of your suspension system.

6. Can I perform the strut replacement myself?

Replacing struts requires specialized tools and expertise. It is best to leave this task to a professional mechanic who has the necessary knowledge and equipment to perform the replacement correctly.

7. How often should struts be replaced?

The lifespan of struts can vary depending on various factors, such as driving conditions and vehicle usage. As a general guideline, struts should be inspected for wear and tear every 50,000 to 100,000 miles and replaced as needed.

8. Is an alignment necessary after replacing struts?

Yes, it is recommended to have an alignment performed after replacing struts. This ensures proper suspension geometry and optimal tire wear. The cost of an alignment typically ranges from $75 to $150.

9. Can I drive without an alignment after replacing struts?

While it is possible to drive without an immediate alignment, it is not recommended. Driving without proper alignment can lead to uneven tire wear and compromised handling.

10. How long does it take to replace struts?

The time required to replace struts can vary depending on factors such as the make and model of your car and the condition of the existing suspension components. On average, it can take around 2 to 3 hours to complete the replacement. However, actual times may vary.

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OilChanged Staff


Hi, my name is Yiğit AKSÜT and I am a car mechanicer. I have always been fascinated by cars and how they work, and I knew from a young age that I wanted to make a career out of working on them. After completing my education and training, I began working as a mechanic and have been doing so for several years now.I have a strong passion for cars and love the challenge of diagnosing and fixing problems. I take pride in my work and always strive to do the best job possible for my clients. In my free time, I enjoy tinkering with cars and learning about new technologies and techniques in the automotive industry.

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