Shocks and struts are terms that are easily confused with one another. Though they serve the same purpose, they are configured differently. A strut assembly incorporates the coil spring, whereas a shock stands alone, separate from the spring. You may have four struts, four shocks, or a combination of two struts and two shocks. With modern systems such as electromagnetic suspensions, the prices of these parts can vary tremendously.
On most cars the shock is mounted near the spring and typically has two mounting points. The shock can usually be replaced without disturbing or removing any other suspension components. Shock prices vary depending on the vehicle. For example, a rear shock for a 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt costs about $40, while the rear shock on a 2009 Acura RL runs well over $100.
The labor cost will vary depending on application and labor rates. Labor rates vary by region and can range from about $65 per hour to more than $150 per hour. The time called for to do the rear shocks on the 2009 Cobalt is 0.5 hour per side, while the 2009 Acura calls for 0.8 hour per side.
Struts are much more common on modern vehicles. Struts mount within the coil spring and require that the coil spring and strut be removed from the car as a unit. The coil spring must then be compressed with a spring compressor to replace the strut assembly. Prices of struts vary greatly also. The front strut for a 2009 Toyota Corolla, for instance, costs about $100, while the front strut for a 2009 Mercedes CLK550 costs well over $200.
Struts are more labor-intensive to replace. The labor time called for to change the front struts on the 2009 Corolla is 1.6 hours per side, while the 2009 Mercedes CLK550 is 1.5 hours per side.
You should have your car aligned after replacing the struts or shocks.
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