Pontiac Sunfire Suspension Shock or Strut Assembly Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

Suspension Shock or Strut Assembly Replacement
The average cost for a Pontiac Sunfire suspension shock or strut assembly replacement is between $257 and $515. Labor costs are estimated between $88 and $111 while parts are priced between $169 and $404. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
Note about price: This service is typically done as part of a bigger, more expensive repair, so the estimate you see above may not represent your total cost. Some of these bigger related repairs are listed in the table below. Talk with a RepairPal Certified shop to learn which repairs may be right for you.
Suspension Shock or Strut Assembly Replacement

What is a front strut or shock absorber?

While they serve similar purposes in your suspension system, struts and shocks are actually different parts.

Struts are a structural part of the suspension system that support the weight of the vehicle. In many cases, struts are also part of the steering system, pivoting whenever the steering wheel is turned. 

Shocks do not support the vehicle weight, nor are they part of the steering system. They only provide vehicle dampening by controlling spring and suspension movement.

How does the front strut or shock absorber work?

A loaded front strut assembly, often called a MacPherson strut, consists of a coil spring and a shock absorber. The coil spring is in place to support the weight of the vehicle and to absorb large bumps. It allows the front suspension to travel up and down so that the vehicle body can remain stable. The shock absorber runs through the center of the spring and eases smaller bumps, dampens vibrations, and lends stability to the vehicle.

The top of the strut assembly bolts to the vehicle body in the strut tower, where it is able to pivot when the steering wheel is turned. The bottom is connected (by way of the steering knuckle) to the lower control arm and wheel hub. The strut assembly allows the vehicle suspension to rotate while it absorbs impact from rough terrain, helps maintain contact between the tires and the ground, and offers a smoother ride for passengers.

What are the symptoms related to a bad strut or shock absorber?

Struts and shocks that are broken or failing can cause a number of symptoms, most of which will make for a less comfortable ride. They include the following:

  • A knocking, rattling or thumping noise while driving
  • A bumpy ride, or the nose or tail end of dipping down during hard braking and acceleration.
  • Body roll when turning.
  • Abnormal, "cupped" tire wear
  • Leaking hydraulic fluid

Can I drive with a front strut or shock absorber problem?

A vehicle with worn front struts can be driven, but the ride quality won't be great the vehicle's handling will be compromised. A car depends on its struts to remain level while turning.

As the condition worsens, the loss of control and even the chance of vehicle rollover will increase. If a front strut is broken (rather than worn), the vehicle should not be driven until the strut can be replaced.

How often do struts or shock absorbers need to be replaced?

There is no replacement schedule for front struts, through many vehicles will need to have them changed at some point. Rough driving habits may shorten the life of these parts.

Struts may need to be replaced anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. If the struts start leaking, or become broken or damaged, they should be replaced immediately. Struts should always be replaced in pairs.

How are strut or shock absorber issues diagnosed?

If the vehicle bounces easily up and down, even just by pushing on it, the struts are likely worn. Many times, a strut is diagnosed when a technician is replacing other related parts. A damaged strut may also be discovered during a wheel alignment.

How is a front strut or shock absorber replaced?

To change a front strut, a technician has to lift the vehicle and remove the front wheels. The brake caliper and rotor are removed and the sway bar link is disconnected. The technician then disconnects the strut from the steering knuckle and strut tower to remove it from the vehicle.

If the entire strut assembly is being replaced, installation is relatively simple. But it's common to reuse the coil spring from the old assembly. In this case, the worn strut will need to be compressed and disassembled, and the new strut will need to be put together before being installed.

RepairPal Recommendations for front strut issues

RepairPal recommends replacing the front struts in pairs. Ride quality and performance will suffer if the struts don't match.

When have the struts replaced, a full inspection of the steering and suspension should be performed to identify any other problems, and a wheel alignment should be done. The new struts can change the vehicle's ride height, which will change the wheel alignment.

What to look out for with front strut or shock absorber issues

To replace a strut, it may be necessary to compress the old one during the repair. This involves compressing the coil spring so that the strut assembly can be dismantled. During this time, the compressed coil spring is extremely dangerous. If the spring slips from the compressor that's applying the tension, it could cause serious injury.

Can I replace the front strut or shock absorber myself?

It depends. Replacing the entire front strut assembly as a unit would be an intermediate DIY repair. On the other hand, if the coil spring needs to be transferred from the old strut to the new strut, this repair should be left to a professional technician.