Steering Stabilizer Replacement Cost

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

The average cost for a steering stabilizer replacement is between $169 and $184. Labor costs are estimated between $54 and $69 while parts are priced at $115. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
Note about price: The cost of this service or repair can vary by location, your vehicle's make and model, and even your engine type. Related repairs may also be needed. Talk with a RepairPal Certified shop to learn which repairs might be right for you.

What is a Steering Damper?

Front end suspension systems are able to move up and down while allowing the wheels to pivot left and right. This much movement being allowed creates the need to finely control and tune movement that is caused by driver input or the driving surface. To control up and down movement of the wheels, the struts or shocks are used to slow the rate of reaction to bumps, and this same technology is used to prevent the wheels from pivoting side to side (turning) excessively due to road input. These shocks, however, are called steering dampers.

How do Steering Dampers work?

The steering damper, as mentioned, is a shock absorber that is difficult to move in either direction. This sounds counter intuitive to power steering, which makes it easier to move the steering wheel in either direction, but power steering is easily able to overcome the opposing force of the steering damper. However, the steering damper does create a smooth feel for the driver as the steering wheel is turned. This smooth, controlled feel is evident especially at high speeds and over bumps. Since bumps and road angle create the tendency for the front wheels to turn, the steering damper actually opposes this force as well, so the steering is controlled from both ends of the steering system.

What are the symptoms of a bad Steering Damper?

The failure of the steering damper will cause the front end to feel loose, will allow the wheels to turn when hitting bumps (bump-steer), and allow a wobbling sensation when driving at mid to high speeds. In general, the driver will have a decreased sense of control, and the road manners of the vehicle will be more unstable.

Can I drive with a bad Steering Damper?

Some vehicles depend on the steering dampner for stability, while some use the steering damper to provide a better feel and greater high-speed stability. For vehicles that require the use of a steering damper, the vehicle will may become so unstable that driving is unrealistic or dangerous, however, if the damper is for better steering feel it can wait a week or two for a convenient time of repair.

How often do Steering Dampers need replacement?

Steering dampers last about as long as normal shock absorbers or struts, and perhaps a little longer. There is no specific mileage or age for changing out the steering damper, but 50,000 - 100,000 miles would be a considerably accurate service life. That being said, it is likely that hitting large bumps, potholes, road debris, or just driving aggressively can wear the steering damper down more quickly or immediately cause failure if severe.

How are Steering Damper issues diagnosed?

The steering damper can be diagnosed by turning the wheels with the engine off and the front end lifted. The steering damper should provide resistance to turning in both directions from stop to stop of the steering wheel. If little resistance is felt, the steering damper can be inspected for wear of the bushings, leaking fluid, or lack of tension through manual inspection. In some situations the steering damper will pass all tests, but wobble or low stability will be noted while driving. In these cases, the steering damper may be failing and should be changed.

How are Steering Dampers replaced?

Replacing the steering damper is simply done by removing the mounting bolts on both ends, turning the steering wheel to align the mounting locations with the new damper, and installing the mounting fasteners. Afterwards, any underpinning can be replaced onto the vehicle, and the vehicle should be test driven to prove the repair.

RepairPal Recommendations for Steering Damper issues

Any time the steering damper is replaced, an OEM quality steering damper should be installed. This is because the steering damper will slowly wear out over time so the steering feel as originally assembled will not be remembered. This may lead to the driver feeling as though the steering feels like new when, in fact, the steering damper is not performing to OEM specifications.

What to look out for when dealing with Steering Damper issues

Steering dampers can help prevent damage to ball joints and suspension bushings. This is because it will prevent intense jarring of suspension components over bumps, through turns, and during fast turning maneuvers. If the steering damper fails and goes unrepaired for a long period of time, other suspension components may or may not experience additional wear from jarring actions. Also, not all vehicles use steering dampers, so ensure you understand your vehicles suspension components before authorizing a repair.

Can I replace the Steering Damper myself?

This is a simple DIY repair. Most people can accomplish this repair, will understand how to identify if the steering damper has failed, and have the few tools required. Safety precautions must be taken while performing this repair, as working under a vehicle on jack stands is dangerous when the vehicle is not properly supported. If jack stands are unavailable, leave this repair to a professional.

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