It’s frustrating to see your Toyota Camry struts leaking, especially, when they’re past the warranty period. While you may think that any fluid residue on your strut calls for an immediate replacement, that’s often not the case.
When there’s a webpage in the struts, it means they’re starting to go bad but don’t have to be replaced right away. But when there’s a leak, you’ll have to replace them to prevent any other issues.
You’ll learn about how struts work, what makes them go bad, and how you can replace them in this guide. Keep reading to find out all about it in detail. Let’s dive in!
Why Toyota Camry Struts Leaking [Solved]
Having leaking struts in Toyota Camry is a common problem for many Toyota owners. We’ll take a detailed look at why it happens and how you can fix it in this section.
Note: You can also read our guide on how to replace front struts on Toyota Tundra.
How Do Struts Work
If you want to understand what goes wrong with struts when they fail, it’s important to know how they work. The struts along with the shock absorbers are an integral part of the suspension system in your vehicle.
The shock absorbers are the mechanical devices that prevent your car from bouncing too much when you drive on bumpy roads. The struts combine the shock and other features of your vehicle in a single structural unit.
Together, the shocks and struts dampen any feedback when you’re driving on the road. They help to stabilize the vehicle, ease the handling, and give you a smoother ride.
Why Do Struts Go Bad
Struts are wearable components that are designed to go bad with time just like your brake pads. Whether we’re talking about Toyota Camry struts or any other brand, the same applies.
The struts have pistons and hydraulic fuel installed in them. When the vehicle goes through potholes or bumps, the piston gets pushed against that fluid and that can force oil to come out of them.
When you get a new strut, they’ll have seals and that’s why you won’t see any fluid coming out of them. But with time, they start to wear out. Now, how fast struts wear out depends on their quality and how they have been used.
If you constantly drive on roads that are bumpy or abuse the suspension, your struts will wear out faster. One important thing you should keep in mind is that seeing fluid on your strut or shock doesn’t necessarily mean that your strut has gone bad.
When you have a small amount of fluid on your struts, it’s called webpage or seepage. It indicates that your struts are starting to go bad as the seal is broken. But an immediate replacement is not necessary.
If they dampen the spring motion when you’re driving on bumps, keep them. Relax and keep driving your vehicle if it’s just starting to leak. Your wheels won’t fall off and you can easily get a few thousand miles from them before they eventually need to be replaced.
When Should You Replace Leaking Struts
Okay, you may be a little confused now. If a little bit of fluid on the struts or shocks is fine, how do you know when they’ve gone bad and need to be replaced? You need to tell the difference between a webpage and leakage to do an accurate diagnosis of whether the struts have to be replaced.
Here’s a diagram that should help you out. The pictures marked A and B indicate webpage whereas the ones marked C and D indicate leakage. You’ll have to replace the struts when there’s leakage.
Luckily, there are many ways using which you can figure out when to replace the struts in your car. Let’s take a look at the signs of leaking struts:
Visible Fluid Leak
The first major sign of a bad strut is to see a visible leak in the bottom of the lower spring of the strut or the bottom of the shock. The fuel in the struts should never be dripping. If that happens, it means there’s leakage.
When the leaking oil passes the spring base, it’s a sure-shot indicator that you need to replace your struts as soon as possible. A fully leaking strut will almost always have residue down its body.
The feeling of driving your vehicle will give you more input on whether you have leaking struts or not rather than a visual inspection. Take your vehicle out for a test drive and check if you notice any changes in handling.
Steer your car in both left and right directions and drive it through a few bumps to get a proper feeling of whether they’re working correctly or not. If you notice a significant change in the performance of the car, you can conclude that your struts are leaking and they need to be replaced.
If these signs are not enough to diagnose whether you’ve bad struts or not, here are a few more symptoms that you should be on the lookout for:
- Your car becomes unstable at highway speeds. Even though the movement is slight, you can notice it.
- The car tips to one side when you’re turning, especially, during sharp turns. It can also feel wobbly during turning.
- When you brake hard, the front end dives more than it’s supposed to.
- The front end of the car rises during acceleration while the rear end squats.
- Your tires bounce excessively when you hit speed bumps. It can be accompanied by a clunking noise.
- There’ll be uneven tire wear as the tire isn’t held tightly to the road. The tire treads will wear out in a wavy manner rather than being even.
How To Replace Struts
It’s not a difficult job to replace the struts. Any competent mechanic will be able to do it. If you have the right tools and you know your way around the car, you can do it by yourself. Follow these steps to replace the struts on your Toyota Camry:
Step 1: Remove The Wheel
- Raise the vehicle to a safe level using a jack stand.
- Remove the lug nuts on the wheel. They’ll normally be either 19mm or 21mm.
- Take off the tire.
Step 2: Disconnect The ABS Sensor
- Remove the ABS from the knuckle hose so that you can take out the wire from the strut. Use a body tool to get underneath the clip and slide it.
- You may be able to use it again if you detached it properly.
- Remove the 10mm bolt and disconnect the ABS sensor where it mounts on the knuckle.
- Put the bolt back in the ABS mounting hole so that you don’t lose it when the entire knuckle is out.
Step 3: Remove The Flex Hose & ABS Wire Brackets
- Detach the sway bar link from the strut by unmounting the bolt.
- Take the strut away from the knuckle using a 22mm wrench and socket. You’ll have to remove two bolts of this size.
- Take off the flex hose bracket and the ABS wire bracket from the strut with a 12mm socket.
- Lower it and undo the top of the strut bolts.
Step 4: Remove The Struts
- Remove the three studs at the strut tower to have access to the strut assembly. Use a 14mm socket for this job.
- Once you remove the bolts, you’ll be able to take the struts out.
Step 5: Replace & Reassemble
- Compare the replacement part with your old strut and make sure that you have the right part. The brackets, number of coils, and ride height should be identical on both of them.
- Bring the new strut assembly up through the fender wall and line up with the new mounting bolts and tighten them. Torque it at 63 ft-lbs.
- From there on, it’s a case of reverse engineering the process. Reassemble all the parts you took off and that’ll complete the replacement.
What Does Toyota Camry Struts Replacement Cost
The struts in a Toyota Camry usually come with a warranty for the first 36,000 miles. If the struts in your car leak or go bad within that period, you can replace them free of charge.
Even if it exceeds the warranty time by a little bit, you may still be able to get the replacement done for free. Your dealership may not be lenient and you’d have to talk to Toyota directly for a replacement in such cases.
But if your struts have gone bad well after you can claim any warranty and you’d have to replace it on your own, the parts alone can cost up to $1500 if you have to change all four struts.
It’ll come down if you have to change only one or two of them. You’ll also be paying labor charges on top of that if you hire a mechanic to do it. Labor costs can range from $200 – $250 based on how many struts you’re going to replace.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace Leaky Struts
You should replace the struts when you have diagnosed that the struts in your car are leaking. But what will happen if you don’t do that? Why are leaking struts a safety issue?
When you neglect to replace a strut in due time, it can result in vibration and abnormal handling of your car. You’ll lose stability when driving your car and that’ll increase the chances of you being in an accident to a great degree.
Not replacing the leaky struts in time can also lead to poor brake performance. It’ll also put more pressure on the tires and your tires will wear out.
Are leaking struts dangerous?
Whether leaking struts are dangerous or not depends on the level of the leak. If the leak is bad and you can feel the performance issues when driving, not replacing them is dangerous.
Can struts leak fluid?
Yes, there’s fluid inside the struts that are usually sealed when you get a new vehicle. With time, the seal wears out and the struts will begin to leak fluid.
How long do Toyota Camry struts last?
It depends mostly on the condition of the terrain you’re driving on. On average, they last for about 100,000 miles. However, this number can be much lower if you’re driving on bumpy roads and rough surfaces.
How many struts are on a Toyota Camry?
There are four struts on a Toyota Camry – two are at the front and two at the rear. When you replace your struts, you should always do it in pairs.
Now you know why you can find your Toyota Camry struts leaking and how you can deal with them. If you’re covered by a warranty, you can take it to your dealership and get it replaced for free.
Make sure you diagnose the leaking struts correctly. Otherwise, you can replace them ahead of time and not get full use of your old struts. Comment below if you have any questions about leaking struts.