Subaru Outbacks are a versatile and reliable vehicle that is perfect for anyone who wants to explore the great outdoors or go about their daily commute. However, like any vehicle, it’s important to ensure that all parts are functioning properly, including the struts. If you own a Subaru Outback or are considering purchasing one, it’s essential to know how to test your struts to ensure that your vehicle is in top condition. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about testing your Subaru Outback struts, from identifying signs of damage to performing a bounce test.
Signs of Failing Struts
The first step in testing your Subaru Outback struts is to know what to look for. Here are some common signs that your struts may be failing:
- Uneven tire wear
- Poor handling, especially when going over bumps or uneven terrain
- A bumpy or rough ride
- Leaking hydraulic fluid
- A knocking or clunking sound when going over bumps
- The vehicle sits lower than usual
- Difficulty steering
If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to test your struts to determine if they need to be replaced.
The next step in testing your struts is to conduct a visual inspection. Here’s what you need to do:
- Park your vehicle on a level surface.
- Examine each strut for signs of damage or wear and tear. Look for cracks, dents, rust, and signs of oil leakage.
- Check the mounting bolts for tightness. Loose bolts can cause damage to the strut.
If you notice any damage or wear and tear, it’s essential to replace the strut.
The bounce test is an easy way to determine if your struts are still functional. Here’s what you need to do:
- Park your vehicle on a level surface.
- Press down firmly on the front of the hood a few times.
- Release the hood and observe how the vehicle reacts.
If the vehicle bounces more than two or three times after you release the hood, it’s likely that the struts need to be replaced.
Checking for Leaks and Signs of Damage
It’s also important to check for leaks and other signs of damage that may not be immediately visible. Here’s what you need to do:
- Examine the strut for signs of oil leakage. Leaking hydraulic fluid can be an indicator that the strut is not functioning correctly.
- Look for signs of damage or corrosion on the strut, particularly near the strut mount.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to replace the strut.
Measuring Ride Height
The ride height of your vehicle can indicate whether the struts are still functional. Here’s what you need to do:
- Measure the height of each corner of the vehicle from the ground to the top of the wheel well.
- Compare the measurements. If one corner is significantly lower than the others, it could be an indicator that the strut is not functioning correctly.
When to Replace Struts and How to Do It
If you determine that your struts need to be replaced, it’s essential to know when to do it and how to go about it. Here are some tips:
- Struts typically last between 50,000-100,000 miles, but this can vary depending on the driving conditions and the quality of the struts.
- If you notice any signs of damage or wear and tear, it’s essential to replace the strut as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
- When purchasing new struts, make sure to choose high-quality, OEM-rated struts for the best performance.
- Replace both struts at the same time for optimal performance and balance.
Tips and Tricks for Maintaining and Prolonging the Life of Struts
Regular maintenance can help prolong the life of your struts and prevent the need for premature replacement. Here are some tips:
- Regularly inspect your struts for signs of damage or wear and tear.
- Avoid hitting curbs or going over speed bumps too quickly.
- Keep your tires properly inflated to ensure that your struts are not overworking.
- Consider upgrading to a higher-quality strut for improved performance and durability.
How often should I test my struts?
It’s a good idea to test your struts at least once a year or more often if you frequently drive on rough terrain.
Can I replace my struts myself?
If you have the knowledge and experience, you can replace your struts yourself. However, it’s often best to leave it to a professional to ensure that the replacement is done correctly.
How much does it cost to replace struts?
The cost of replacing struts can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle and the quality of the struts. Expect to pay anywhere from $200-$1,000 per strut.
In conclusion, testing your Subaru Outback struts is essential to ensure that your vehicle is safe and performing optimally. By knowing the signs of failing struts, conducting a visual inspection, performing a bounce test, and checking for leaks and signs of damage, you can determine whether your struts need to be replaced. Remember to maintain your struts regularly and replace them as needed to keep your Subaru Outback running smoothly for years to come.