Car suspension repair cost

Good news: It could cost $150. Bad news: It could also cost $2,000.

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Every bump, pothole and blast of road salt helps wear down your suspension until something needs replacing, and your car usually lets you know via telltale sounds and vibrations.

When that day comes, what can you expect? How expensive is it to repair your suspension? What are the individual components of a suspension? What does each cost to fix? And how can you save on repairs in general?

Read on to find out.

Key insights

  • Your suspension is an assembly of multiple small components, and the cost of repairing it will depend on what went wrong.
  • Fixing your suspension could cost as little as $150 if you need to replace a simple sway bar. But it could cost more than $1,000 if you need to replace a strut or a shock.
  • You can often save on suspension repairs by collecting quotes from different repair shops.
  • Factory and extended warranties generally cover suspension repairs but only if the component failed due to a factory defect. Damage caused by lift kits, off-road use, track use or excessive towing will not be covered under warranty.

How much does car suspension repair cost?

The cost to repair or replace suspension components depends on what you need done — and in how many corners of the vehicle.

For basic cars, suspension issues can cost between $150 [and] $800, depending on the issue. For more expensive cars, the sky’s the limit. ”
— Sean Kim, mechanic

The most common suspension repair is arguably a shock or strut replacement, but suspension issues can also be related to a variety of other components that are generally less expensive to replace.

“For basic cars, suspension issues can cost between $150 [and] $800, depending on the issue,” said Sean Kim, an experienced mechanic in the Atlanta area. “For more expensive cars, the sky’s the limit depending on the complexity of the suspension component.”

Here’s a list of common suspension components and what they might cost to repair or replace per corner of your vehicle, according to RepairPal, a website that compiles automotive repair data. (Note: We used the upper limits of RepairPal’s average range in the table below to provide more conservative estimates.)

Source: RepairPal

Bear in mind that you may need to replace different suspension components at once, and you may even need to replace multiple versions of the same part. If you need to replace four shocks at once, you could be on the hook for over $4,000.

How much does it cost to replace suspension shocks and struts?

Every wheel on a vehicle has either a shock or a strut mounted to it to absorb road bumps.

  • A shock absorber, or “shock” for short, is a gas- or liquid-filled tube that doesn’t bear any weight but still helps absorb bounciness from the road.
  • A strut, in contrast, pulls double duty by holding up the vehicle and helping to absorb bumps.

These components are widely considered to be “wear-and-tear” parts that only last between 50,000 and 100,000 miles, which is why strut/shock failure is so common. (Wear-and-tear parts, like windshield wiper blades, are designed to fail over time.)

If your vehicle is swaying noticeably, feeling floaty or dipping its front end when you brake, it may be time for new shocks or struts.

RepairPal estimates that the average cost to replace a single shock or strut hovers around $1,000 for both parts and labor. According to Kim, the price can actually start at just $500 per corner on more modest vehicles like a Honda Civic. “However, once you go into sports car/luxury car territory, that price skyrockets. Even aftermarket air suspension for Mercedes or Lexus can run $1,000 plus per corner just for the part, not including labor,” he added.

One last thing to consider is that the cost to replace front shocks and rear shocks may not be exactly the same. “Front shocks generally warrant higher labor due to the amount of suspension components involved. Rears are typically lower labor due to the rears being on fixed axles,” Kim said.

How much does it cost to replace suspension control arms?

Control arms are large, typically wishbone-shaped metal parts that connect your suspension assembly to the frame of your car. They also help with steering, alignment and overall stability as your car turns around corners.

Like shocks and struts, control arms are considered wear-and-tear parts and typically last between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. You can often tell that one of your control arms is failing if you start hearing clunks or loud creaking over bumps.

When it comes time to replace your control arms, RepairPal estimates that it can cost around $750 per arm. But sometimes, all you need to replace is the bushing inside the control arm. (More on that below.)

How much does it cost to repair suspension control arm bushings?

There are small metal and rubber bushings where your control arm meets your frame that allow for smooth and easy movement. Often, these bushings fail well before the control arm itself fails, and an honest mechanic will tell you when your control arm is fine but your bushings need replacing.

Replacing just this bushing can be $300 or less, according to RepairPal.

How much does it cost to repair suspension ball joints?

Ball joints allow two connected components to pivot with a greater range of motion — similar to a shoulder or hip socket on a human body. In a car, the ball joints create a smooth connection between your control arms and your wheels. In some cases, you can find ball joints connecting your sway bar to your frame as well.

Ball joints are typically covered in grease and protected by a rubber housing, but over time, that housing can deteriorate and allow debris to damage the joint. Failing ball joints may sound like failing control arms, with clunking, rattling and vibrations inside the cabin.

Luckily, they’re not too expensive to fix, with prices ranging around $350 each, according to RepairPal.

How much does it cost to repair stabilizer bars?

Stabilizer bars, also known as sway bars or anti-roll bars, help to keep your car flat over corners. Many vehicles come with basic sway bars, but more rigid and robust sway bars are a common performance upgrade to help with cornering.

Performance upgrades generally cost more than factory replacements.

The first sign of a cracked, disconnected or damaged sway bar is often excessive body roll around corners. If your vehicle seems to be “leaning” too much and you hear clunking or scraping, your sway bar might be on its last legs (if it’s not gone already).

Since sway bars are typically connected by a handful of bolts to the car’s undercarriage, replacing one is generally inexpensive. RepairPal estimates that the cost to install a new sway bar could be as low as $150.

How much does it cost to repair suspension coil springs?

Coil springs are one of the more intuitive parts of a vehicle to understand — they’re the giant springs you see inside your wheel well, and they are there to help your vehicle absorb especially large bumps, like potholes and train tracks.

You can usually tell when a coil spring has gone bad if the car leans to one side when parked, acts excessively bouncy, or bottoms out over big bumps. (“Bottoming out” means your car’s undercarriage hit the ground, your wheel hit the top of the wheel well, or both happened at the same time.)

Since coil springs are nearly as labor-intensive to replace as struts and shocks, repairs tend to cost well over $650 each on average.

How much does it cost to repair suspension tie rods?

Last but not least, tie rods are the final link in the chain between your steering system and your wheels. Most vehicles have both inner and outer tie rods, with the latter connected to the wheels via a ball joint.

Like other parts of your suspension, your tie rods can wear out over time due to their constant exposure to debris, vibration and other road hazards. If your steering is becoming sloppy or imprecise — or there’s tons of “play” in your steering wheel — you may have failing tie rods.

But tie rods are one of the more affordable suspension components to replace, costing around $200 each in parts and labor, according to RepairPal.

What affects suspension repair costs?

Broadly speaking, there are three major factors that affect the cost of a suspension repair:

  1. Whether you go to a dealer or an independent mechanic: Dealerships almost always charge significantly more for parts and labor than independent shops, and suspension repairs are no exception.
  2. Whether you have a failed bushing or a failed component: When your suspension fails, sometimes all you need to replace is a bushing or a ball joint for $300 versus paying $1,300 plus for a new strut or shock. An honest mechanic will tell you if all you need is a new bushing, which is why it’s best to get multiple quotes before committing to a service.
  3. The make and model of your vehicle: Luxury and performance vehicles tend to have sophisticated, high-quality suspension components. As a result, parts and labor to repair these suspensions tend to be much higher as well.

To illustrate that last point, here are some estimates we collected from RepairPal showing how much a shock or strut replacement might cost on various types of vehicles.

Example shock/strut replacement costs for various vehicles

(Note: We used the upper limits of RepairPal’s average range in the table below to provide more conservative estimates.)

Source: RepairPal

So, even if the BMW has the best handling by far, the cost to maintain that German-engineered suspension is much higher.

But before we start budgeting for a big repair, how can you tell if you have suspension problems in the first place?

» COMPARE BRANDS OVERALL: Average car maintenance costs

How to tell when you might have suspension problems

In the section above, we laid out some of the symptoms you might experience if very specific parts of your suspension start to fail (e.g., “bottoming out” could indicate bad coil springs). But these are just very general ideas, and in many cases, these symptoms could actually indicate multiple parts failing at once.

That’s why if you experience any of the issues below, it’s best to have an ASE-certified mechanic have a look at your suspension ASAP:

  • Shaky or vibrating steering wheel
  • Knocking noises when going over bumps
  • An unusually soft or harsh ride
  • Your car “bottoming out” where it didn’t before
  • Clunking or scraping
  • Loose steering
  • Leaks coming from your suspension
  • Excessive or uneven tire wear

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Are suspension repairs covered under warranty?

Most factory and extended warranties cover suspension components that fail due to factory defects despite often being considered wear-and-tear parts. Endurance’s Superior plan, for example, covers tie rods, bushings, ball joints, control arms and more.

“I just took my car in for a check-up and found out that it had $4,000 worth of work -- struts in the front and wheel bearings.” reported a reviewer in New Hampshire. “Endurance covered it and instead of paying 4,000, I'm only paying $500. I was very happy.”

» MORE: What does a car warranty cover?

How can I save money on suspension repairs?

The best way to save money on suspension repairs is to collect quotes from multiple independent mechanics. Some may even be able to replace your bushings without having to replace more expensive components, saving you hundreds of dollars.

What’s the difference between shocks and struts?

The largest difference between shocks and struts is that struts actually bear the weight of the car and help to smooth out bumps, while shocks only serve to smooth out bumps.

Article sources
ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
  1. RepairPal, “Suspension Shock or Strut Replacement Cost.” Accessed Feb. 13, 2024.
  2. Endurance Warranty Services, “Are Shocks & Struts Covered in an Extended Warranty?” Accessed Feb. 13, 2024.
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