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Replace Front Struts (Subaru Forester)

When driving your Subaru Forester, whether for commuting or recreating, there will come a time when the front starts will need to be replaced. When this time comes, don’t immediately feel like you need to shell out all your hard earned money for a mechanic to install new ones. When you need to replace your front struts, simply follow this do-it-yourself guide, and you’ll be replacing them like a pro in no time (And for less money too!).

  • Make sure you have all the necessary parts and tools prior to removing anything. The only part you will need is the replacement front struts. The tools you will need are a jack, jack stands, a socket set, a lug nut remover, a breaker bar, wrenches, WD-40 or other rust repellent, a mallet or hammer, a flathead screwdriver, and a metal pipe.
  • To begin this project, you will need to remove the lug nuts from the wheel that is on the side you are removing the first strut from. You will need the car’s lug nut remover and the metal pipe for leverage. After loosening the lug nuts, jack the car up and make sure to lay out your jack stands as well. You should then be able to remove the lug nuts and the wheel itself.
  • Now, you should see two bolts that are just above the wheel assembly and attached to the strut itself. These two bolts must be removed by using your socket set, the breaker bar and a wrench. Your Subaru Forester’s bolts should be 18 mm sockets and the other side of those bolts should have the respective wrench holding it in place. Loosen the two bolts with the breaker bar, then use your ratchet to remove the nuts. Leave the top bolt in for the time being. You may need to use you your mallet or hammer to tap the bolts out, and possibly a screwdriver with the mallet if the bolt only comes out halfway. If the bolt is really stuck, spray both bolts with WD-40 to help loosen them up.
  • Before you can remove the old front strut, you need to make sure any of the additional wheel assembly parts that find their way into the engine are not attached to it. This may include the brake line or ABS sensor. Remove the bolts or clips holding them to the strut before continuing.
  • Next, find your way to the top of the strut, which is under the hood. You will see three bolts coming from the strut, that must be removed. Be sure to use the leverage of an extender bar or other part so as to break the bolts free with relative ease. Once you have removed those bolts, remove the one bolt that was left in the strut earlier.
  • You should now be able to wiggle the strut out and into the open air. To install the new one, simply reverse the order in which you removed the strut. If you need to assemble the new front struts that you are installing in your car, make sure to use the compressor carefully.
    • Preloaded quick-struts may be more expensive, but they’re also a safer and quicker to install. It may possibly be a better solution, as they come with all new springs, bushings, insulators, bump stops, bearings, and fasteners.

After you complete this project and safely lower your vehicle onto your new front struts, you will feel a sense of pride as you no longer bounce freely along the roadway. You may want to consider having a four-wheel alignment performed, as the new struts may skew alignment angles and lead to abnormal tire wear. Replacing your Subaru Forester’s front struts yourself is the perfect way to both save money and give your car the necessary maintenance it needs, all with your own bare hands.

Photo by NRMA via Foter.com / CC BY

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Wheel Alignment – Do You Need One?

When you are driving down the road, most likely on the highway, do you notice your car pulling either to the left or to the right? Maybe it is not necessarily pulling but rather, drifting, if you let the steering wheel go for a second? This phenomenon is a sign that you may be due for a wheel alignment.

Other symptoms that help confirm your vehicle needs a wheel alignment are: after visual inspection and comparison of your tires, you notice uneven tire wear pattern between them; you may possibly even feel or hear a vibration while driving down the road; or your steering wheel may be crooked while you are driving straight on a straightaway. If you have these symptoms, does it really mean you need a wheel alignment?

These vehicle symptoms, like any cold or flu symptom a person may have, are not just inconveniences that can simply be shrugged off and endured without consequences. Like a cold or a flu, if you ignore the symptoms of a wheel alignment problem, oftentimes they can escalate and cause worse issues for you and your vehicle. Let’s discuss a few of the reasons why getting a wheel alignment is a necessity and not just a suggestion.

  • You may consistently and on a regular basis bring your car in for a tire rotation, thinking that will help your vehicle’s tires last longer. While getting a rotation is an excellent idea, if you have a wheel alignment problem, then your tires can still wear incorrectly and shred earlier than designed or expected. Getting a wheel alignment helps make sure tire rotations are worth your time and effort.
  • Many times, when you buy tires, they come with a warranty or lifetime certificate. This warranty may stipulate getting occasional wheel alignments, to help the tires wear the way they were supposed to. If you avoid getting a wheel alignment, especially after noticing different alignment issues and symptoms, you could void the warranty. Having periodic wheel alignments can save you in the long run, by helping you keep your warranty up-to-date.
  • As some of the symptoms we talked about earlier included a pull to the side while driving, a wheel alignment can help alleviate that problem. Being able to concentrate on your surroundings and where you are going, is far more important than trying to make sure you stay within the driving lines.
  • A benefit from getting a wheel alignment, that everyone would appreciate, is the improvement in gas mileage. If your car has wheel alignment problems, then it has to output more energy towards where it is trying to go, as opposed to using that energy more efficiently towards where it is actually This benefit alone may not necessarily make a wheel alignment imperative, but in the long run, it will help you save a lot of money on gas.
  • The worst case scenario having a bad wheel alignment could cause, is messing up other parts of the car. A bad wheel alignment can make your car shake and move in ways it shouldn’t, which can cause different things in your vehicle to wear out quicker. Although this is in the most extreme situations, getting a wheel alignment can save you from your worst nightmare becoming your worst reality.

Wheel alignments have many benefits that make them more than just a suggestion. Both in short-term and the long-term, having a wheel alignment can save you money and headaches. Although alignment prices vary in different areas, the varying prices do not change the fact that getting an alignment will improve both you and your tires’ lives.

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