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Rear struts leaking oil, Dealer says "Normal"

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by problemchild, Aug 8, 2009.

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  1. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    I called my dealer today after the tire shop noticed 2 rear leaking struts. I asked the manager at the Toyota dealer why they had not noticed the rear struts leaking when they worked on the rear hub 2 weeks ago. He stated " some oil on the rear struts is normal".

    Sounds like nonsense to me. Opinions?
  2. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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  3. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    Looks like toyota is just trying to get out of fixing the struts. Oil leakage is not good I dont care what they say about inches down the tube.
  4. ETP

    ETP Ancient sloth foot

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    So, do they make after market struts and is this covered under the extended warranty? Just curius if this is an exempted item!
  5. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    It is possible for oil leakage to appear on the rear shock (or front strut) and yet the component is still good. I consider the definitive test to be removing the part and manually compressing it, comparing to the resistance that a new unit provides.

    I replaced the rear shocks on my 2004 at around 30K miles because of mild oil seepage on one. However when I removed the old shocks and compressed them I found that they presented the same resistance as the new shocks. I installed the new ones anyway since I had them. Now with 84K miles, the rear shocks are leaking again. Not sure whether to reinstall the original ones or leave well enough alone.

    It is also possible for the strut or shock to be perfectly dry, yet have failed. As an example, when I replaced the front struts and rear shocks on my 2001, the front struts were dry, yet they were obviously bad using the manual compression test.

    The Toyota TSB makes it easy for the tech to determine whether the strut/shock is good or bad based upon visual appearance of the amount of oil leakage. That test is not necessarily accurate, as my experience above relates. However it costs substantial labor time to remove the struts and shocks, so no one is going to do that unless you agree to pay for the labor time in the event the parts are found to be serviceable.
  6. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

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    I guess what Im saying is I have owned probably 25 cars/trucks in my lifetime and none of them had leaking oil covered struts that were NOT bad. So this partial leaking partial warranty is news to me.





  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Since you appear to be confident that the rear shocks are bad, then you might suggest to your Toyota dealer's service writer that you will be willing to pay for the labor cost associated with removing the shocks (probably $300 or so), in the event they are found to be good based upon a manual compression test.
  8. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    Well, I've never had leaking shocks that were "normal." That is, they were bad, failed the bounce test
  9. ETP

    ETP Ancient sloth foot

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    Ditto!


    I do not see the humor in this folks. Leaking shocks are not normal at all. If Toyota wants to weasel out of a warranty then you know what to do. Vote with your pocket books. This is mechanics 101 for high school drop outs at the VOTEC. So how does the strut work with no oil? And do you think all the oil will leak out eventually? Dah!

    Sorry, I just had a bad day. Chilling out now!
  10. ETP

    ETP Ancient sloth foot

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    Nope, I just read my new extended warranty and struts and hybrid battery are not listed as covered.
  11. jdonalds

    jdonalds Member

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    I'm sitting in the Toyota dealer waiting for them to do a minor service on my 2008 with 70K miles. They just came by to tell me my rear struts are leaking and wanted $725 for labor to replace them. I think it is outrageous for the struts to go bad at this mileage, we never drive the car hard or over rough surfaces. It is also outrageous to charge $725.

    I'm going to see if I can find a non-dealer place to do the replacement for a lower price. Update: I just called and obtained a $550 price at a local shop with a good reputation.

    If you have a warranty period about to expire I suggest you check the struts for leakage and have them replaced under warranty before you get stuck with a large bill. My warranty was up at 60K miles. Toyota should pay for this. It seems like a quality/design issue to me.

    If this was my 4Runner it would be a different story. I use that over rough terrain and for towing where I could expect extra wear on struts. The Prius is never heavily loaded and spends 75% of its time on the freeway. No big bumps or rough roads around here.

    This sucks a big one.
  12. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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  13. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I agree that the front struts and rear shocks should be periodically inspected because their useful life is around 60K miles. Also note that although there may be no visible oil leak, that does not mean that the part is necessarily good.

    The price that you were quoted seems fairly typical for Toyota dealers. I recall being quoted ~$2K to replace all four, which provided me with plenty of incentive to DIY and save >75% of that amount.
  14. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    I'm no engineer but that is almost comical talking about how many inches before replacing. From a safety perspective, sure, some oil leaking may not indicate a meaningful difference in performance. Maybe that's what the TSB is talking about, but tolerating "a little oil leak" in a strut is like tolerating a little one in the engine. You can keep topping up that engine oil to outrace the seal leak but any powertrain warranty is still going to replace it; a strut-covering warranty should replace these, too.
  15. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    Just to be contrary, maybe the Toyota mechanic is honest.

    Top 10: Mechanic Scams - AskMen.com #3 is a likely scenario.

    Car Talk - Toyota Camry--4 struts leaking

    Next since they are under your vehicle they could not help but notice you need shocks or struts replaced. They love this repair again because it’s quick and easy with a high profit margin. When shocks or struts are worn out the vehicle has a poor ride as in it bounces up and down excessively. When shocks are bad you can get choppy wear on your tires (they look like stop signs). Shocks and struts are fluid or gas filled. If they leak they will leave a trail of oily film on the shock or strut body. The standard shock and strut test is push down on the vehicle front and rear bumpers separately and hold it down and then release it. The vehicle should return smoothly to its original height. Not bounce up and down like a bobble head doll. Ask you're auto repair service provider to do this test before approving the repairs. - Auto Repair Service Stories | Auto Facts.org
  16. KTPhil

    KTPhil Active Member

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    Toyota has had this criterion for strut replacement for many years. My 1989 Corolla manual had the same visual leak test. I replaced them anyway soon after one met the criterion (way out of warranty), and it handled nicer after that.