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Shocks 101

What Are the Differences Between Strut Assemblies & Bare Struts?

Important Selection

Critical to the steering, handling and braking of your vehicle, struts are a key component of your vehicle’s suspension system. If your struts are worn and need to be replaced, choosing the right replacement part is the first step of the repair job. Depending on your vehicle, you may have the choice between installing a strut assembly or a bare strut. Is a strut assembly right for your vehicle? Or should you install a bare strut? Monroe® has the information you need to determine the right part for your repair.

What is a Strut Assembly?

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A complete solution, a strut assembly comes with everything needed for a strut repair in a single, fully assembled unit. Also known as a loaded strut assembly or a complete strut assembly, a strut assembly includes:

  • Upper strut mount 
  • Strut bumper and boot 
  • Insulators 
  • Coil spring

Advantages of a Strut Assembly

A complete solution, a strut assembly comes with everything needed for a strut repair in a single, fully assembled unit. Also known as a loaded strut assembly or a complete strut assembly, a strut assembly includes:

  • No Spring Compressor Needed – By including a coil spring, no spring compressor is needed to complete the repair. Easy bolt-on installation makes this a simple repair for auto technicians and DIYers alike. 
  • Convenience – With everything needed for the job in a single unit, using a strut assembly means you don’t have to source other parts. 
  • All New Parts – Since a strut assembly includes all new components, you don’t have to worry about the coil spring or any other part wearing out before your new strut does. 
  • Fast & Easy Repair – Quicker and easier to install, a strut assembly takes the hassle out of removing the old strut and installing the new part. For those in areas where rust is a concern, you don’t have to worry about a coil spring or other part being difficult to remove because of rust and corrosion. 
  • Increased Productivity – For technicians, installing a loaded assembly means they can move on to the next repair in no time. 
  • Saves Money in the Long Run – While the upfront price of a strut assembly is higher than a bare strut, a strut assembly typically takes less labor to install. In the end, the price difference may be negligible. 
  • Restores Performance – Installing a strut assembly restores the vehicle to factory ride height which helps improve steering and handling capabilities.

What is a Bare Strut?

Also known as an unloaded strut or naked strut, a bare strut is simply the strut without the additional parts that come with a strut assembly. Installing this type of strut requires rebuilding by reusing the original coil spring and other parts like the upper strut mount.

Advantages of a Bare Strut

A complete solution, a strut assembly comes with everything needed for a strut repair in a single, fully assembled unit. Also known as a loaded strut assembly or a complete strut assembly, a strut assembly includes:

  • Less Expensive – An unloaded strut is typically cheaper than a loaded strut since it doesn’t come with extra parts. 
  • Coverage – Available for a wide variety of applications, unloaded struts have extensive coverage. 
  • Customization – Installing a bare strut gives you the flexibility to replace just the parts you need to and reuse other components.

Things to Consider

When deciding between a loaded strut and an unloaded strut, take these points into consideration:

  • Spring Condition – Examine the spring for damage or crakes. While springs can last longer than struts, corrosion and rust can lead to premature failure while sagging springs can lead to diminished performance. Take time to check the ride height to ensure that it is within specifications; if the spring is out of spec, a complete strut assembly may be the right choice. 
  • Access to Spring Compressor – If you don’t have a spring compressor, installing a complete strut assembly can take away the hassle of renting this piece of specialized equipment or finding a shop that will do the strut rebuild for you. A loaded strut assembly is a great option for DIYers who aren’t likely to have a spring compressor in their garage.

Monroe Strut Assemblies

From trucks and sedans to SUVs and CUVs, Monroe has a strut assembly for a range of popular applications. Whether you choose a Quick-Strut® assembly or a Magnum® loaded strut assembly, you can be assured that they are engineered to strict performance and durability standards using premium materials. Monroe’s application-specific design philosophy ensures that the strut assembly is tailored to your specific vehicle, considering factors such as the engine, trim level and wheel size.

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  • Monroe Quick-Strut® Assembly – Featuring a vehicle-specific design, Monroe Quick-Strut assemblies are fit checked, ride tested and engineered to restore factory ride height and ride performance. They include all required components to complete a strut repair in a single, fully assembled unit. 
  • Monroe Magnum® Loaded Strut Assembly – For hardworking half-ton trucks, the complete Monroe Magnum loaded strut assembly includes an application-specific design and variable rate coil spring that delivers a controlled ride and maintains ride height for everyday driving or when under load. Pair with Monroe Magnum light truck shocks for a complete 4-corner upgrade to get the job done.

 

Learn more about quality shocks, struts, and strut assemblies, find the right car part, or find a local repair shop today.

The content in this article is for informational purposes only. You should consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have questions relating to any of the topics covered herein. Tenneco will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.