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Need New Shocks for Your Honda Element in 2024: Expert Guide to Replacing Struts on 03-11 Models

Why Do Honda Element Struts Wear Out and Need Replacing?

As the owner of a 2003-2011 Honda Element, you may eventually find yourself needing to replace the struts. This critical suspension component is what absorbs impacts from the road and helps provide a smooth, stable ride. But constant bombardment from potholes, bumps, and other road imperfections will eventually take their toll.

Struts contain hydraulic fluid that is forced through small valves and passages inside the cylinder with each suspension movement. Over time, this fluid can break down and lose effectiveness. Seals and O-rings also wear out, allowing fluid leaks. Furthermore, strut mounts and bearings gradually deteriorate. When any of these things happen, ride quality suffers and your Honda Element’s handling can become compromised.

Some common signs that the struts are wearing out include bouncing after hitting bumps, nose-diving when braking, uneven tire wear, steering wheel vibration, and body lean in corners. If you’ve noticed any of these issues lately, it may mean the struts need to be replaced soon.

When Should Struts Be Replaced on an 03-11 Honda Element?

Need New Shocks for Your Honda Element in 2024: Expert Guide to Replacing Struts on 03-11 Models

There is no set mileage interval for replacing struts on a Honda Element. Driving style, road conditions, vehicle maintenance, and other factors all determine how long they last. Most struts are good for at least 50,000 miles, but can begin failing earlier if driven aggressively or on rough roads.

The best way to know if your Element needs new struts is to have the suspension inspected by a professional mechanic. They can examine the struts for signs of leaks and test ride the vehicle to feel for any handling or ride quality issues. If replacement is recommended, don’t delay – worn out struts will only get worse over time.

OEM vs Aftermarket Replacement Struts for Honda Elements

When the time comes for new struts, you’ll need to decide between factory Honda OEM parts or aftermarket replacements. OEM struts are identical to what came on your Element originally and maintain the factory ride quality. However, they are more expensive – expect to pay $800 or more for a full set.

Aftermarket struts from brands like KYB, Monroe, Gabriel, and others cost significantly less, often in the $400-600 range. While not quite up to OEM standards, quality aftermarket units will still restore suspension function and improve ride comfort. For many Element owners on a budget, aftermarket struts are a viable option.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace Struts on a Honda Element?

Need New Shocks for Your Honda Element in 2024: Expert Guide to Replacing Struts on 03-11 Models

Strut replacement costs will vary depending on whether you use OEM or aftermarket parts. Additional factors like labor rates in your area and shop fees also affect overall pricing. Here are some typical costs:

  • OEM struts – $800-1000 for parts plus 3-5 hours labor ($100-150/hr) and shop fees
  • Aftermarket struts – $400-600 for parts plus 3-5 hours labor and shop fees
  • DIY with aftermarket struts – Around $500-700 for parts if you do the work yourself

As you can see, OEM struts with professional installation will be the most expensive option, potentially running $1300 or more. Aftermarket DIY replacement can save hundreds of dollars but requires mechanical skills.

Can I Replace the Struts Myself on My Honda Element?

Replacing struts on an Element involves removal and installation of several components. You’ll need to disconnect stabilizer links, brake lines, and other hardware around each strut assembly. With the right tools and skills, it can be done at home in a driveway or garage. But it’s substantially more difficult than a basic brake pad or oil change.

Before attempting DIY strut replacement, assess your mechanical abilities honestly. If you lack much experience with automotive repairs, having a professional swap the struts is advisable. The labor costs are money well spent to ensure it’s done properly.

Step-by-Step DIY Front Strut Replacement Instructions

If you do decide to replace the front struts yourself, follow these key steps:

  1. Lift the front of the vehicle and support it securely on jack stands
  2. Remove front wheels
  3. Disconnect the stabilizer bar links from the strut assemblies
  4. Disconnect ABS and brake line brackets from the struts
  5. Remove the bolts mounting the strut assembly to the steering knuckle
  6. Unbolt the three top mounts securing the strut to the vehicle body
  7. Carefully remove the old strut and install the new one in reverse order
  8. Torque all fasteners to spec and refill fluid if required
  9. Reinstall wheels, then lower vehicle and test drive

Refer to a service manual for full instructions and specifications. Be sure to have the alignment checked after installing new struts.

Step-by-Step DIY Rear Strut Replacement Instructions

Here are the basics for replacing the rear struts yourself:

  1. Raise rear of Element and support on jack stands
  2. Remove rear wheels
  3. Unbolt the lower strut mount from the control arm
  4. Unfasten the three upper mounting nuts in trunk
  5. Carefully remove old strut and transfer upper mount to new strut
  6. Install new strut and reverse removal steps
  7. Refill fluid if required and reinstall wheels
  8. Lower vehicle and test drive

Again, follow all specifications in a factory service manual. Rear alignment may need adjustment after installation.

Best Aftermarket Brands for Replacement Struts on Honda Elements

Need New Shocks for Your Honda Element in 2024: Expert Guide to Replacing Struts on 03-11 Models

When shopping for aftermarket struts, look to leading brands like KYB, Monroe, Gabriel, or Tokico. These companies engineer their struts specifically for each vehicle application to restore proper OEM function. KYB Excel-G and Monroe Sensa-Trac struts are great options for the Honda Element.

Avoid no-name discount brands that may lack proper quality control. Pay a little more for struts from reputable aftermarket companies to get parts that fit, perform, and last.

Where to Buy Quality Replacement Struts for Your Honda Element

Replacement struts from brands like KYB and Monroe are available online through retailers like Amazon and Summit Racing. Local auto parts stores like AutoZone, O’Reilly, and Pep Boys also carry these brands. And your neighborhood mechanic can likely source quality aftermarket struts through their parts supplier network.

For OEM Honda parts, dealerships charge MSRP but you can often find discounts on sites like HondaPartsNow. Buying the correct struts the first time is critical, so research options thoroughly before purchasing.

With high-quality replacement struts installed, your 2003-2011 Honda Element will once again handle great for many more years of camping trips and outdoor adventures. Take care of this important suspension service promptly to keep your beloved Element on the road and running smoothly.

What are the Symptoms of Worn Out Struts on a Honda Element?

Need New Shocks for Your Honda Element in 2024: Expert Guide to Replacing Struts on 03-11 Models

As a Honda Element owner, keeping an eye out for signs of worn struts is important to stay on top of suspension maintenance. Here are some key symptoms that indicate your struts may be failing:

Excessive Bouncing After Hitting Bumps

Healthy struts should dampen impacts from potholes, expansion joints, and other road irregularities. But when strut oil deteriorates or seals leak, their ability to cushion bumps declines. You’ll notice an amplified bouncing or hopping after hitting road imperfections as the suspension can’t control its motions as effectively.

Front End Dive When Braking

The struts help keep the front suspension geometry stable during braking. But worn out struts allow deeper nosediving under braking forces. If you see pronounced front end dive when braking, especially under hard stops, it likely indicates compromised strut function.

Vehicle Lean in Corners

Your Element’s body roll should be minimized when cornering thanks to properly operating struts. Excessive lean during turns points to weakened struts unable to keep the body stable side-to-side.

Uneven Tire Wear

If your tires are wearing unevenly with bald spots developing quickly, alignment issues from strut failures could be the culprit. Have your alignment checked, but also inspect the struts for any signs of problems.

Steering Wheel Vibration

A shaking steering wheel, especially when hitting bumps, is a classic indicator of bad struts. Their diminished damping action allows too much feedback into the steering column over rough roads.

Knocking Noises Over Bumps

Loose strut mounts or worn bearings can cause knocking noises from the front suspension when going over bumps. Have the strut assemblies inspected if such sounds arise.

If you notice any combination of these symptoms developing, have the struts thoroughly checked by your Honda Element technician. Catching failing struts early provides the chance to replace them before they cause further damage or create safety issues.

With high-quality aftermarket or OEM replacement struts installed, your Element’s ride and handling will feel like new again. Don’t wait for total strut failure that leaves your suspension compromised – heed the warning signs and take prompt action for smooth travels ahead.

When Should Struts Be Replaced on an 03-11 Honda Element?

Need New Shocks for Your Honda Element in 2024: Expert Guide to Replacing Struts on 03-11 Models

Knowing when to swap out worn struts is important for keeping your 2003-2011 Honda Element running smoothly. Unfortunately, there is no set mileage interval for replacement. The rough-and-tumble Element suspension takes quite a beating, but several factors determine when its struts need attention.

Watch For Symptoms

Keep an eye and ear out for common signs of failing struts like bouncing, nose diving when braking, steering wheel shakes, and knocking noises. If you notice any of these symptoms emerging, the struts likely need replacement soon.

Have Regular Suspension Inspections

Every 6 months, have a technician inspect your Element’s suspension. They can check for developing strut leaks, mount damage, and test ride it to feel for changes in ride quality or handling. This preventative maintenance helps spot issues early.

Consider How You Use Your Element

Do you frequently overload the vehicle with cargo or tow a trailer? Lots of heavy hauling will accelerate strut wear. Also, if you drive aggressively or live on rough, pothole-ridden roads, plan on more frequent strut replacement than the average driver.

Element’s Age and Mileage

Need New Shocks for Your Honda Element in 2024: Expert Guide to Replacing Struts on 03-11 Models

For most Elements, struts last at least 50,000 miles. But age also takes a toll as seals and parts degrade over time. By 80,000-100,000 miles or 10 years old, consider replacing the struts preemptively to avoid being stranded with a failed part.

Don’t Wait for Total Failure

It’s better to be proactive and replace worn struts early than wait for a catastrophic failure while driving that leaves you with a disabled vehicle. Plus, driving long term on failing struts accelerates wear of other suspension and steering components.

Stay attentive to how your aging Element feels and drives for signs its struts need replacement. Investing in new OEM or quality aftermarket struts at the right time will keep your ride handling great for years to come.

OEM vs Aftermarket Replacement Struts for Honda Elements

When it’s time to replace your Honda Element’s worn out struts, you’ll need to pick between factory OEM parts or cheaper aftermarket alternatives. Both have their pros and cons for your unique needs and budget.

OEM Honda Struts

Opting for genuine Honda struts ensures you get identical replacements to what came on your Element originally. They are engineered to precisely match the vehicle’s suspension design.

Benefits of OEM struts include:

  • Restore factory ride quality and handling
  • Stringent quality control standards
  • Designed to fit perfectly without modifications
  • Similar long service life to originals

Downsides of Honda OEM struts are their premium cost, often $800 or more for a set. But for Element owners wanting strict original-equipment restoration, they are worth the price.

Aftermarket Replacement Struts

Aftermarket struts from reputable brands provide a less expensive alternative, typically in the $400 to $600 range. Companies like KYB, Monroe, and Gabriel engineer applications-specific replacements with the proper fittings and tune.

Benefits of aftermarket struts:

  • Significantly lower cost than OEM
  • Readily available from local retailers
  • Meet or exceed OE durability standards
  • Restore ride and handling to near-new condition

The main compromise is ride quality may not quite match OEM new. But for many Element owners, brand-name aftermarket struts present the best value replacement option.

When deciding on replacement struts, weigh factors like your budget, intended length of ownership, and how much hauling or off-road use the vehicle sees. OEM or quality aftermarket parts both enhance longevity and your Element’s driving experience.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace Struts on a Honda Element?

Need New Shocks for Your Honda Element in 2024: Expert Guide to Replacing Struts on 03-11 Models

Like most car repairs, the cost to replace worn out struts on your Honda Element varies depending on several factors. Here’s a look at what impacts your total bill:

OEM vs. Aftermarket Parts

Genuine Honda struts bought at the dealer typically run $800-1000 or more per set. Quality aftermarket units from brands like KYB or Monroe cost much less at around $400-600 for the pair.

Shop Labor Rates

Expect to pay 1-1.5 hours labor per strut, so 3-5 hours total for both front and rear. Shop labor rates range from $80/hr at smaller independents up to $150/hr or more at dealerships.

Additional Fees

Shops often charge miscellaneous fees for supplies, recycling of old parts, shop supplies, etc. These can add $100 or more to the final ticket.


As with most services, labor rates are higher in big cities versus small towns. And coastal regions typically see higher average repair costs than the Midwest, for example.

DIY Savings

Need New Shocks for Your Honda Element in 2024: Expert Guide to Replacing Struts on 03-11 Models

Doing the work yourself drastically lowers costs, though you’ll still pay $400-700 for quality aftermarket replacement struts.

Given these factors, here are some typical strut replacement costs:

  • Dealer using OEM parts: $1300+
  • Independent shop with aftermarket parts: $800-1000
  • DIY with aftermarket parts: $500-700

Shop around to find the best parts and labor prices from reputable service providers in your area. With some research and skill, you can save hundreds over dealer pricing on this common Element repair.

Can I Replace the Struts Myself on My Honda Element?

With some mechanical skill and resolve, you can absolutely replace the struts yourself on your 2003-2011 Honda Element. However, it’s a more complex job than basic maintenance like brakes and fluids.

Proper Tools Needed

You’ll need an assortment of standard and metric hand tools – socket sets, wrenches, pry bars, etc. A quality floor jack and jack stands are essential. Strut spring compressors will be necessary if replacing whole assemblies.

Use Proper Safety Precautions

When lifting the vehicle and handling compressed coil springs, take care to avoid injuries. Wear eye protection and gloves, and ensure the Element is securely supported.

Patience and Perseverance Are Key

Struts involve removing many components to access them. Take pictures during disassembly to aid reinstallation. Expect the job to take several hours, so budget adequate time.

Follow Detailed Instructions

Consult a factory service manual, not just YouTube videos. The specs for tightening bolts and proper procedures must be followed.

Recruit an Assistant If Needed

Having a friend help with tasks like compressing the springs makes a difficult job much easier. An extra set of hands is ideal for fiddly steps.

Overall, with the right preparation and dedication, many Element owners can tackle strut replacement themselves and save significant labor costs. Just be honest with your abilities and don’t hesitate to pay a pro if it’s beyond your comfort level.

Step-by-Step DIY Front Strut Replacement Instructions

Need New Shocks for Your Honda Element in 2024: Expert Guide to Replacing Struts on 03-11 Models

Ready to tackle replacing the front struts on your 2003-2011 Honda Element? Here is a step-by-step guide to this do-it-yourself repair job:

  1. Safely jack up the front of the Element and support it on sturdy jack stands.
  2. Remove both front wheels for better access.
  3. Locate and disconnect the sway bar end links attached to each strut assembly using the proper tools.
  4. Unbolt the ABS sensor line bracket from the strut to allow it to move freely.
  5. Unhook the brake hose bracket where it attaches to the strut housing.
  6. Remove the bolts fastening the steering knuckle to the bottom of the strut.
  7. In the engine bay, remove the three nuts securing the top mount of each strut to the body.
  8. Carefully maneuver the old strut out and transfer any parts to the new replacement unit.
  9. Reverse the steps above to install each new complete strut assembly.
  10. Torque all fasteners to factory spec and refill strut fluid if required.

Refer to a factory service manual for full specifications on removal, installation, and proper torque values. Missing something or torquing bolts incorrectly can cause serious issues.

Once finished, take the Element for an alignment check to restore proper steering geometry with the new struts in place. Then enjoy a ride that feels like new again!

Step-by-Step DIY Rear Strut Replacement Instructions

Need New Shocks for Your Honda Element in 2024: Expert Guide to Replacing Struts on 03-11 Models

The rear struts on your 2003-2011 Honda Element can also be replaced at home with some mechanical aptitude and the right tools. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Safely jack up the rear and support it on jack stands.
  2. Remove the rear wheels.
  3. Locate the lower strut mount bolts at the bottom of each assembly where they attach to the control arm. Remove them.
  4. In the cargo area, unbolt the three upper strut mount nuts accessible once the side panels are removed.
  5. Carefully maneuver the old strut out from the upper mount and withdraw it from the wheel well.
  6. Transfer the upper mount assembly over to the new aftermarket replacement strut.
  7. Guide the new strut back into place and hand start the upper mount nuts.
  8. Install lower mount bolts and torque them to spec.
  9. Torque upper nuts to factory specs once the weight of the vehicle is lowered.
  10. Refill strut fluid if required per instructions.

A factory service manual is highly recommended for the proper procedures, torque values, and reassembly details. Having an assistant makes things easier as well.

With the new rear struts installed, have the alignment checked to restore proper geometry. Take care when working under a supported vehicle and follow all safety precautions.

Best Aftermarket Brands for Replacement Struts on Honda Elements

When shopping for new aftermarket struts for your 2003-2011 Honda Element, stick with top brands engineered specifically for your vehicle. Here are some recommended options:

KYB Excel-G

A popular OE supplier, KYB manufactures direct-fit Excel-G struts for the Element that meet or exceed factory durability standards. They are designed to restore ride, handling, and control back to like-new condition.

Monroe Sensa-Trac

Another leading brand, Monroe offers Sensa-Trac struts with customized valving and tuning for Honda applications. Their design considers loads, driving style, and road conditions.

Gabriel Ultra

From original equipment maker Gabriel, Ultra struts feature application-specific calibrations and premium materials resistant to extreme temperatures and conditions.

Tokico Illumina

Precision engineered in Japan, Tokico Illumina struts deliver OE-quality fit and performance thanks to custom valving curves and twin-tube designs.

Avoid no-name discount brands that may compromise ride, handling, and longevity. With reputable aftermarket struts from KYB, Monroe, Gabriel or Tokico, your Element will feel solid and controlled for the long haul.

Where to Buy Quality Replacement Struts for Your Honda Element

Need New Shocks for Your Honda Element in 2024: Expert Guide to Replacing Struts on 03-11 Models

When it’s time to purchase replacement struts for your 2003-2011 Honda Element, here are some good options to find top quality parts:

Online Retailers

Websites like Amazon.com, RockAuto.com and PartsGeek.com offer a wide selection of brand name struts that can be shipped to your door. Shop around for the best prices on KYB, Monroe, and other recommended brands.

Auto Parts Stores

Major chains like AutoZone, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Advance Auto Parts, and Pep Boys carry some aftermarket struts in stock. Support your local store or shop options online.

Independent Mechanic Parts Suppliers

Your favorite local repair shop likely has wholesale accounts with parts suppliers that can source quality struts for you. Take advantage of their connections.

Honda Dealer

The dealer parts counter will stock genuine OEM Honda struts, but typically at full list price. Search sites like HondaPartsNow.com for discounts.

Salvage Yards

If trying to save money, used struts from a reputable salvage yard may be an option. Inspect them thoroughly for damage or leaks first.

Do some research to find the specific manufacturer and part numbers needed for your Element. Then shop around for the best deal on fit-guaranteed struts that meet your budget.