Is it time to replace the suspension in my ‘11 Altima?

A General Discussion forum for Altima owners, and a great place to introduce yourself if you are new to the NICOclub Altima Forums!
bobweaver
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2019 7:47 am
Car: 2011 Altima 2.5SL

Is it time to replace the suspension in my ‘11 Altima?

Postby bobweaver » Sat Nov 23, 2019 9:17 am

I have a 2011 Altima 2.5 SL with ~145K miles on it that I drove off the lot new in May of 2011. I have taken good care of this vehicle, and have used predominantly dealership service departments for all maintenance needs as they are typically price competitive for what I have needed to do to the car thus far. Over the last 6-9 months, I have noticed that my suspension seems to be making more noise over bumps and holes in the road, but is far from the sound of a totally shot suspension bottoming out. The car seems to nosedive more under (heavy) braking, and the front end rises when I get on the gas. Body lean also seems to be increased, and I sense that I am bouncing a little more after larger bumps. I visually inspected the struts up front and the shocks in the rear for any signs of wear, and all four corners are visually clean with no signs of damage or leakage. I have tried the bounce test on all four corners as well, but I am unable to generate an excessive bounce other than maybe one.

My question to this community is if a suspension replacement based on the above description would be somewhat premature? Obviously this is a large investment, but I am cognizant of the negative effects that worn struts can have on braking distances, which is the primary cause of my concern since I do most of my driving on the interstates of Atlanta. I would use new Nissan Value Advantage loaded strut kits for the front and shock absorbers in the rear, installed by a trusted local shop that has been serving my area and my family well for 20+ years. Any thoughts on the Value Advantage line? Both boxes of the parts say made in China. The rear OE shocks are only ~$60 more per pair which I would be fine with paying if it meant better ride quality and longer term functionality.


User avatar
AZhitman
Administrator
Posts: 70011
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2002 2:04 am
Car: 72 240Z RB25, 63 Bluebird RHD, 63 NL320, 67 WRL411, 67 SPL311, 68 510 SR, 77 620 SR20, 89 Pao, 97 D21, 98 S14, 11 LS460L, 12 Titan 4x4.
Location: Surprise, Arizona
Contact:

Re: Is it time to replace the suspension in my ‘11 Altima?

Postby AZhitman » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:35 am

Welcome aboard, Bob!

You're on the right track. Failing struts may not show any external signs of damage like they did back in the day... the clunk you're hearing is likely front strut bearings (the part at the top that allows the strut to swivel in relation to the strut tower). Those fail first.

Regardless, everything's tired after 145k, and is due for replacement.

Another thing to look at is the control arm bushings and sway bar bushings - all of these components are relatively inexpensive (cheaper than the labor). Have your shop folks give it a full inspection, and if they'll install aftermarket parts, you may be just as well off with replacement-quality bits from RockAuto.

Good luck, keep us posted!

bobweaver
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2019 7:47 am
Car: 2011 Altima 2.5SL

Re: Is it time to replace the suspension in my ‘11 Altima?

Postby bobweaver » Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:08 pm

AZhitman wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:35 am
Welcome aboard, Bob!

You're on the right track. Failing struts may not show any external signs of damage like they did back in the day... the clunk you're hearing is likely front strut bearings (the part at the top that allows the strut to swivel in relation to the strut tower). Those fail first.

Regardless, everything's tired after 145k, and is due for replacement.

Another thing to look at is the control arm bushings and sway bar bushings - all of these components are relatively inexpensive (cheaper than the labor). Have your shop folks give it a full inspection, and if they'll install aftermarket parts, you may be just as well off with replacement-quality bits from RockAuto.

Good luck, keep us posted!
Thanks. Do you (or anyone else!) have any thoughts on Value Advantage parts quality/longevity versus picking up KYB instead? KYB from RockAuto is $125 less total for all 4 corners and I’d hate to have purchased these Nissan VA parts just for the name if KYB is really the superior product. The limited lifetime warranty certainly stands out. I intend to drive this vehicle for at least another 3 years/36K miles so I do not want to have these components not have that lifespan. My mechanic said that he typically would install KYB in this application.

User avatar
AZhitman
Administrator
Posts: 70011
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2002 2:04 am
Car: 72 240Z RB25, 63 Bluebird RHD, 63 NL320, 67 WRL411, 67 SPL311, 68 510 SR, 77 620 SR20, 89 Pao, 97 D21, 98 S14, 11 LS460L, 12 Titan 4x4.
Location: Surprise, Arizona
Contact:

Re: Is it time to replace the suspension in my ‘11 Altima?

Postby AZhitman » Sat Nov 23, 2019 7:11 pm

He's right. KYB is good stuff, superior to whatever Chinese stuff Nissan is using. ;)

bobweaver
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2019 7:47 am
Car: 2011 Altima 2.5SL

Re: Is it time to replace the suspension in my ‘11 Altima?

Postby bobweaver » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:00 pm

AZhitman wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 7:11 pm
He's right. KYB is good stuff, superior to whatever Chinese stuff Nissan is using. ;)
So this has been interesting. I kept the NVA parts and my shop installed them last week with no issues. However, driving it around the next day, I immediately noticed that the front of the vehicle is emitting a tapping/clunking sound at low speeds over bumps and pavement irregularities. It sounds like what a suspension would sound like when it is completely worn out and is bottoming out on bumps. I am largely unable to isolate it to one side versus the other. Furthermore, there is a creaking sound on the left strut when I turn the wheel left and right to its ends. I took it to the dealership where they diagnosed the clunking as the lower control arm bushings being worn out, and I agreed to have them replaced due to the presence of a pricing promotion making it similar to pricing of independent shops. They also re-examined the strut installations and verified that everything is torqued and attached properly. This did not fix the problem, and I’m still clunking away.

Any ideas? I’m thinking that something in the strut assembly itself is defective like the mount or the bearings, but this would thankfully be covered under the parts warranty. That, or these parts really are garbage.

User avatar
AZhitman
Administrator
Posts: 70011
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2002 2:04 am
Car: 72 240Z RB25, 63 Bluebird RHD, 63 NL320, 67 WRL411, 67 SPL311, 68 510 SR, 77 620 SR20, 89 Pao, 97 D21, 98 S14, 11 LS460L, 12 Titan 4x4.
Location: Surprise, Arizona
Contact:

Re: Is it time to replace the suspension in my ‘11 Altima?

Postby AZhitman » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:05 pm

As mentioned previously, upper strut bearings.

My guess is either the new struts didn't include new bearings and the shop reused them, or they didn't install correctly.


Return to “Altima General Discussions”