1996 Lexus ES 300 Long Term Road Test

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1996 Lexus ES 300: Hood Struts DIY

September 3, 2012

1996 Lexus ES 300

We've been using a golf club to prop up the hood when we check the oil and coolant. But since we haven't had any other expenses on our "Debt-Free Car" we decided to invest in a set of new, aftermarket struts.

As Ron Montoya noted in his blog post: "The struts cost $14 each. The 'out the door' price with tax and shipping was $37.07. For reference, the Lexus dealer near our office is asking $177 for each strut. Going the aftermarket route saved us roughly $350."

That is, if we could install them ourselves.

1996 Lexus ES 300

We looked at the instructions and a short video and it looked simple. Still, experience has taught us that dropped bolts, stripped nuts, a lack of tools and busted knuckles can turn even a simple DIY project into a nightmare. Still, we proceeded with optimism, mechanic's gloves and a set of wrenches.

With golf club securely in place, we used a box end wrench to remove the lower bolt. It came out slowly but easily. We then removed the upper bolt using an open end wrench. The aftermarket replacement was a bit different since it was actually two parts. In other words, we put in the strut first, then the connecter and then popped the end over the ball joint.

Only one strut held the hood up, but it sagged at one corner. The second strut connections actually had better access so we used a socket wrench and the job went faster. It only took 20 minutes and we didn't spill a drop of blood. Now, when we unlatch the hood, it rises easily and stays in place. It's incredibly satisfying to do a repair like this on our own, and save so much money.

1996 Lexus ES 300

Look! No golf club! 

Philip Reed, Edmunds Consumer Advice Editor @ 147,916 miles

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