You’ve decided it’s finally time to change your worn-out suspension. While shopping around you come across struts that come “complete” and “bare” but aren’t quite sure what the difference is or which one you should be buying. That’s where we come in.

What is a Bare Strut Assembly?

First off, what is a strut? Much like shock absorbers, struts help dampen fluctuations from the vehicle’s coil springs. But unlike shock absorbers, struts serve to act as a structural part of the suspension system while front struts also provide a pivot point for the vehicles steering system. Most struts that you will find are housed inside what is known as a MacPherson strut assembly. The MacPherson strut contains the following components: strut, coil spring, spring insulators, bump stop, mount, dust cover, and bearing (depending on vehicle application).

Complete Strut Assembly vs. Bare Strut Assembly

Now that you know what a strut is, lets breakdown the difference between a complete strut and bare strut. The difference couldn’t be more straightforward:

A complete strut consists of all the components of the MacPherson strut, but fully assembled as one unit. These are typically referred to as a Complete Strut, Quick Strut or Loaded Strut. A bare strut is just the strut itself, not as an assembly. There are a few benefits when going with a complete strut. The biggest is ease of installation. Since complete struts are pre-assembled, they just bolt right in whereas bare struts require disassembly and reassembly with a special spring compressor tool which can be dangerous.

Another plus when it comes to complete struts is that they consist of all brands new components whereas bare struts reuse the components from your old suspension like the coil springs and mounts. Because of this, complete struts are more expensive than their bare strut counterparts but are generally cheaper to install as they require less labor, which in the long run may end up being the more affordable option. Just remember to consult your mechanic beforehand so they can compare them for you.

Here at Complete Struts, we offer one of the largest catalogs of Complete Struts and Bare Struts on the market. Now that you’re knowledgeable about the differences between the two, we hope this makes it easier to shop around and get the parts that fit your situation and price point the best.