XC90 quick struts (also known as complete strut assemblies and complete strut and coil spring assemblies) are a tempting solution when it comes to replace the struts on your full-size Volvo SUV’s front-end suspension. And I can totally see why so many people are drawn to them as a viable fix for squeaking or otherwise noisy struts. They’re generally (but not always) comparable in price. They’re a direct fit, and they are an easy reverse-install to the struts you’re going to be taking out anyway. And for many buyers, the fact that there is no spring compression involved (and therefor an elimination of that danger) is a huge factor when it comes to buying these all-in-one struts for the Volvo XC90. On top of all this, these quick struts contain all the parts you need: strut, spring seat, strut mount, spring, bellows and bump stop.
Despite all these positive selling features, I still believe there are better options out there and plenty of reasons to consider buying individual suspension components vs. XC90 quick struts.
XC90 Quick Struts – Yeah, but are they Quality?
Quick struts aren’t generally available with the quality suspension components I prefer to put in my XC90 – at least not completely. I’ve seen some people suggest that anything better than a quick strut of unknown quality parts is somehow OK and that name-brand suspension parts are somehow for those of us who will be driving our XC90 in extreme conditions or on the race track somewhere.
The truth is, your Volvo XC90 came with the quality parts it needed right out of the factory for everyday driving. And you do yourself no favors by replacing those parts with anything but the quality of suspension parts that your XC90 was made with.
Another reality is that, when you buy a complete XC90 strut assembly, you may be replacing Volvo suspension parts that you simply don’t need to replace. Common logic is that it’s important to replace strut components in pairs. But if you don’t need new springs, why replace them with new ones in a XC90 quick strut?
I also mentioned questionable or unknown quality of parts contained within the quick-struts. While it’s true that some manufacturers of XC90 quick struts claim to use OE quality parts, here is a stark difference between OE quality and OE manufacturers. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a complete XC90 quick strut made of 100% OEM manufacturer brands simply because someone would have to assemble those brand-name parts on a white-label basis and sell those brands under another name.
XC90 Quick Struts – Mostly OEM Parts is still a Risky Proposition
Even if a XC90 quick strut seller were to use mostly-OEM manufacturer parts, there would still be some parts that were of lesser-quality and more-likely to fail sooner than the rest. An example would be XC90 quick struts with OEM manufacturer parts with the exception of spring seats. The spring seats would be likely to fail first on the XC90, causing you to need new spring seats. At that point, you would be left with the decision to replace one or two XC90 quick struts with new assemblies solely for the sake of a failed spring seat. Or, you would have to replace the spring seats on your strut assemblies, negating the reason why you got the quick-strut assemblies in the first place.
Which parts on the quick strut are of lesser quality? Who knows? It could be the spring, the strut itself, the bump stop, spring seat, strut bearing or even the bellows. Now, a torn bellows might not seem like much of a problem, but it can allow contamination into the strut’s functioning area and lead to premature wear and failure. The idea of changing a bellows because it’s worn prematurely seems silly, especially when it could have been avoided in the first place by simply buying a quality one a-la-carte.
And a-la-carte is the way I, and many others, suggest buying struts and other Suspension components for the Volvo XC90. This is really the only way to know for certain, the quality of parts you’ll be putting into your XC90’s front-end suspension. And the cost difference is negligible if you include the length of time OEM manufacturer parts are going to last up against parts of unknown source and/or quality.
Here’s a list of a-la-carte strut assembly parts I’ve purchased, individually, for my 2004 XC90:
- Volvo Strut Mount – Lemfoerder 30714968
- Volvo Strut Kit 2 Piece – SACHS KIT-P2XC90STRTKT2P2 30776718
- Volvo Strut Bellow – Genuine Volvo 9140068
- Volvo Bump Stop – Genuine Volvo 31277953
- Volvo Strut Mount Spring Seat – Genuine Volvo 30683637
- Volvo Strut Mount Lock Nut Kit
Total price for XC90 struts and strut components I’ve put into my Volvo: $635USD (may vary depending on where and when you buy)
Total price for two Volvo quick-strut assemblies: $470-$540 (data gathered from FCP Euro using cheapest and most expensive Sachs Volvo quick strut assemblies currently being sold.) I won’t even insult you with pricing details about the cheap XC90 strut assemblies. Ok, I will, but I’ll do it later in the post.
Cheapest price I’ve seen for a Volvo XC90 quick strut is $203 for TWO XC90 QUICK STRUTS – THAT’S JUST OVER $100 EACH!!
. See my notes below on why I’d never, ever buy them.
NOTE: Sachs does sell quick strut kits, but I have yet to see one for the XC90. If (and only if) Sachs made them for the XC90 and FCP Euro sold them (because of their FCP Euro Lifetime Promise), would I considering buying them.
Of course, my way isn’t the only way. I could have, for example, bought a complete Volvo strut hardware kit that is almost 100% Genuine Volvo. For $156USD, it has all the hardware one would need to assemble new struts, but again, I didn’t need it all.
So FCP Euro offering these kits is solely for convenience and not for any kind of price break. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, the prices are cheap enough as it is – I’m simply making the statement for the sake of a fair comparison.
I Don’t Have Quick Struts in my Volvo XC90
So, I’ve spent an extra few dollars for my choice to buy individual parts, but I KNOW the quality land source of those parts and I know that by making my purchases through FCP Euro, I’ve got a lifetime promise to back them up. So if, for some reason, one particular component fails prematurely, I can simply get another one and just pay for shipping and not have to worry about replacing parts that don’t need replacing.
My notes on the $100 XC90 Quick Struts
First of all, I’m not afraid to link to them: Check them out for yourself.
Second, if you want to buy them, then that’s on you. Here are two screen shots if you didn’t follow the link:
These are sold by a company called Complete Struts – and they’re about what you expect from a company with such a name. They use the typical tactics to get you to think what they sell is quality – when it’s not. Factory torqued? I would hope so – kind of goes without saying. These words: “premium” “quality” and “spec” mentioned in absence of OEM brands are a good signal to you – to not buy these.
Phrases like “OEM spec” are meant to make you think that you’re buying OEM quality – you’re not. Quality? Without stating a brand, how can you really judge for yourself?
There’s just no comparison. Your XC90 is a heavy car, and putting anything that isn’t OEM is taking a big risk. The company also offers a “Limited Lifetime” warranty which basically says: If your part is found defective in 30 days or less, they will refund or replace. If it’s between 30 days and one year – they will replace. Which sounds about right for a complete strut assembly that costs just over $100. It doesn’t sound like they really stand behind their products. But we all know one Volvo XC90 parts supplier that does and has a Lifetime Parts Replacement Guarantee to go along with it.