KYB Strut Plus Review: Strut + vs OEM Ride Quality Comparison (and why I didn’t buy Monroe’s)

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I’ve driven over 4k miles on my KYB struts now, and I’m happy to report they’re doing awesome and truck rides way better! I’m glad I didn’t buy the Monroe’s, since I wouldn’t have gotten the handling improvements in the front end and cornering. The KYB progressive spring rate over stock fixed my front end sag, and the control arms don’t hit the bump stop anymore over hard speed bumps. The shock valving is spot on, and the “brick road” responsiveness is much improved. Very happy with the KYB’s, and would highly recommend them.


* side note – I originally bought my replacement strut kit from Auto Anything and had a terrible experience. I reordered for a second time through Amazon, and got free shipping and had them in 2 days even though they weren’t Prime items… Auto Anything was just a reseller and drop shipping them to me with a TWO WEEK shipping time… they just don’t tell you that until AFTER you buy them. No thanks!

>> Check today’s price for KYB shocks/struts in the Amazon.com warehouse deals for your make and model


My KYB Strut Plus Review

Recently I had to replace the front struts on my 2006 4Runner, and had a really good experience with a complete strut replacement kit from KYB… called KYB strut plus. The kit consists of a fully assembled strut unit, containing a brand-new spring, shock, mounting plate, rubber bushing, and even comes with extra shock tower bolts to replace your old ones, in case they happen be corroded.

My OEM springs have actually worn out with only 100,000 miles on the vehicle, and I thought it would be silly to replace them with OEM equipment seeing how they wore out prematurely. My first choice was to go with Monroe’s, but then I saw that the KYB strut plus complete replacement kit was only $20 bucks more and decided the handling improvements would be worth the extra $50 over the Monroe quick struts.

Fast-forward two months, as I’ve been driving on the KYB strut pluses for over a month now, and the ride quality and handling characteristics of my 4Runner are much improved. The biggest noticeable improvement is driving over washboard type bumpy roads, any brick roads, and pretty much any other uneven surface… Before with the OEM struts, you could feel the truck bouncing quite a bit more than it does with the KYB’s, and even low-speed cornering through side streets is more stable now. (less rollover) I have a limited model 4Runner, which has softer springs than most other models, and on the highway it sometimes felt like you were driving a boat when hitting bumps at high speed. Now it’s much more controlled, and the damping of the KYB shocks keeps the tires in contact with the road much much better. Lane change stability is definitely improved at high-speed as well, which makes you feel a lot more in control of the vehicle on long highway drives.

In the past, I’ve had friends with other Toyotas (cars like camry’s etc…) that have replaced their OEM struts with KYB struts, and the ride difference was incredible. For instance I had one buddy that had a Toyota Camry, and previously with the OEM shocks/struts, every time you go over a speedbump the car was all over the place bouncing up and down. As soon as he installed KYB’s, it’s almost as if it turned the car into a semi race car. You could now go full speed over speed bumps and barely even feel them, and the car stayed level throughout the movement with zero bouncing, and much better damping from the shocks themselves. The cornering was much improved, as was highway stability at high speeds. I attribute this mostly to the better valving and damping compared to the stock components, and it definitely turned me into a KYB believer that has held true to this day. My recent experience with replacing my stock struts on my SUV has been exactly the same.

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How Easy Were They To Install?

Installation is really dependent on the vehicle you’re installing them on, but as far as how difficult the strut plus kits are to remove and replace, KYB couldn’t make it much easier. All their strut plus kits come with the shock absorber, spring, and mounting plate already preassembled. There’s no need to compress the spring to assemble the unit, since it comes completely assembled. There really are a drop in ready OEM replacement, and I think the ride quality is much better over stock… Not to mention even cheaper than the genuine OEM parts.


What Is Strut Plus By KYB? (shock and spring replacement combo)

To give you an idea of what’s entailed in installing the strut plus KYB struts, check out my tutorial post here on how to replace the struts on a 4th Gen 4Runner. For example the most difficult part of replacing the struts on my 4runner, is disassembling the tie rod end and dropping a lower control arm. If you look at the step-by-step video in my tutorial, you can see that it’s really not that difficult with minimal mechanical skills/tools, it just takes a couple of hours. Buying KYB shocks and installing them yourself is a huge cost savings over getting the dealer to replace them or taking it to auto repair shop. You can also get the best deal anywhere on KYB struts right here on Amazon.


Are KYB Struts Better Than Monroe?

Everyone is always going to have a different opinion, and if you can already tell I’m a little bit of a KYB fan boy based on my positive experiences with them. In my opinion, the KYB struts offer better performance for very little increase in cost over the Monroe struts. I was only going to save $20 per side going with the Monroe’s, yet the ride would’ve been soft and spongy much like the OEM springs and shocks that I replaced. You can search around the Internet and the consensus is pretty much the same… KYB shocks and struts handle much better than OEM equipment, and Monroe is generally an OEM equivalent replacement with similar valving and damping characteristics. In some applications, KYB stiffens their damping and spring rate (like in the case of my 4Runner), but it can actually fix factory issues like front end sag in extra soft suspension that muddies cornering/handling.


KYB Struts VS Monroe Comparison

If you compare most models and applications of KYB struts and shocks versus Monroe, you’ll find that they’re normally manufactured in a very similar nature, but Monroe is typically more in alignment with factory specs. By that I mean, KYB is well known for considering vehicle performance improvements, even when offering a direct complete replacement kit like you find in the KYB strut plus applications. Monroe on the other hand, is a great OEM replacement, especially for bolt on aftermarket preassembled struts, I just don’t think the cost savings is worth what you’re giving up performance wise.


Kyb Strut Plus Vs Monroe Quick Strut

The Monroe quick struts are very similar to KYB strut plus, but have a slightly different spring rate and the shock is tuned for the vehicle to handle exactly like it does stock. This is great for most people, but your spending the money and going through the trouble of replacing your struts, why not improve the handling of the vehicle at the same time for practically the same price?

The KYB strut plus kits are an affordable factory replacement, that improve handling in almost every single vehicle you can install them on. If you read all the reviews comparing Monroe quick struts to the KYB strut plus, the consensus is always the same… The KYB’s handle better, and the Monroe’s are about $20 cheaper. I’ll let you decide what’s best for your application.


KYB Shocks VS Monroe Price Difference

Normally there’s only about a $20 price difference between KYB and Monroe replacement shocks and struts. Like I mentioned in the paragraph above, if you ask me I’ll gladly pay an extra $20 for better ride quality. The rest of the kits and installation is the same amount of labor/cost, but the KYB’s definitely won’t be too soft and spongy, as drivers have commonly reported after using Monroe’s.


Kyb Or Monroe Struts Which Is Better For Performance?

Hands-down KYB struts take the win for improvements in the handling category. You can see application after application where simply installing KYB struts can transform the entire handling characteristics of a car or truck. I did notice as drastic of an improvement on my Toyota forerunner as I’ve seen on a Toyota Camry, but you’re also comparing a vehicle that is double the weight, and typically doesn’t have good on road handling as it is. (4Runners are hardly a performance handling vehicle)

However most online reviews of Monroe shocks and struts, commonly complain about one problem: they’re too soft. And we both know it too soft spells don’t we? Bad cornering. Bouncy at highway speeds. Poor tire contact on rough surfaces. Do yourself a favor and go with KYB if you care about the performance of your vehicle at all.


KYB Vs Monroe Vs Gabriel

A happy medium that commonly comes up in a lot of shock reviews between KYB and Monroe, is Gabriel. I haven’t personally used any Gabriel products, but many people say they’re a good balance between the performance improvements of KYB, and the soft and smooth ride you get with Monroe… While still not being too spongy, which is the major complaint most people have with Monroe struts.


Average Front Or Rear Strut Replacement Cost

The average cost to have a dealer replace your front or rear struts, is around $600 to $800 for most modern vehicles. You can save two thirds of that, by watching YouTube video tutorials on how to replace your own struts if you’re a little bit mechanically inclined, and you’ll spend about $250 on a good set of complete strut assembly replacements.

How To Replace Shocks And Struts

I don’t have an exact tutorial for you for every car on the market, but I can give you a good idea of what it takes to replace most strut assemblies on a modern SUV by taking a look at my 4runner strut replacement guide. The process is usually the same for most other similar make and model vehicles, and you can usually find a pretty good tutorial on YouTube by searching for your make and model year.


Conclusion: Kyb Complete Strut Assembly – Buy It Again?

I couldn’t be happier with the Strut + complete kit by KYB. It was a nice bonus to get the extra nuts to replace the shock tower nuts in case some of them had corrosion on them. The installation was smooth as silk, and they literally dropped in with no issues whatsoever…. Definitely a direct bolt in replacement item, but with improved handling! I’ve enjoyed the ride quality improvements, and speed bump handling and cornering is improved as well. I will be buying KYB’s again for my next vehicle when the time comes, and ordering them from Amazon since I got such a good deal with free shipping. (close to 30% off when I ordered!)


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Join the conversation on Matt’s case studies at CleverLeverage.com as he discovers and tests new ways to earn more income, learn alternative investment strategies to net >10%, maintain good health, and turn passions into online businesses.

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