Dear Car Talk:
Recently, due to the bad weather and bad roads, I had a strut on the rear driver's side break. It actually broke, came loose and fell down. I drove on it very cautiously so as not to damage anything else. But a couple of days later, I drove to the supermarket, only to find that the shock that had fallen was back upright again. What's going on? It's like it just repaired itself, but that can't happen, right?
Well, once in a blue moon, we do have the occasional part pull a "Lazarus" on us. But it's usually an electronic part. And even then, it's usually only a "temporary Lazarus."
But I don't think that's what happened here. I think your strut mount broke. The strut itself is the shock absorber surrounded by the spring. That connects to the body of the car via a large, rubber strut mount that bolts to the body.
If that mount breaks, the top of the strut can fall down, out of the wheel well, and flop around. And it can flop back. If you hit another pothole, the strut could bounce back up into its normal position in the wheel well.
But the problem is, it's not attached to anything. So it's not fixed.
It sounds like you need a new strut mount on that driver's side. And if the strut is old, you might as well replace it, too, while you have everything out, since there's not much additional labor involved.
If it's a car you're planning to keep for a while, I'd advise you to do both sides back there. If one strut mount was so worn out that it broke, the other one probably is not far behind.
And in the future, try to avoid those potholes that are large enough to have their own public libraries, Dana.