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2000 Toyota Echo Worn Control Arm Bushings

My wife drives a 2000 Toyota Echo. She mostly uses it around town and it has only 31,268 miles on the odometer.

Friday we took it to an automotive & tire shop to put on our winter tires and for some other pre-winter mantainence. They say the bushings on the front control arms are cracked and worn. But the bushings alone can’t be replaced. They recommend that we replace the front control arms at a cost of $964.97. We only paid $14,000 for the car brand new!

Do we need to do this? They say, if we don’t the bushings will eventually fail (maybe tomrrow, maybe next year.) If they do the front tires will wear badly and the steering will get very sloppy.

I think we could wait until that happens. Do you agree? Do you see a safety issue?


I don’t see an Echo with only 31k miles on it having a control arm bushing problem at all. What could be happening is that since the rubber in the bushings is 9 years old the outer surface of the rubber is cracking due to age. This is sometimes called dry rot and it’s comnmon to any rubber product.

However, this does not mean the part is bad enough to replace or even worry about.
JMHO, but I don’t see a safety issue at all. If it ever even begins to get bad enough to worry about you will notice it by the car wandering a bit on the road (similar to the feeling of an under or overinflated tire, etc)

A control arm bushing is something that will not fail abruptly as it appears you’re being told. Any bushing failure is gradual and most control arm bushings outlast the car they’re attached to.

I think ok is right. If you want to be sure, just go get a second opinion. You need that for 2 reasons - one is to verify that you have no imminent emergency. The other is that $1000 seems a lot for control arms in a little matchbox car like that. I have nothing to go on there as I’ve never priced them, but I would bet the estimate you have is a pretty high one.

What you say makes sense to me.