2004 Sienna Front Control Arm Bushings

My mechanic told me a couple of weeks ago that the bushings on the control arms are cracked and worn and need to be replaced, but that it will be very expensive, like more than $1200. He will research it for awhile and try to find cheaper aftermarket parts, and in the meantime, it will be OK to drive “for a few thousand miles.” Should I get a second opinion? Are these essential to driving? Someone else told me that all that would happen is that the car would be harder to drive straight. On the other hand, the last time I had a car with a bushing problem it was an antiquated '69 Volvo that I drove across the country from Palo Alto to Pittsburgh. About a week after I arrived in Pittsburgh, the ball joint cracked and the wheel more or less fell off – fortunately in an alley where I was driving about two miles an hour – so I am a little worried.

Any recommendations?

A $1200 repair is steep. It warrants a second opinion of a mechanic.

I’ve seen a lot of cracked control arm rubber bushings, and that doesn’t mean they require replacing. The rubber exposed to the elements of the bushings can crack, which is normal. What can’t be seen is that part of the bushing that allows the control arm to pivot. And this portion of bushing is pretty well protected from the elements. So unless you’re expieriencing problems with the steering of the vehicle, unusual tire wear, or unusual noises coming from the front suspension, I wouldn’t worry about cracked control arm bushings.

If I replaced cracked control arm bushings in every vehicle I found them in, that’s all I’d be doing.


Thanks. I spoke to him today because I found some control arms online priced well below the figure he had found, and he said that he is planning to rework the estimate because he had used a table that tells how long it usually takes to budget time for the estimate. He thought about it some more when I said it seemed high and that he would review it again. when he looked through the steps in the Toyota Mechanic’s Manual, it included removing the engine and reinstalling it – which made no sense – and allotted 8.4 hours for it instead of closer to 20.
I probably will get a second opinion, but it’s hard in this town.

If it were me I’d jack up the front of the car, put it SECURELY on GOOD QUALITY jack stands with the rear wheels chocked, the parking brake engaged, and a friend standing by just in case (when using jack stands I usually drop the hydraulic jacks down and lift them back up until they’re just touching the lift points as a backup), and then check the chassis components by shaking them to see if anything is loose. Don’t shake them until the car falls on you, if you have a bushing truely sorn out it’ll move without having to perform a strength test.

If everything is secure, the chassis is safe. Revert to Tester’s good comments about rubber cracking.

On the topic of the need for secure jack stands…

A bus? Ouch. I hope he was using a heavy duty truck jack stand. I’ve seen these with 22 ton ratings. I’m sure they make them even bigger.

I agree with tester. I believe that most replacement of control arm bushings are unneeded. Now if your vehicle was a 1904 instead of a 2004, you might need them.

I did a set in a 20 year old car once, back when you didn’t buy the whole control arm but just the rubber bushing. All the cracking of the rubber turned out to be just on the surface. The rubber inside was solid.