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2005 Mazda3 - Struts and wheel bearings?

I was just told by the mechanic at my local chain maintenance spot that the struts and front wheel bearings on my '05 Mazda3 need to be replaced to the tune of $1000, parts and labor. I have heard some clunking noises when I go over bumps and potholes, but I don’t really hear any other noises on the road.

  1. Am I potentially getting suckered out of $1k? The car has only 101,300 miles on it.
  2. Is not getting the struts and/or wheel bearings replaced immediately a safety issue? How long do I have before I have major problems?
  3. Should replacing the struts and wheel bearings cost $1000? I need this car to last me at least 3 more years, and I’m sure I’m going to have to spend a lot of money to get it that far, so I’m trying to avoid unnecessary repairs.

Any and all help appreciated!

With 101,300 miles on the vehicle it wouldn’t be unusual if it required struts. The wheel bearings? If you’re not hearing any unusual noises such as a grinding or a rumbling while cornering, the wheel bearings are probably okay.

But with worn out struts, it puts a heavier load on the rest of the suspension system. This can result in something like a stabilzer bar end link breaking, and this can cause a clunking sound when going over bumps.


I took the car to a different shop and got a slightly different diagnosis: I only need the front driver’s side wheel bearing replaced. The mechanic also mentioned that I need new “front links.” I’ve been trying to search for the part online, but nothing exactly matches “front link.” Does he mean stabilizer link, or is there something else that he’s referring to? He estimated $210 for the links, but the stabilizer links I see online are in the neighborhood of $25 a piece.

I’m just trying to be sure that I’m not getting completely screwed…$800 total (parts + labor) is better than $1k, but it’s still a lot of money that I’d rather not spend if I don’t have to (I’d rather save it for a down payment on a new car).

I can buy strut links for $25 also but the shop makes a profit from selling you the part and for stabilizer links the labor costs more than the part. You can buy brake pads for #25 but you don’t expect to get a brake job for that,do you?

Yes, I’d expect the shop to make a profit, but a 300% markup on the price is a little absurd, don’t you think? I’m not expecting to get something for nothing, but I’m just trying to be sure that I’m paying a realistic and fair price.

Take it somewhere else and have it looked at. I just got one of the links changed at my 2006 Mazda 3 and it was about $ 60 with labor. Not to mention that the mechanic had done it while performing other jobs on my car.
If it is not making noise then you would be okay for few months.