Recently, I heard a very louse noise in my car, pulled over and had it towed to the Toyota dealership. I subsequently was not able to replicate it. They were not able to replicate the noise, but diagnosed my car (Toyota Camry 95k miles) with needing to have fronts struts, strut mountings and front sway bar links replaced for a total of 1900, including 6.5 hours labor and wheel re-alignment. They said that there was leekage from the front struts. I expected that they would have a higher quote being a dealer and having genuine Toyota parts, but it was far greater than my internet research and calls to several shops in the 800 range. I concluded I was being gauged so I drove my car home and then took it to another shop. I was on the lookout for suspension issues now having been alerted to them, but felt like my car still drove smoothly.
I then took my car to an independent mechanic who told me I did not need my struts replaced but only the sway bar links and charged me three hundred something. Subsequent to that, the car has felt very bumpy. He claims that he could not have caused it ,but it seemed logical to me what it is possible that he did something in fixing the suspension that could have caused it. Could you see a situation in which replacing the sway links (through faulty installation, messing with some other part of the suspension, forgetting to put a nut back, etc.) Would $1900 be far out of the range a dealership would charge for the front suspension? Is there a certain mileage after which it is typical that suspension needs to be replaced. On the one hand, I am worried about the honesty of the dealership given that there price seems wildly out of line with what I have read on the internet and the 6.5 hours time estimate not including wheel re-alignment. On the other hand, I do not know whether the mechanic I went to is competent and his marketing strategy could be to show that he is “honest” and won’t do work that is not necessary even it if would be a good idea, but not an immediate risk, to ignore it.