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741.06 for parts and labor to replace boots

I was recently notified that my left front axle’s boot was torn and leaking while the right side axle boot was cracked on my 1994 Toyota Camry. Based on a Google search it seems that boots are not expensive and the mechanic quoted me was $45.03 for each boot ($90.06) total. The majority of the cost ($651) seems to be labor and they told me they would have to take apart the axle to replace the boots. Am I being taken for a fool?

Yes, you are being taken unless there’s stuff you’re not saying.

Almost no one replaces boots anymore. Replacement axles are so cheap that when the boots are gone you just replace the whole axle. The old one with the torn boot goes out to get “remanufactured.”

Expect to pay about half that estimate.

Well, they’re recommending the wrong thing. Don’t replace the boots, replace the axles. It’s much quicker, the parts are a bit more, but total cost will be MUCH less (much less labor). Just try to make sure they use quality parts, the cheap rebuilt axles can cause problems.

Thanks, that’s in line with what I’ve been reading. I tried to recall what they told me but the information I provided is from the estimate they gave me “left side axle boots torn and leaking” for example. Should I just ask them for a new axle replacement instead? The site is an official Toyota dealer (although run by CarMax). Is there any benefit of keeping my own axle versus risking a “remanufactured” axle?

I’d rather trust a good remanufactured axle than one remanufactured by a mechanic. You can check Rockauto for a range of prices. But expect the mechanic to charge more, they have to make something on parts, too.

Do the axles make any noise or vibration? If not, this is not a ‘must-do’ repair, you can shop around and get a few quotes.

No the axles aren’t making any noise or vibration yet. I wouldn’t have found out about this issue had I not needed a tire rotation and alignment. It’s good to know this isn’t a “must-do” repair since I was reading horror stories on the Internet of what happens.

Well, if you let it go, you’ll get noise (clicking) from the CV joints as they wear. No noise usually means not enough wear has occured yet. But yes, if you let it go too long (typically with lots of noise) the CV joint can fail, stranding you and causing additional damage.

As dirt and water can now get inside the CV joints, they start to wear…But they wear slowly…The first thing you will notice is a clicking sound when you turn sharply or go around a corner…It can take months…

The time and labor involved to remove, disassemble, clean, reassemble, repack with grease, install the new boots makes just installing rebuilt axles the way to go…