Advice Sought on Service Quote for my 2003 Toyota Highlander

Hello! Thank you for reading.

I recently took my Highlander in to the dealership because a belt was screeching upon start up. They offered me a free inspection and I seek advice on their recommendations after they examined my whip. For the record my car has 170xxx miles and has always been serviced when its needed it. This is what they said and what they quoted me.

Battery (failed load test) - 230$
EEI - 155.88$
Lower Control Arms (bushings cracked) - 1300$
Brake Fluid Exchange (discolored) - 119.88$

First off, 230 for a new battery is way overkill, right? From what I can tell Pep Boys will put a new one in for 100. I’m not exactly sure what “EEI” means, but I assume this was for the new belt. From my research it is the serpetine belt that is usually the culprit for a screech at cold start? 1300 is obviously the biggest charge on the estimate. I know it is expensive labor wise to fix the suspension, but this still seems pretty high. Is this an issue that needs to get solved right away? The mechanic made it seem as if bushings were cracked on most older cars and it wasn’t the end of the world. Lastly, Pep Boys changes brake fluid for 60$, half of what they quoted me.
What do you guys think? Would it be okay to have PepBoys, or some other shop you know, do this work to save money? Is it going to kill my car to hold off on having new bushings put in?
Thanks in advance, Adam

1st stay away from pep boysI I would not trust them to change a tire let alone any thing else. Find good indiependent shop either from the mechanic’s files on this site or from friend’s neighber’s etc.

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You can wait until the bushings are torn which may not happen while you own the vehicle. “Cracked” bushings generally don’t affect the performance of the control arms/suspension but you should be aware that they will not last forever.

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Dealers take the attitude that they want to make your car as good as new. But that is not needed in most cases.

Take it to an independent garage and get another quote. Don’t mention anything the dealer said, just ask for a check of the brakes, suspension, and battery.

How old is the battery? When was the last time you have had the brake fluid changed? both may be overdue.

Key phrase : Second opinion . And why did you not ask what EEI was ?

You probably don’t need the control arm bushings, but if you do I highly recommend an independent mechanic.The book labor time for this job is basically wrong, it includes removing the engine, which is not actually necessary. It can be done by supporting the engine with a bracket while still leaving it in the car. I would think an independent mechanic would be willing to do the job for substantially less.