I’ve been told I need to replace the bushings, to the tune of $1500, on my 2001 Toyota Rav 4, but that not doing so will not affect my safety, only the rate at which I need to buy new tires. Is that the case? Or for safety should I go ahead and plunk down the money?


Ummmmmmm…haven’t a clue what you mean. I would appreciate a helpful response. Thanks.

Trying to get someone knowledgeable in RAV4 to talk to your question, so I “bumped” your question, to get some attention to it.

I don’t quite have a clue which bushings you are discussing, nor whether there is a safety issue in not replacing. My general opinion is to get the work done; but your price quoted sounds high, so a second opinion is probably in order.

“bump” is simply a way to add a response so the thread is bumped to the top of the list.

I take it you are talking about the control arm bushings. Yes, when they are worn, your tires will wobble and wear out faster. But you will also have slightly less control of the vehicle. This would usually not be a problem, but think of a rain-slicked road and trying to avoid an obstacle. You’d want all the control you could get to avoid a problem. Worn control arm bushings will also cause abnormal wear and tear on other suspension parts.

In short, get them replaced if they are really worn out. Get a second opinion first, though.

If you have an extra $1500 go ahead and replace them, but unless you do a lot of off-road driving it can be put off until you want to do the replacement at your convenience. IF (And that is a big if) the tires begin to show unusual ware have the front tires rotated to the back after you have had the bushings redone. I live in the Rockies (not next to, in) and I go through an unusual amount of bushings. I’ve become very good at replaceing them myself. So I can tell you without hesitation that the bushings can be put off for a couple of months. However, don’t go too long without replaceing them becaue bad bushings can affect more then the tires. I once had to replace an entire control arm because I waited too long. The price of the control arm alone was about $500.

I’ve pulled control arm bushings in 20+ year old cars and they were just fine. But there are plenty of other bushings so you need to be more specific.

Were you having a problem with your vehicle or did some mechanic just offer up this diagnosis without any solicitation. I would suggest that you take any unsolicited diagnosis with a grain of salt.

$1500 will buy a lot of tires and if he says its not a safety issue, then it isn’t. I would ignore this diagnosis.

I spoke to the mechanic today. The problem with the bushings was noted during a routing maintenance. One bushing arm was rusted and therefore nothing could be adjusted/aligned (this was rear left bushing)and I was told that this one would require replacement of the entire arm. There was another one, on the same side, that I was told could be changed alone, i.e. just the bushing itself. The 1200-1500 dollar quote was for materials AND labor. Tires now look fine, and I will be monitoring them, as will the dealer. But I will probably go for a second opinion. Thanks.

Thank you! See reply to Keith below.

Thanks. I’m a newbie, as you can tell, so hope you weren’t offended!

Left rear control arm bushing, plus another bushing anterior to that on the same side which I’m told can be replaced without replacing the arm.

Usually when a bushing needs replacement, the alignment shop cannot or will not do an alignment because the setting will wander as that pivot point wanders inside the bushing. When the bushing is worn enough you will start getting creaking and then rattling. There will be a major change in steering geometry; that tire will wear unevenly; and you might get steering problems like ‘dart’, ‘wandering’, ‘pull’ to one side or the other, or ‘shimmy’. The rolling wheel is not in danger of leaving the car but it will make driving more difficult and can affect the control of the Rav.

Hope that helps.