Have a 2003 Honda Accord with 178K miles on it. Excellent service and maintenance on the car. After this winter (midwest) I notice a creaking sound (like bedsprings) coming from the front end, passenger side. Car also seems rather bouncy on rough roads. Husband check the shocks and struts and says they are fine. What else could it be? Sway bar, ball joints, etc. and estimated cost - will take to a mechanic but as a female I want to be sure I am getting a good price. Thanks!
A dry ball joint/tie rod end can cause a creaking noise. But if the vehicle has the original ball joints/tie rods there’s no provision to grease them.
Other things that can cause the noise are control arm/sway bar bushings. You can try soaking these bushings down with a spray silicone lubricant to see if the noise goes away.
In addition, it could have a broken spring.
But the important thing is that you approach this as a business transaction. Its not up to you to diagnose the problem. If you could, you would probably be able to repair it yourself. Start by getting recommendations from friends and coworkers for reputable shops. Check them out with the BBB or Angie’s list or what ever you have available.
Then take the vehicle to at least three of them and have them diagnose the problem and give you an estimate. Now the initial diagnosis may be cursory, if an extended diagnosis is needed, the shop can reasonably expect to be paid for this. Start with the three cursory diagnosis and then negotiate using the information give by all three.
By negotiating I mean, pick the shop that you feel moist comfortable with and if another shop gave you a different diagnosis and lower cost to repair, you can ask the selected shop if the other diagnosis is reasonable. They may have a good reason why they think it is not, or they may give it a second look.
I would not haggle over the cost if it is close, a slightly higher cost could be due to using higher quality parts or adding some misc hardware that the other shop might reuse. If it is significantly higher, then it is fair game to ask why and see if they can come down some.
Get the repair order in writing with expected due dates. Ask for a free loaner car if the vehicle is not available by its due date to be included in the repair contract. Beware that once they start disassembly, they may find some additional repairs that need or should be done to prevent a future failure.