Dealer charged $740 to replace rear sway bar, links, bushings & side cradles


#1

We bought my mother a pre-owned 2009 Toyota Camry (30,000 miles) in 2011. She’s been “saving” it parked in garage since then. Instructed her to take it for a drive once a month and she’s taken it out maybe 4 tines and 1 oil change in the past two yrs. She tried to start it about a week ago and it wouldn’t, so she attached a rope and force pulled it out of the garage with her clunker car. Camry was in Parked because gear wouldn’t move to Neutral since dead and she didn’t know about hidden release button.

Anyway, she had it towed to the Toyota dealer and they got it in working condition. The service advisor said there was suspension damage to the rear suspension from her forcefully towing it out of the garage. He initially gave me an estimate of $800 on the phone for the suspension work and dropped it to $600 after I asked more questions.

Dealer charged her $740 for “removed and replaced rear sway bar, sway bar links, bushings and both side cradles. Checked alignment ok.” Labor was $282, parts $420, rest tax.

I did some reseach online and it seems like they way overcharged on parts.

Was she ripped off and if so what can I do? I feel like they took advantage of her. Thanks for your help!


#2

Breakdown of parts:
2 Link Assy, RR Sta - $179.40
4 Nut, Flange- $7.12
1 Bar, Stabilizer - $73.01
2 Bush, Stabilizer - $22.18
2 Bracket, RR Stabi - $14.08
4 Bolt, w/washer - $3.92
2 Nut, Flange - $6.90
1 Stopper Sub-Assy - $56.23
1 Stopper Sub-Assy - $56.23 (diff part #)


#3

The dealer probably used Toyota OEM parts, which cost more than what you find probably using an internet survey of pricing for non-OEM parts. At least you know she got good parts I guess. The parts and labor fee doesn’t seem that much out of bounds with OEM parts installed.

I expect you’ve learned it is not a good idea to drag a car by force when it is Park. Since you called the towing truck anyway, the towing truck driver faces this kind of problem routinely, would likely have free rolling dollies on hand to put under the locked wheels and could have gotten it out of the garage for you without damage to the car.

I seriously doubt the dealer shop purposely overcharged for this work. They charge that amount for doing that specific job is all. Doesn’t hurt to ask them to verify everything was properly priced though.

As far as a way to lower repair fees in the future, this kind of problem is routine suspension work, doesn’t require a dealership, so in the future be sure to ask for quotes from well-recommended local inde shops, along with the dealership, before deciding which shop to use. Best of luck.


#4

I agree 100% with @GeorgeSanJose

You CAN’T compare online prices to dealer prices

Online prices are, in many cases, for aftermarket parts

And even if they are for factory parts, you’ll always pay more at the dealer

And if you do get factory parts cheaper online, who’s going to install them for you?


#5

Thanks for your reply. Yep, we both learned to never forcefully pull a car while in Park. Unfortunately, I learned about the hidden release button AFTER the fact.

I bought her fuel stabilizer and advised her to take the car out every week for 20-30 minutes until she sells her old clunker.

Big, expensive lesson learned all around. I had no idea gas went bad nor that an unused car is harmful. “Saving” is not good for all those moving parts!


#6

Sell the Camry, apparently mom prefers her old “clunker” car. The Camry is just “rotting” parked in the garage unused, and it also depreciating as model years pass.


#7

Just wondering, but has the car been taken out on the road and test driven to make sure there is no vibration due to a tire(s) having a flat spot scuffed into them?

It seems a shame to allow a low miles Camry to sit unused and should either be driven or sold.


#8

It’s impossible to tell what happened pulling the car out of the garage, but if mom just threw a rope around the first thing she could get to I’m surprised she didn’t break more than just the stabilizer bar and mounting items. The prices for the parts look right on to me, perhaps the nuts and bolts are on the high side but the dealer will have these parts in stock instead of getting them from a supplier.


#9

I drove the Camry from the dealer to her house, on the highway for about 16 miles. They did mention a slight flat spot in the tires may make it noiser while driving but everything seemed pretty smooth on the road.

She likes the Camry but Mom is one of those savers – like the kind of kid who saves the best Halloween candy for last type. Her regular mechanic told her the old car will need a lot of work done and $$$ so she’s trying to get rid of it cheap. It runs but she’s put more money into replacing new parts than it’s prob worth by now. It’ll be a good deal for someone who has car knowledge and can do self maintenance.


#10

I don’t see how any of the rear suspension components could have been damaged by pulling the vehicle while in park.

The Camry is a front wheel drive vehicle. So if the vehicle was pulled while in park, the front tires wouldn’t have rotated but the rear tires would have rotated freely.

Tester


#11

Good question Tester. How could REAR suspension have been damaged?


#12

How could REAR suspension have been damaged?

When I saw parts like:
2 Link Assy, RR Sta - $179.40
2 Bracket, RR Stabi - $14.08
I immediately assumed they did something like wrap a chain or rope around some of the rear suspension components to pull the car out.


#13

Maybe she tied the rope or chain to the rear sway bar when it was pulled out of the garage…Yes / No??


#14

In order for her to connect a rope/chain to the rear suspension components, she would have literally had to have crawled under the rear of the vehicle to get to them.

Besides, the Camry has two steel gussets with holes welded to the subframe under the rear bumper for pulling the vehicle. I would think she would have tied off to those before crawling under the vehicle.

Tester


#15

You never know what people will do. One time I dropped by a friend’s house about sundown and saw his Chevy on stands with the tail end way high in the air. He had another car backed up to it and a chain between them with the pulling car (a 6 cylinder/auto) straining its guts out.

The chain went from the rear bumper of the pulling car to the tail end of the dropped driveshaft of the car sitting on stands. He said the driveshaft was stuck in the transmission… :slight_smile:


#16

I actually have a Camry sitting outside the shop right now. And here’s where I think she tied off to.

Tester


#17

Then there should have been no reason to replace the sway-bar on a 2 year old car…Dragging the car with the transmission in park placed no load on the sway-bar unless the rope / chain was attached to the sway-bar…


#18

"Good question Tester. How could REAR suspension have been damaged? "

By tying a rope to the rear sway bar and dragging the car out of the garage?


#19

Maybe there was a neighbor involved. Maybe there was 20 feet of slack and a running start before the slack was removed violently. How long are the skid marks? Who knows.

Those flat spots on the tires may not be a problem now, but with some driving in the future they will become one.


#20

We know cars

The owner of the Camry did NOT

To an uninformed person, it might be VERY tempting to wrap the chain around the sway bar . . .