How important is "Lower arm control"

I have a 2010 Toyota Sienna. I took it to Meinkeke for an oil change and they said i need to replace both lower arm control or something. i want to know how critical is this piece of equipment? I am obviously clueless. Thanks!

Lower control arms are only important if you want to be able to maintain control of your vehicle.

Seriously, however, because this is a potential safety problem, it cries out for a second opinion, preferably from a mechanic who is not affiliated with a chain operation. That means avoiding…Meineke, Monro, Midas, Sears, Pep Boys, Firestone, AAMCO, and others of that ilk.

I strongly suggest that you take your vehicle to an independent mechanic, and ask him to inspect your front end. If he comes up with a lower control arm issue, then you need to have these components replaced a.s.a.p., before you wind up in a serious MV accident.

The lower control arms is what supports all the suspension.

If these people are telling you need to replace the lower control arms on a six year old vehicle, stop taking your vehicle there.


What they said.

Did they say “Lower Control Arm Bushings” by chance? That’s a slightly different issue. Have a pro check it out…

They mentioned bushing. By that time in my oil change trip, I was bordering fainting due to the quote ($1500 including changing two tires, alignment) I didn’t really process what they were saying.

Get a second opinion, how many miles on the van?

About 126K. I just looked at the quote, it’s for two “Control arm with ball joint”.

Then you might need them?

That’s a lot of miles on a six year old vehicle.

But get a second opinion.


I can’t speak to whether you need this repair or not. But if you do, it is needed for your own safety.

Think about it this way. Cars are sort of like bobble head dolls. The wheels aren’t bolted to the body, but instead are connected mostly by wiggly springs. That makes for a better ride. But if it was only springs, the wheels wouldn’t stay in the correct orientation, pointing just in the direction you wanted to go. Instead they’d be wobbling around, pointing every which way. So the car designers came up with some other gadgets to hold the wheels in the correct orientation. They decided the springs were only necessary for up and down movement of the wheel w/respect to the body. For going over bumps. For the other potential wheel-movements, to control the wheels they’d use long arm-shaped metal gadgets called “control arms”. The control arm bolts on one side to the body, and the other side to the wheel suspension parts. There’s plastic or rubber bushings on each side usually too, to allow for a limited amount of movement. So that’s what the control arms are for, and if they aren’t working, you won’t have the required control of the direction your wheels are pointing. Driving on the freeway at 75 mpg, this wouldn’t be a good thing.

With over 126000 miles it is quite possible you need ft end attention.
If you need a ball joint and control arm bushings then there is a chance replacing the entire control arm assembly would be more cost effective. New control arms will have the bushings and joint already installed.

Get a second opinion from a dealership or an independent repair shop.

What everyone else said.
Get a second opinion from an independently owned and operated shop. And if you do need lower arms and/or bushings, let the independent do them. If the independent cannot verify the need, never go to that Meinike shop again.

Actually, I don’t like chain shops anyway. Many of them have business models that promote dishonesty. Like paying their mechanics commissions on all the work they can “drum up” beyond their quota.

Well lets put it this way, I had my tires balanced and they said I needed the control arms. I had them done the next day. Keeps the wheels on. I had about 100K in five years so no surprise.

Meinekee and chains/dealers does not stay in business with $19.99-$30 oil changes. They stay there by recommending items that others may seem acceptable and charge considerably for repair.

Ask around for trusty mechanic, they exist however may not have best waiting facility or keep your vehicle longer.

That being said you may need the repair but best to ask for 2nd opinion if repair is expensive and no established relationship.

I typically ask to be shown and find the item is not torn or clunky and say next time…

Before you go spend a lot of money…find a good reputable mechanic and get another opinion. The national chains are notorious for recommending repairs/parts when not needed. The mechanics work on commission…and Christmas is coming. Many try to pad their checks with unneeded repairs/parts. Pretty much every national chain has been caught doing this.

Thanks guy, interestingly, I saw a few Youtube videos where chain shops “Recommends” stuff that the investigators said they didn’t need that they didn’t even do and got charged. I will try to find a good mechanic.

I had a national chain tell me I needed new ball-joints. My truck has a little over 100k miles. I did end up replacing the lower ball-joints…but that wasn’t until the truck reached 350k miles. If there was a problem at 100k miles…there’s no way it could have reached 350k miles on the same ball joints.

At 120K, I wouldn’t be surprised if the control arm bushings and ball joints had very visible and
significant wear

It would be nice if we could see some pictures of the bushings

a picture of the ball joints wouldn’t be useful, because it will only show a torn boot. It can’t show the amount of slop they have

It’s also quite possible the bushings just have superficial surface cracks, but which don’t affect their function

In a lot of cases these days, the ball joints are not removable from the lower control arms. They must be replaced as a unit. I don’t know if that is true of your vehicle. Even if that IS the case, $1500 for the pair seems high to me.

On a slightly different, but related, note, I had to replace the ball joints on an '08 Dodge Grand Caravan a while back. They are an example of some that only come with the lower control arms. I priced them at three parts stores, two chains and one mom and pop. I found that they were cheaper by over $40 each at the dealer.

In another case, one of my customers came directly to me after Meineke told him he needed $900 worth of completely unnecessary repairs. To add insult to injury, his supposedly freshly changed oil was still brown and dirty, and the oil filter had mud and rain stains on it. THEY HADN’T EVEN BOTHERED TO CHANGE HIS OIL.

As stated earlier, get a second opinion. Click on the Mechanics Files link at the top of this page to find a good one near you.

Edited after looking at The ball joints for your Sienna are available without the control arms.

As you go to anywhere else for that second look…
Looking is the key. And YOU ( admittedly not knowing a lot about cars ) can learn a lot in a short amount of time if you find a shop that will show you the items in question.