I bought a used Suzuki SX4 in April. At the time, I was told it needed new front tie rod ends – the OUTER ones (or so I thought I was told). The dealer looked at it, agreed that that was correct, and replaced them for me, basically for the cost of the parts and a nominal labor charge.
I was told that after the tie rod ends got replaced, that it would need an alignment. So I got one. From a popular local place that had pretty good reviews.
Now in August, I am told that the INNER tie rod end — but only on the front passenger side — needs replacing. The price I was quoted was $400, which will also include the alignment.
First of all, is this about right, in terms of price?
Second of all, if, AFTER replacing the OUTER front tie rod ends, wouldn’t the shop that did the alignment have NOTICED that something was wrong? I mean, let’s say at the time they did the alignment and found the INNER tie rod needed replacing, wouldn’t they have told me that I needed to take care of that first?
Third, I’ve traveled a few miles (12-15) down a VERY bumpy washboard road and had to fjord a few streams. Might I have damaged the INNER tie rod end doing that?
Fourth, the shop that did the alignment gave me a year guarantee on their work, so I’m hoping they’ll honor that and do another alignment again, for free, saving me a few bucks.
But wow… $400 for an inner tie rod end? Should I get a second opinion?
A one year alignment guarantee cannot be expected to apply after the tie rod ends are subsequently replaced. But ask them anyway. Be honest, and perhaps they’ll do a goodwill warranty alignment just because you’re being honest.
Yeah, the $400 sound legit to my ears.
Should they have told you before? That’s hard to tell. They might have been still okay in April and the four subsequent months of washboard roads and fording a few streams might have pushed them over the edge.
I commend you for your honesty. It’s refreshing.
You bought the vehicle in April, and new outer tie rod ends were installed and an alignment was done?
And now almost six months later you’re asking if it’s possible for an inner tie rod to wear out?
That’s how things wear out. Time and use.
The price is dependent on the labor rates where you live.
But if one inner tie rod end is worn out, do the other side too. Because it probably isn’t far behind.
And the tech will have all the special tools out for replacing the inner tie rod ends.
It would not surprise if there are not some other issues that could be revealed with a more intensive inspection. That could mean ball joints, wheel bearings, and so on.
Washboard roads and fording streams is pretty tough on just about anything underneath the car.
Getting a second opinion is just good business practice. Be sure the new inner tie rod comes with a new bellows.
Appreciate all the helpful comments. As for the washboard roads, only did that once, but it was 12 to 15 miles going, and 12 to 15 miles coming back. At a reasonably high rate of speed (in other words, not crawling along). AND, at some point, during one of those stream crossings, something got caught on the rear lower deflector (fortunately, it’s just a decorative piece that covers up the lower part of the bumper cover). And, at the time, YES, I realized they tell you not to cross streams (!!!), but here I was thinking it was a “good use” of the car’s 4WD (something people specifically commented on as one of this car’s strong assets).
Thanks for the info about the pricing. The shop that wants to do the Inner Tie-Rod End was a 5-star recommended shop from the Car Talk Mechanic Files. Still, though… it pains me to spend almost 1/10th of what I paid for the darned thing on one repair! Other than that, it IS a really zippy wonderful little car. Thanks for all the opinions and advice. Sure do appreciate it!
Oh, and did I mention the previous owner (and there was only one, because I checked), put 143k on it. So… all in all… maybe it’s not that bad? As for replacing both of them… yeah, wow… probably a good idea. I don’t even wanna know what that would cost!
It’s common to need parts like that on any car when the mileage gets up there.
I mention the stream fording because water will have a tendency to creep into suspension and steering parts, wheel bearings, etc. Combined with heat from friction the water dilutes the grease and components can fail because of that.
If you’ve seen news blurbs about heavy rain and street flooding you’ve no doubt seen many vehicles plowing on through foot deep, or deeper, water. Left unsaid is what often happens later; car repairs needed due to driving in deep water.
Good advice posted above. I personally didn’t think Suzukis had any “strong points” when new, much less after 140k miles.
For what it’s worth, it was a recommended model from Consumer Reports, AND, the reports from people who owned them… when you can find someone who does (LOL)… were overwhelmingly positive. In the end, I did the best I could with the budget I had (after my previous car, a 1990 Honda Accord, was totaled in a hit and run accident).
I shopped extensively here locally for a used Honda or Toyota, but just could not find ANYTHING that was decent and clean in my price range… In the end, opted for the Suzuki… not sorry I did. But I realize that cars with this kind of mileage need repairs and develop problems. It goes with the territory…
Since Suzukis are no longer being imported and the dealers have all closed, it may be wise to shop for another car before parts become difficult to get. Also before the bottom falls out of the used Suzuki market. I’m pretty sure Moss Motors, the best obsolete British car part source, isn’t interested in Suzukis.
I was told that Suzukis are still being made in Japan, so, “in theory” parts are still available (and that seems to be the case so far)… but yeah… I hear you. I was told that “worst case scenario” you might have to wait for a part to come from Japan. So, I made sure my auto insurance would cover the “rental car option” just in case that happened. LOL.
I was also able to confirm what Tester posted above. It’s an additional 0.3 hours of labor to do BOTH inner tie rod ends. I’ve got one quote for $400 to do one inner tie rod end, this other place quoted $460 to do both. Not bad. May as well go for both… A stitch in time saves nine and all that jazz… as they say…
This also leads to another question I wouldn’t mind a little advice on…
The dealer was supposed to take care of BOTH front outer tie rod ends. As far as I know, they did that repair.
When I got my oil changed last week, they think maybe the dealer only did the right front outer tie rod end.
As long as I’m in this up to my neck (LOL), should I just have them go ahead and replace the Left front outer and inner tie rods while we’re doing this?
Not trying to throw good money after bad, but here’s my thinking. If the right front outer tie rod end is new, and all the other tie rods are replaced in the front, then maybe I won’t have to do this repair again for as long as I own the car (not sure how long that is, but hopefully a few years at least).
And here’s the other thing. Replacing one tie rod end for $400 seems a bit steep, but doing two of them for $460 (making it $230 for each, technically), is a bit easier to swallow…
And… I’d hate to do all these repairs only to find out a year later, “Oh, and by the way, you need a left front outer tie rod end.” Then I’ll be pulling my hair out for sure…
Replace the other outer tie rod end.
Because in order to replace the inner tie rod ends, the outer tie rod ends have to be removed.
So the cost should be for just for the part.
If you have a 4WD you almost have to cross streams. That’s the fun of having 4WD. When I used to drive my 4WD truck in rugged country and I’d see a stream I’d go out of my way to cross it, just to see if I could … lol … BTW, I always could, but sometimes had to get out midstream to lock the hubs. But what’s a little bit of wet feet compared to the fun of crossing streams?
Anyway, no apologies needed for crossing streams. That practice wouldn’t usually affect the tie rods anyway, more likely to get water in the differentials if anything. If you want to worry, worry about that.
The washboard roads would cause tie rod wear if you drove on them all the time, but 30 miles of washboards? Your Suzuki I expect is tough as nails and laughs at that little amount of washboard driving.
$400 sounds about right for a 4WD tie rod end. Pretty much everything suspension or steering related is more expensive to repair on the 4WD version. As mentioned above, it’s better practice to replace tie rod ends symmetrically, both sides rather than one.
And keep having fun!