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Is this bushing business bush?

I have a 2005 Green Ford Escape XLT 4WD with 80K miles. Well maintained, no problems. No off road driving. I had it in for an oil change recently, and the Ford mechanic told me that I needed to have my lower control arm bushings replaced, as in their current condition, they wouldn’t pass next inspection (in October). Cost - $200 each plus $200 labor = $600. They showed me what they looked like on the lift, but I have no frame of reference or knowledge of this situation. There’s no problem with steering, turning or stopping. My questions are: Is this something that a visual inspection can determine? Is this something that IS part of an annual state (PA) vehicle inspection? What happens if one or both of these fail while driving? (They said the right one was worse than the left)Is this something that I would see symptoms of while driving as a gradually worsening problem or can it just “go” without warning? And does this cost estimate sound right? Sounds like a lot of money for 2 bushings. Thank you.

Yes, it can be found with a visual inspection.

The bushing costs sound high, but I posted the following link to a description of a VW lower control bushing replacement procedure just to give you an idea of how much work can be involved.

http://faculty.ccp.edu/faculty/dreed/Campingart/jettatech/polybushings/index.htm

Get a few quotes before proceeding.

I agree. A second opinion is certainly warranted here.

A control arm bushing is not something that will instantly fail and be a danger to you.
The symptoms will be irregular tire wear and wandering on the roadway if bad enough.

Just for a bushing this sounds way too high high. A bushing only is usually about 25 bucks, give or take a bit. They’re not talking about the entire lower control arm are they? On a high end part such as manufactured by MOOG I could see a control arm running 200 bucks not a bushing alone.

If the mechanic is talking about a bushing only instead of a new control arm (which has the new bushing in it) then I’d get some more opinions.
While not accusing anyone of anything (and if a bushing alone is what is referred to) maybe the mechanic is sticking it to you on the parts end to make up for going short on the labor. It’s always far easier to justify a high parts price than explain a high labor charge. That’s just a hypothesis.

If the control arm bushings are really worn that bad I’d recommend replacing the entire arms (within price reason of course) because odds are the ball joints are becoming worn.
Hope that helps.