Is this quote to replace front sway bar links reasonable?

Hello everyone!

The dealership recently told me that the front sway bar links on my 2011 Subaru Impreza are worn and should be replaced. They quoted me $245 for the job. I’m on board with getting it done but from what I understand of the work it entails, $245 seems a little steep. (I do know that going to a dealership means I’ll be charged more than at an independent mechanic, but even so…) Thoughts?


The most expensive version of this part on RockAuto is $35. There are 10 different versions of this part for sale. That tells me this part fails a LOT. Figure $50 for the dealer part, times 2 is $100. There are 2 nuts to r&r per part for a total of 4. That is $36.25 per nut for the job. Seems a bit high to me.

I think an independent shop could easily beat that price, probably by half!

The probability that both front sway bar links on a 3 year old car are worn out is practically zero, unless you’ve been driving on washboard dirt roads for the entire (so far brief) life of the car.

More likely the dealership is doing what they all do, looking for signs of minor or even non-existent issues in order to sell parts and labor. Is your front suspension making unusual clicking or creaking sounds? If not, the sway bar links are probably fine.

If you really believe the sway bar links are bad, at least take it to a trusted independent mechanic for a second opinion. And always take what the dealership says with the assumption that they are going to try to sell you work whether or not the car needs it. Most of the time it doesn’t.

If you don’t have a trusted independent mechanic, find one in the Mechanics Files section of this site. And avoid the dealership whenever possible.

Sway bar links get noisey long before they fasil.

The car is 4 years old with an unspecified mileage and the price sounds very fair to me considering the use of OEM parts. If the roads there are like the ones here it’s a miracle that links survive more than 30 minutes…

The job simply cannot be looked at as a matter of 4 nuts off, 4 nuts on. There’s more to it than that.

Unless you’ve been noticing a symptom, like perhaps clunking going over bumps, I too fid it difficult to believe that both front links on a 4 year old car need replacing. If they truly do, the price you were quoted is fair.

Were you experiencing symptoms? Did they show you the bad link ends?

Post back.

Thanks everyone for the input so far. Re: mileage - I live a long way from work so the car already has 120,000 miles on it. (This issue was in fact found at my 120K tune-up - they basically go over the car with a fine-tooth comb.) That probably is an important point and I’m sorry I forgot to mention it initially!

The dealership said that I might have been hearing clicking noises going over bumps; I have indeed been occasionally hearing clicking for the past year or so though I’ve never been able to correlate it with something specific - going over smaller bumps in the road could conceivably have been the cause. The steering might also be a little looser than it used to be but it’s hard to tell because if there has been a change it’s been very gradual. I am in NH, so there are a reasonable amount of potholes on my daily commute, but I’m usually on reasonably well-paved roads.

I tend to believe the dealer that the links are worn - they have not been pushy in the past for most repairs and they are pretty good about explaining to me why they think work is needed and what the consequences of not getting work done will be. They don’t usually show me anything; I’m sure they would if I asked but I don’t know what things should look like so I don’t typically ask to be shown things if I generally trust a mechanic to begin with, as it feels like a pointless exercise beyond a very basic test of whether they’re minimally trustworthy.

You may be able to get sway bar links with a zirk fitting to allow for longer life at an indie for less, if anyone takes the time to shoot it full of grease it that is.

“Sway bar links get noisy long before they fail.”

If they are noisy then they have already failed. Subaru did not build a car with noisy sway bar links from the factory.

At 120,000 miles I see nothing unusual about worn out sway bar links.

At an independent shop, quality aftermarket links retail for about $54 each. Labor can vary widely from place to place, but let’s say $90. $198 plus tax, so the dealer price seems about right.

If and when you get them replaced you’ll probably drive away and say “Hey, where did that noise go?”

A few months ago, there was a panel van in our fleet, the operators thought the vehicle was on its last legs, because it made such an awful racket going down the road, especially over bumps

The sway bar links were wasted, and the sway bar bushings were so worn, every time the van went over a bump, the sway bar contacted the frame

After I replaced the sway bar links and bushings, the operators were amazed at the difference. They now plan on driving the van for several more years.

Yep those are a little different than the ones on my GMs. Last ones I bought were $14 for the set. Basically a couple long bolts with the rubber bushings. Still in the back seat. Haven’t gotten around to doing them yet but thanks for the reminder.

Hi everyone, just wanted to pop back in and say thanks again for all of the advice! I appreciate the input.