Lower control arms/Bushings...can someone explain these?

Well on my 2003 Impala which I bought in December has been diagnosed with bad lower control arms and Bushings on the front end. The place I had look at it said the passenger side is worse but both sides need replaced and they will do that and do an alignment for about $850. I have never heard of these items or what they do and what a cost might be to replace. He did say I was in no danager right now by driving the car but I need to look into this and get repaired. Can someone/anyone explain to me what this is, what they do and how hard is this work to do? I wouldn’t be doing it but is this something any qualified mechaninc could do or does this require special equipment and what is a fair cost to replace both.

Control arms are part of your independent front suspension. There’s an upper and lower control arm. Any moving suspension part usually has bushings. Bushings are a common piece that does wear out and need replacing over time. Your vehicle is at least 12 years old, so it’s very possible you do need new bushings.

It’s not too difficult job with the right tools. It’s NOT something a novice should tackle.

Who diagnosed this problem?

Just to add to what Mike said, bushings are the rubber pieces that separate metal parts to dampen vibration and shock. Yup, rubbery bits shrink and crack over time.

Any qualified mechanic can do this.

Oh, and Bertrand, allow me to suggest that you keep the discussion about your front suspension all on your other thread about the “front end noise” so we don’t keep going over the same ground.

I took it to the Goodyear shop next to my office. I have gotten good word on them from fellow coworkers. He was straight up with what was wrong, which side was worse and what the parts and labor would cost. They want near $900 to replace both sides and align it. I will find someone closer to where I live where I can buy the parts and they will install for cheaper I think.

I was told my life isn’t in danger right now and that I have a little time to save up the monies to get them repaired/replaced.

While i can see bushings wearing out is it comon for the control arms to need to be replaced also? They said it was the lower ones, are their upper ones also?

The problem with places like Goodyear and Firestone or any other national chain…the mechanics work on commission. Many times they replace perfectly good parts.

So it could just need new bushings and not the control arm also?

Its not a good idea to buy the parts and then shop around for someone to do the work, unless you are going to do it yourself. You may want to ask the discounters the brand of the parts. I paid $600 in Minnesota to have mine replaced so its really not that far off.

Anything is possible, but as we emphasized on your other thread on this subject WE CAN’T SEE IT FROM HERE.

You need to work with and listen to your mechanic of choice. Only someone actually looking at the undercarriage can make an assessment.

So it could just need new bushings and not the control arm also?

I’m not sure about the specifics of your vehicle…but some vehicles you can’t just replace the bushings.

Okay just went to the Autozone web site to price out items. They listed the bushings for around $10 for the front. For the Control arms they had one at $70 and it said:

Control Arm and Ball Joint Assembly. Includes bushings.

So with that you wouldn’t need to buy the bushing sepertly? So for parts I am looking at about $140? Is this very labor intesive? What would be the number of hours needed to install both? Is this like maybe a 2-3 hour job? Would like $200-250 in labor be a fair cost or are we looking higher?

I don’t shop around, I have three mechanics near my house that run their own repair shop. You buy the parts take it to them and they install only charging you labor. Been taking all my cars to them for a number of years. ONly down side is they don’t take appointments so it can sometimes take a while.

To answer your question - no you don’t also have upper control arms on this particular car.

I would get a second opinion on whether you really need bushings. It’s normal for some cracking of the rubber on the ends to occur. This can look alarming if you don’t know it’s normal. And as the others have said, stay away from the chains.

I just took it to Goodyear to have it checked out and to make sure it wasn’t something dangerous like the tie rods going bad. It appears from the autozone website that the front lower control arm comes with new busing as part of the item. From watching a couple youtube video’s online it doesn’t appear to be a job that should take more then an hour or two to replace the lower control arm on my type of car.

Is this very labor intesive?

Very labor intensive. If you don’t like the price you were quoted…then take it elsewhere.

I also would consider BETTER quality parts then Autozone. I never buy critical parts from them. And no mechanics around here do either.

If not autozone then I have O’reily and Advance Auto to pick from…

How many man hours does it take to replace one side?

Many auto repairs are based on Flat Rate billing.

How long will it take…I have now idea. What is the shop telling you? Is this your first ever car repair?

My first time having this item replaced on a car. I am calling around now to the shops in my area that I trust to get prices from them for this service. Given I have never had to replace either a control arm and or bushings I have no basis to know what is a fair price to have it done. Goodyear quoted $900, since I can check on line and see the control arm with bushings run about $70-75 from the local auto parts store that means outside of the alignment, the rest is labor and $600-700 in labor seems kinda pricey to me from wathing on line what is all involved in replacing this item.

Each lower control arm on this car is 2 bolts and one ball joint taper. Depending on how rusty, it should be easy and quick to replace the entire arm. Too much labor to replace ball joints and bushings on your original arms. $900 is too much IMHO but I can easily DIY this and the alignment. You can do better, I am sure with a few phone calls.