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Repair estimate?

Hi! My 2001 Ford Taurus has been making noise lately under the hood – a grinding sound, and also a clunking sound when I go over potholes/bumps in the road. So I took the car into a repair place today, and they came back with a $1500 estimate!! Does anyone know if the charges below are reasonable?

Remove/replace front struts - 480.14
Front end alignment - 81.65
Remove/replace front sway bar links - 196.47
Remove/replace idler pulley - 83.44
Remove/replace a/c compressor - 403.03

  • a/c compressor is working, just has broke clutch
    Evacuate & re-charge a/c system - 128.23
    Remove/replace inline fuel filter - 62.89
  • this was just done in January, so not sure why it would need replacing already!

Any suggestions would be appreciated! I knew things might be expensive, but I didn’t think THIS expensive. Is this reasonable or am I getting ripped off? thanks!!


Since the a/c compressor was done in January you might have a warranty issue there.
Is this the same shop today that did the work in January ?
An a/c clutch should not be broken by now, you need to know why.

O.E. struts $100 each.
O.E. sway links $40 each.
O.E idler pulley $34.
Motorcraft a/c compressor $380.
Motorcraft a/c accumulator/drier $150.
Motorcraft fuel filter $24.
Parts from other sources will differ.
Labor rates differ shop to shop.
A car this age needing struts and links …no surprise.

But if the a/c was just done,
Why is it bad again so soon ?
Did they not put an accumulator/drier the first time ?
An incomplete cheapo repair might void the possible warranty on that compressor.

The prices sound fair and many times one problem does lead to another. Many people assume that a shop is gouging because of multiple related repairs but the domino theory is a sad fact of automotive life.
Bad struts can lead to damaged sway bar links and a number of other things too, including tie rods, ball joints, etc, etc.

With the A/C compressor that is hard to say because “done in January” does not provide a lot of info.
If the compressor was replaced with a reman unit in Jan. and the clutch broke then that would be an anomaly. Whether the compressor is warrantied by the parts store is unknown to us and even if the comp. is still covered labor would not be.

If the compressor was a used one then it would be a case of buyer takes their chances that way too. Even a reman compressor is a used one; just one with a cleaning, new seals, and maybe a new clutch.

As I read the original post, the fuel filter was just done in Jan, not the compressor. The OP is acknowledging that the AC needs a new clutch, but the compressor itself is working.

Its hard to say without seeing the car itself, but all the items with the exception of the fuel filter could need attention. Not sure why the garage would pad a bill with something that inexpensive so something may have made them believe that it needs replacement. Possibly the last mechanic who installed the filter got a lot of grease and dirt on the outside of the filter and didn’t clean it off, so it looks like it needs changing.

It maybe possible to change the clutch on the compressor without disconnecting the refrigerant lines, that would save some money.

If your estimate includes parts and labor, then all the prices look like they are inline.

Ken & OK I think he was referring to the fuel filter being replaced in January, that is what was ‘done’.

John, I can’t speak for the vehicle specific parts, but just looking down your list seems a bit high. I would go along with Ken on his parts estimate and the labor on things like the idler pulley and fuel filter replacement is minimal. Additionally, in my area a local independent tire shop will charge $50 for the alignment. All that being said it is time for a second opinion.

Well, the front end noise is from the struts and/or maybe the sway bar. Seem quite high for the sway bar links. On GM they are just long bolts and sell for about $15. If you do struts, you need an alignment.

The grinding is either coming from the AC clutch or the idler pulley but most likely the clutch. The clutch can be replaced without replacing the compressor and does not require recharging the AC. Sometimes though if the clutch is shot, it won’t be long before the compressor itself goes so its a crap shoot. BTDT.

I went by the asterisk on the compressor part of the list and the asterisk below it on the line about being done in January. That was my way of looking at it anyway.

It would be interesting to know what the deal is on the compressor because clutch and broke can be a pretty hazy pair of words. Broke clutch to me would signify something coming apart, shattering, etc. The odds of that happening would be pretty slim unless there was a major compressor failure. (no oil maybe?)

I believe ok4450 is correct about the recent work relating to the compressor. Maybe the asterisk is not showing up on some people’s screens.