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Repair it, Wait or pass it along?

I was just told that my 2003 Dodge Durango (AKA the money pit!) needs 4 new shocks and rear control bushings. First, are any of these immediate safety issues that I need fixed ASAP? I’ve noticed the truck does pull to the right if I take my hands off the wheel…related? If they aren’t safety related, do they even need to be fixed? Or, can I pass this issue along to the next guy?

They are all safety related, they need to be fixed immediately, and if the next guy knows even a little bit about cars, he’ll either insist that you deduct the cost of the repair from the sale, or there will be no sale.

I would get a second opinion before having it done. It’s possible, but more than likely not all 4 shocks need to be replaced.

I while not likely all for shocks/struts are totally dead, it is likely all four are overdue for replacement. I would guess from his comments that Sunagakure’s Durango has not had much preemptive care.

While not routine, I think this falls more into the realm of maintenance rather than repair. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for a 8 year old vehicle have worn shocks that need replacing. And yes it is a safety issue.

Actually, I’ve been pretty good about the pre-emptive care, for as long as I’ve owned the truck (I bought it in August of '08 used). Part of the issue here, I’m currently living/working Doha, Qatar, is that mechanics here, even the Dodge Dealership ones only do what work they are told to do. That is, if I say I have problem “X” they look for only that, and ignore everything else. To solve this issue, I recently found out about purely diagnostic shops that look for anything and everything, hence my discovery of the shocks and rear control arms problems. But, I will admit I know very little about cars, since the age of 16 (I’m 36 now) I lived in Japan and 98% of the time used only public transportation.

Nonetheless, I do plan on getting these issues resolved at the soonest possible opportunity. Safety first.

At least sell the car telling the buyer what you have told us.
Everything you mention is safety related. The buyer might be putting children into the truck.

I agree that it seems surprising that a 7 year old vehicle needs all four shocks at once, but it is likely that all four have passed their peak. From the time shock performance begins to degrade until the time that the seals fail, the oil leaks out, and they loose all dampening (i.e. become dangerous to drive) is often years, sometimes a decade.

Your car will be more comfortable and better-behaved if you change shocks as soon as they start to degrade (often around 75k miles, but it depends on the type of vehicle and how it is used). If you ever see oil leaking out of a shock or strut, it is unsafe, replace it immediately. I recently sold a car that was 19 years old and had 292k miles on it with the original factory struts on the front. They were well past their prime, but the car still handled OK.

The car pulling to the right could well be the rear control bushings. If those bushings fail, the axle ‘turns’ and the car steers from both ends like a fire dept ladder truck. The rear end steers right or left depending on whether you are speeding up or slowing down. It is annoying but not really dangerous. You just have to work a little harder to keep the vehicle going where you want it.