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Replace front lower control arms ( bushing damage and noisy when braking) is $2500 ok?

I went to the Toyota dealer for an 85000 service of my 2013 Sienna, which is just tire rotation. They showed me the cabin and eng filters were needed, and they did a fuel induction and throttle body service…
They also showed me a video of the lower control arms which they do look cracked… Anyhow, after telling them that $3500 for mostly labor was too much, they went down to $2500, including alignment and rental car for two days…
Is that still too much though? Other than the occasional breaking noise, i haven’t experienced any other issues but they said that this can be dangerous… Anybody else with another opinion?

Thanks

Things usually make noise when they are breaking . Oh, you meant braking . You don’t need a dealer for this front end work . Any decent shop can do for less money and you should get a second opinion anyway.

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Is this a gag? Are you serious?

First, there’s a good chance you overpaid for services that were possibly not needed, already.

Good grief! I haven’t spent a total of $2500 on any car I’ve owned, for maintenance, repairs, and parts up to 185,000 miles. But I do most everything myself, farming out certain items.

I don’t have a hoist/lift and I will not work under a car suspended on anything, so when I had to replace worn front track arm bushings and ball joints on my wife’s GM car (at 200,00 miles) in order to prepare for a wheel alignment, I used my trusted independent mechanic.

He lets me obtain my own parts, so I ordered all OEM (manufacturer original) parts from Rock Auto, at extremely low cost. The track arms came complete with bushings and ball joints. He did the job in a couple of hours at an extremely low cost.

To have to spend that much on an 8 year-old car with just 85,000 miles, I either wouldn’t trust the reliability of that vehicle make/model, and or, the integrity of the dealer, but that’s just my opinion.
CSA
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

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I’m not making a comment on the price . . .

That said . . . the job is extremely labor intensive

you can’t just quickly replace the lower control arms

Several other components must first be removed entirely and/or moved out of the way to gain the clearance needed to replace those arms

85K is a little soon . . . in my opinion . . . to need those arms replaced just yet

I suggest you post a picture of those bushings.

Is your ride making a lot of ominous noises already . . . ?

If not, you probably still have a few years, before it’s necessary

I suspect you’ll be good until you hit 120K or 150K . . . at which point those bushing will almost certainly be SHOT

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Appreciate all the responses and sorry for the initial typo. Bay Area prices are always higher and if you look at the mechanics archives, it mostly list dealers…
anyhow here are the pictures from the video the dealer sent me. One picture per post

Thanks for the picture

Like I said earlier, you still have time before they’re shot and making ominous noises

Depending on how much driving you do, it could be a few years

But I’ll be honest . . . they’re no longer in great shape.

Wait until the handling is compromised and they’re really noisey

Even an independent shop can only save you so much money. Sure, the labor rate will be lower and they will use cheaper aftermarket parts, but it’s still a lot of labor, and you’ll definitely need a steering alignment afterwards. At that time, you’ll also want to take a very close look at the ball joints . . . some aftermarket arms do come with ball joints . . . tie rod ends and the cv halfshafts. It could very well be the case that you’ll need all that stuff at around 150K. Assuming you still have the van at that point

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Thank you very much. I’ll definitely wait because it is not that noisy now and it still handles ok.
Thanks again to all

If the control arms (metal parts) are cracked you have an emergency, consider finding a well recommended independent mechanic and towing it to them, or have it fixed where it is, but don’t drive it anywhere. But maybe you mean bushings.

If it’s cracked rubber bushings you need to consider their condition, if they’re still basically intact and just hard with some superficial fissures they might be adequately safe for quite a while, though the ride may be harsher possibly causing other suspension parts to wear faster. If they’re collapsed, broken, etc., you need to think about emergency steering control, alignment stability, increased tire wear. Rubber bushings are feature of modern suspensions, they have a finite life though some last longer than others.

The air and cabin filters mentioned should be replaced before they’re too dirty. Usually they can be owner serviced - get spares ahead of time and change as needed, typically ~ 20,000mi from my experience but it varies with conditions. Both dealerships and indies charge way too much for this, same for wiper blades.

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$104 for pair. But it’s made in China. . image
A monkey could do it.
No balljoint? Add another $40
Toyota list price is $225 and online price is $140 each.

As others have said, it doesn’t look like they need to be replaced yet. I am not sure on the Sienna, but several other Toyota/Lexus vehicles list a very inflated book time for this labor operation. I think the Highlander is around 12 hours! I believe the discrepancy is that the labor operation includes removing the engine, which isn’t actually required to do the repair. Most independent shops will still go by the book time, but I would think you could shop around to find a more reasonable price.

I wouldn’t let them do the work even if it was imminent. That they dropped so much with only minimal push back tells me a lot about their approach…

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Maybe a monkey could do it

But the monkey still needs a lot of time

This isn’t a job that’s going to be completed in one hour . . . not even close

I can tell you from professional experience . . . it’s EASILY a few hours of work

Translation . . . the mechanic will be earning his keep that day

My brother has a 2008 Highlander . . . essentially the same setup as op’s Sienna

The factory procedure requires removing the hub and struts

it’s nearly impossible to separate the ball joint from the hub, unless/until you’ve either removed the cv halfshaft completely or moved it out of the way

Guess what . . . you can’t remove the struts unless you actually remove the plastic cowl

Translation . . . it really is a lot of work

And as I’ve said before, if you’ve reached the point where the lower arms actually need to be replaced, you would be very wise to consider replacing the cv halfshafts, tie rod ends and ball joints at that time, as it would be no extra labor at that point, and the van might have 120K or 150K by then

Very unlikely, unless the control arms have been covered in brines for years and eaten away . . . at which point the rest of the van might also have the consistency of swiss cheese

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He said the lower control arms looked cracked - one doubts that’s likely, but that’s what he wrote. I am aware of wheel steering knuckles fracturing ('60’s Fords), until they tracked down and fixed the cause - it was premature metal fatigue in initiated by stress concentration at an indentation tester pit (ironically, a quality control test) and easily fixed. A steering shaft coupler grenaded with a bang on our Mercury Villager (suspect locked in stresses from manufacturing, it looked like a power metallurgy part). It occasionally happens that a supplier gets a bad batch of steel, or messes up heat treating with the result that something that should be strong and ductile turns out hard and brittle.


db4690

    April 5

Cavell:
A monkey could do it.

Maybe a monkey could do it

But the monkey still needs a lot of time

This isn’t a job that’s going to be completed in one hour . . . not even close

TXdealer:
I am not sure on the Sienna, but several other Toyota/Lexus vehicles list a very inflated book time for this labor operation

I can tell you from professional experience . . . it’s EASILY a few hours of work

Translation . . . the mechanic will be earning his keep that day

TXdealer:
I think the Highlander is around 12 hours!

My brother has a 2008 Highlander . . . essentially the same setup as op’s Sienna

The factory procedure requires removing the hub and struts

it’s nearly impossible to separate the ball joint from the hub, unless/until you’ve either removed the cv halfshaft completely or moved it out of the way

Guess what . . . you can’t remove the struts unless you actually remove the plastic cowl

Translation . . . it really is a lot of work

And as I’ve said before, if you’ve reached the point where the lower arms actually need to be replaced, you would be very wise to consider replacing the cv halfshafts, tie rod ends and ball joints at that time, as it would be no extra labor at that point, and the van might have 120K or 150K by then

ken2116:
If the control arms (metal parts) are cracked

Very unlikely, unless the control arms have been covered in brines for years and eaten away . . . at which point the rest of the van might also have the consistency of swiss cheese

You’re comparing knuckles on a 1960s Ford falcon to lower arms on a 2013 Sienna . . . ?!

My response to what the OP wrote was appropriate, let’s stick to that.


db4690

    April 5

alt ken2116:
He said the lower control arms looked cracked - one doubts that’s likely, but that’s what he wrote. I am aware of wheel steering knuckles fracturing ('60’s Fords)

You’re comparing knuckles on a 1960s Ford falcon to lower arms on a 2013 Sienna . . . ?!

I’d find a good independent shop, not just to save some money, but also to avoid what looks like unneeded services the dealer performed. I did that to avoid my Lexus dealer for just that reason. My Chevy dealer, in contrast, was great, used them for 12 years.

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The pictures you showed us are of rubber checking. Natural rubber does that, it does not mean the bushing is cracked. This part of the control arm is acting as the trailing link, it keeps the tire from walking back and forth, longitudinally, in the wheel well.

If the rubber were to completely crack, it would not make the vehicle dangerous to drive. It would wander around a little, much like the tires were toed out too far. It would also cause excessive tire wear.

Right now, I don’t think you need to replace these, but if it bothers you to the point that you are loosing sleep, then I would recommend that you find an independent mechanic that you can trust and get a second opinion. Check with friends and coworkers for referrals, then google them to see if there are a lot of complaints about their work. Bear in mind that there will always be some negative comments, you just don’t want to see too many.

And rubber bushings don’t crack on domestic vehicles . . . ?!

Please . . . :roll_eyes:

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