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Replace struts for pulling wheel?

My father has a 1996 Toyota Avalon. The steering wheel is very tight when turning to the right, and the car pulls to the right when accelerating or taking your hand off the wheel. We brought it to the mechanic today and he said that it needs struts and afterward an alignment (which he can’t do). He said this would cost about $700 for parts and labor. My question is, does this sound like the right diagnosis and is the cost in the ballpark of fair and reasonable?

That type of pulling to the right is generally indicative of a serious alignment issue the cause of which needs to be looked at, a dragging brake, a binding ball joint, or something of that nature. Unless a spring breaks or a strut tower rots out and the strut breaks free, struts won’t usually manifest themselves that way.

I find the diagnosis suspect. And I question the wisdom of having chassis work done by a shop that cannot do alignments.

Take it to a good reputable chassis shop and have them take a good look. I’ll bet they find something more consistant with the symptoms. Yes, you may also need struts.

Post back. We do care.

I agree with all of the above. It is quite possible that all the car needs is a front end alignment. This is usually the prescribed treatment for a car that pulls. If a shop cannot do alignments, then it is only natural he will suggest a repair that he can do, even if it is unnecessary.

Go elsewhere. It is possible that the car might need more than an alignment, but find out from someone who really knows.

I would get a second opinion from another mechanic.

It may need struts, which is not a big deal, but it may also need something else. The hard steering concerns me.

I’d be leery of driving this car too far until the steering issue is resolved. Any problem with the steering is a HUGE safety issue.

I thank you very much for your advice. I’m going to take it to an alignment shop tomorrow and have them take a look at it. At the very least we can eliminate that issue. My father is 93, so it’s easy for him to be taken advantage of. Perhaps he looked like some easy cha-ching.
Thanks again. You were most helpful. -L