Scion xA stabilizer pins?

scion

#1

I own a 2006 Scion xA manual transmission. No after-market modifications, no off-road or otherwise abusive driving. I recently took the car in for 60,000 mile service and the mechanic said that the front brake pads and stabilizer pins would soon need replacement, probably in another 5,000-10,000 miles.

I’ve never heard of “stabilizer pins.” Is this bogus? I’m finding it difficult to find a trustworthy mechanic, and this is the first time I’ve used this shop.


#2

Maybe…
Maybe they’re refering to the sway stabilizer links ? I guess one could call them pins as well. ( especially on small cars ) A sway stabilizer is a steel bar about an inch thick that reaches accross from right side to left under the front suspension. It’s usually bent in several places and is then attached at its outer ends to the arms with bolts and bushings ( aka, links ). When the car rocks side to side this bar is the spring that catches and cotrols that force. It’s those bolts and bushings at the outer ends that may be called pins.

If they’re talking brake parts, they might mean the slide pins that the pads slip on or the pins the caliper slides on ( I’m unfamiliar with the Scion setup ).

In either case I can envision “pins” in there, yes.
Their words “stabilizer pins” leads me to think the sway stabilizer links.
In my business we don’t split hairs about correct terminology as we hear numerous, and humerous, names and descriptions of various car parts. We show them a picture and have them point it out or describe what it does or should do.

Perhaps they could point them out to YOU. A good shop will, even to a novice.
You may not already know which parts are which but you’ll find it pretty easy to research.
In addition to them telling you they need replaced, also ask them “Why”. Again, a good shop will tell you.
This is how my daughter began her mechanical abilities. Even as a kid during father-daughter project days she was all questions.

You can even visit a parts place like O’Reilly’s or Auto Zone and get a parts breakdown picture, part numbers and prices to help self educate.


#3

I went back to the mechanic I mentioned above and asked him about the pins. He pointed to a diagram and said the stabilizer pins were the tiny pieces running vertically between the sway bar and control arms (I think). He said there are rubber bushings at the ends of the pins, they wear out, and get replaced. In my case, he says I’ll need new ones within another 5,000 miles. I asked what happens if I don’t replace them and he said basically the ride is bumpier.

Prices quoted were $150 for the pads and $120 for the pins.

Does what he said make sense?


#4

The ride won’t be bumpier, thats what the struts are for. It may lean a little more in corners and you could get a little more rocking action while going down the road, but that is only if the swaybar bushings are actually bad. Rubber bushings “check” after a couple of years. Check is where tiny cracks appear in the surface of the rubber. Some checking of the rubber does not mean the bushings are in any danger of disintegrating any time soon. They can last for 20 years or more.

Front pads, assuming brake pads? They do wear out.


#5

I’d be surprised if the sway bar end links need to be replaced. How are the tires? A tire shop that does alignments can give you a cheap second opinion. Basically, you grab the sway bar and try to lift and push it down. Any movement in the links that allows this bar to move up and down shows the end links need replacement. No noticeable movement means the links are just fine.


#6

Pads are for the front brakes.

Thanks for the clarification of the rocking/cornering effect. I have not noticed any changes myself. It’s always been a buzzbox on a Toyota Echo platform.

Tires are fine, I had the OEM tires replaced about 1.5 years ago and they are rotated at every oil change. Previously I went to another shop for these oil changes, but stopped going when the manager said all four struts on my wife’s Honda Civic needed replacement, without even driving it. The owner of yet a third shop drove the Civic with me in the passenger seat; he said he couldn’t detect any strut problem at all.

So this is my dilemma – I find one shop, go there for a few routine maintenance tasks, and then get told my car needs some work. I take the car to another shop, not mentioning what the previous shop’s diagnosis was, and the mechanic doesn’t say anything is wrong. Then after a few more visits to the new shop, the same thing happens – “such and such needs replacement.”

I will go to the third shop referenced above for my next oil change and see if the mechanic says anything.