Shopping for steering/suspension parts

My car has 220k miles under it’s belt (no pun intended) and is due for new ball joints, tie rod ends and probably a few other front end components. OEM parts cost a fortune and would probably take a long time to be delivered. Moogs parts look good but are also very expensive. I found several different 6 piece kits on ebay but they seem too good to be true. One of these kits costs as much as just one Moogs ball joint and about $20 less than a single OEM ball joint from Mazda. So for about $50 bucks I can get two outer tie rod ends, two sway bar links and two lower ball joints. My concern is that these bargain parts won’t be exactly to spec making a proper front end alignment impossible. So do you guys know anything about these inexpensive ebay kits? Would I be wise to steer away (again, no pun intended) from these? The car still runs really well and I plan to keep driving it for several more years.

RUN AWAY. Buy quality parts, these are critical.


Do you know how to find out the OE manufacturer of these parts? Because if I could bypass Mazda and just buy them as aftermarket…

Go to a local parts store, and ask for these parts that meets or exceeds the OEM specifications.



I just replaced my tie rod ends with oem. They are quite substantial. Years ago I had a tie rod end break on the freeway. It was a one.year old mood part. It snapped apart. Parts made by who knows, may look nice but you will never know the metallurgy of the part or X-ray it for hidden flaws. Try rock for good parts at a reasonable cost. Broken suspension parts at 70 mph are fun.

If that is the case I would try to use the best parts possible and not the cheapest parts possible. Stick with name brand parts.

I’ve seen too many cheap front end parts worn within a couple of years to consider trying them on my own car.

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Alright, I feel better now.
I just ordered AutoZone’s top of the line tie rod ends. A weird brand (Rare Parts) I’ve never heard of but watched a youtube video about the company and they look like a good solid company. And for the ball joints I ordered Moogs Problem Solvers. Grand total: $180. I’ll be doing this job myself so even with the pricier parts I’m sure I’ll still save hundreds of dollars. So just out of curiosity, what do you guys estimate a shop would charge for parts/labor considering equal quality parts used?

Rare Parts are fine. I’ve used them with no issues. As for what a shop would charge that is difficult to say as there are so many variables. Locale makes a huge difference, shop markup percentage on the parts, local taxes (10% here) enviro fees, etc, etc. could mean that one place can be double what another charges. That needs to be priced locally.
Repair Pal offers some estimates but I consider them a bit iffy.

You need to factor in a wheel alignment after that work is completed.

Protege’s model year?

It’s a 1998

Front suspension, lower ball joint, about $80 each. A little less than 2 hours labor to replace ball joint both sides.