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Sportage Sway Bar Repair?

I am about to sell my 2007 Kia Sportage and I decided to take the car to a mechanic to get a knocking sound checked out. The mechanic told me that the sway bar links and bushings needed to be replaced and because of where they on located in the car, it would be a four hour repair. He quoted me $685 for this repair, which seems incredibly steep. A second mechanic quoted me around $500, better but still expensive.

Is this a repair that I should do before I sell the car? If I should do it, do these quotes seem fair?

Finally, the car has 80,500 miles on it. The first mechanic said that I needed new spark plugs while the second one said I shouldn’t need it until 90k. Any thoughts?

If you are going to private sell the car and you don’t fix the knock, one of 2 things is going to happen; 1) Prospective customers will walk away from a sale thinking something major is wrong with the car or 2) the buyer will call a mechanic and ask what it would take to replace stab bar bushings and links and will knock $800 off the price o the car because they have the inconvenience and risk of getting it fixed - plus they know about scenario 1).

If you are going to trade the car to a dealer they will also knock off a potion of the cost of the repair since their mechanics will fix it or they will auction the car.

If the car is running well now, ignore the spark plugs, no one will ever notice and they will get changed at 90K if the manual says they should.

Does this Sportage look any more difficult than any other sway bar link replacement? Not that they can’t be difficult at times when they are rusty, but is $500 normal?

If $500 is an OK price, and you don’t want to fix it, ask $500 more that you’d ordinarily take, When they balk because of the noise, knock off an extra $500, You’ll probably still get more than the dealer will offer.

Unless there is a check engine light indicating that the spark plugs need to be replaced, Mustangman is right. You will gain nothing by spending that money.

The factory service manual shows a half hour to replace each stabilizer bar end link.

But it shows four hours to replace the bushings.

This is because the engine/transmission sub-frame needs to be lowered to gain access to the bushings.


Quoting @Tester “But it shows four hours to replace the bushings.”

Oops @Tester, I missed that. The bushings can make a lot of noise too. I’d be inclined to seek a second (or third) opinion to see if the bushings truly needed replacement.

Ever played with nail puzzles when you were young?
Front sway bars are often weaved up above the engine/tranny subframe in a manner that makes replacement of the bushings that hold the bar to the subframe (or unibody) insanely difficult. I’ve never done a Sportage, but I have no doubt it’s designed that way too.

$500 sounds fair to me. There’s likely a lot of inappropriate language that’s needed to change to bushings.

But it was so EASY to install the stab bar bushings with the subframe sitting on the carrier on the assembly line… :wink:

LOL, how true! :smiley:

do these quotes seem fair?

They seem fair to me. At least in my area. I figure around $100 per hour for labor. So you’ve already spent $400 before buying the parts. I haven’t priced them out myself, but $100 - $200 for the set of parts to do the job seems within reason. $500 - $600, good enough.

Were I in your situation and the problem wasn’t a safety issue (only your mechanic can tell you this), but if that were the case I’d probably sell the car as-is, and retain proof that I disclosed in writing the problem to the buyer. The reason is that your buyer may prefer to save the $400 on the purchase price and do the job himself. Sort of a sweat equity used car payment.


here’s what I would do . . .

Replace the sway bar links only, because it’s easy and relatively cheap

Do NOT replace the sway bar bushings just yet

Why do I say this . . . because in my experience, the sway bar links usually are the noise makers, especially if they are ball-and-socket types, such as on your car

I obviously can’t see the condition of your bushings, but unless they’re not torn so bad, that the sway bar is hitting the subframe, they may be “okay” for now, meaning they’re not making noise

After you replace the sway bar links, drive the vehicle again

If it’s quiet again, list the car for sale, and forget the other stuff