I have a 2000 Toyota Sienna minivan, owned since new. Just
hit 150,000 miles and my mechanic tells me that I need new
front struts ($1,000) and new front control arm bushings
($1,000+). It’s a lot of money for a 13 year old van…but I
think the rest is in good shape.
Is this too much to keep the van going or should I get rid
of it and get another vehicle?
The vehicle could very well need these components given the mileage. But the price given to service these components seems a little high.
Take the vehicle to other independent service centers and get a quote on the price to service these components.
Is this a Toyota dealership, a national chain like Pepboys, or a locally owned independent shop? If it’s the first or second, you might open the phone book and look for a shop specializing in alignment and get a second price quote. In the absence of a front end specialist, a good general shop will be your next best option. Stay away from national chain companies.
Find another shop. Control arm bushings on a 13 year old car is a scam. Struts are possible if you are having trouble controlling the vehicle on a rough road.
for you vehicle front strut run $103/each and the control arm bushing is at $26. these is the prices from and auto parts store. I would go online see what some parts store in your area charge and then find a good mechanic and see what they charge per hour and if they will take parts that u bring in. big name mechanics like to up the price on parts, like Keith, westernroadtipper, and tester said do some research.
Did you go to the mechanic to complain about handling or ride? If your van isn’t bouncing or swaying , its up to you if you want to replace them.
@keith “Control arm bushings on a 13 year old car is a scam”
Why do you categorically say that?
I’ve worked plenty of vehicles younger than that, and with less miles, with absolutely chewed up and wasted bushings. I’m not talking minor surface cracks.
Let’s not forget that a lot of mileage can be accrued in 13 years, and if it’s not all freeway driving, it can take its toll.
While 150K is not super high mileage, OP’s car is also no spring chicken.
Since none of us have actually seen the bushings, I’m giving OP’s mechanic the benefit of the doubt.
I have absolutely no opinions about the price, because it’s not yet been established how it breaks down . . . how much for labor, what is the labor rate, how much for parts, what brand is being installed, etc.
OK4450, everyone I’ve seen that looked bad on the outside turned out to be OK, but you don’t see that until you take it out.
My colleague recently changed control arm bushings on two trucks. They weren’t high mileage, by the way. The bushings looked bad on the outside and were even worse when pressed out and on the bench.
I will agree, however, that minor surface cracks are usually nothing to worry about.
You definitely want to get a second opinion and another quote. At that mileage they could still be okay or could be in terrible shape, and we can’t tell from here. It’s also possible that the strut mounts are bad but the bushings aren’t so bad.
IMHO the prices are too high. However, most of the cost is labor, there’s a lot of labor involved, and rates do vary widely depending on where you live.
Thanks to all for your wise words of advice.
We do live in a high cost area and the labor cost is about 1/2 of the price. I checked the Toyota dealer and their estimate was even more than my mechanic. However another independent shop was lower so if I decide to keep the van I will take it there…or perhaps negotiate with my usual mechanic with the lower estimate. Either way, I will get someone else to see if I really need both the control arm and struts.
Happy driving all!
A second opinion is always a good option but struts and control arm bushings do fail. Often the failure of the former can lead to failure of the latter; including failure of other components.
Environmental and road conditions play a part in things like this.
Auto parts houses sell bushings (and sometimes as part of the control arm assembly) for a reason and various car manufacturers have issued service bulletins over control arm or control arm bushing problems.
The price you were quoted does not sound out of line and given the age and mileage of the vehicle weak struts and/or bushing problems is quite possible. Even AutoZone shows a single control arm priced out at about 160 dollars; and that’s one for one side.