I brought my car in for scheduled maintenance today. It is a 2003 MB E320 and has about 111,000 miles on it. I was told that “front torque arms have some looseness in joints and should be replaced.” I don’t notice any problems with the car’s ride or handling and tire wear seems normal. I was quoted a price of $800-$900 for the work. I declined to leave the car overnight to have work done right away. Question 1: is this a safety issue–that is, was it dumb not to have this taken care of right away? Question 2: Is this a wear and tear issue I should expect at this mileage (111,000). Question 3: Is the price estimate out of line or reasonable for this work?
I’m not familiar with the setup on this model of Benz but a quick look at a torque arm (also called torque rods, strut rods, etc.) show it may have a ball socket on one end.
Normally a worn torque arm is not that much of a safety risk due to the way they mount. However, one with a ball socket could be a safety risk because if the ball socket (similar to a ball joint or tie rod end) pops apart the control arm could bend backwards. This could lead to severe driving problems at best and loss of control and a crash at worst.
The price could be about right for both sides and it’s quite possible to have looseness in something like this with the car exhibiting no obvious symptoms.
It’s also quite possible for this to occur in 111k miles or even less. Much depends on how much rough road surface the car sees along with environmental conditions such as dust, heavy rain water runoff that is being driven through, etc.
Most torque arms do not use ball sockets but near as I can tell your Benz does. I would recommend getting a couple of more estimates and having it done rather than risk one popping apart at 70 MPH.
Thanks for the reply, that’s helpful. I didn’t leave the car partly because I wanted to shop the price around, so I’ll definitely take the advice. I appreciate the quick help.