Was I ripped off?

I have a 2004 Dodge Sratus R/T with 57,000 miles. I just had a new tire put on (pothole) and had the tires rotated. I noticed a slight vibration so I took it to my mechanic. I needed new rear disc brakes, two rear control arms, 2 rear struts and two front tie rods. He charged me $1200.00. Was I ripped off? I no it’s too late now. Some of the problems were solved, but I’m still feelinga slight grinding noise when coming to a stop.

Not necessarily.

  1. Suspension work. While for some cars, 57K miles is early for the suspension work, I have also had other cars require similar work at 40K miles.
  2. Brake work. Rear brakes not surprising at that mileage, although fronts usually wear out first.

Go back and have mechanic check out grinding noise. That may be an indicator that the front brakes need attention, or possibly a wheel bearing issue. Let them isolate the noise and tell you what is going on there.

Thank you for the info. I forgot to mention that I had the front brakes, rotors, and pads done in November, 2007 I believe car had about 30,000 at that time.

Some of that stuff should really not be needed at such low mileage but it’s possible that it could be depending on the locale (Northern Rust Belt states), roughness of the road surfaces, etc.)

A tire destroyed by a pothole, rear control arms, etc. could point to the car taking some abuse (not by you, but by road surfaces, possible collision in the past, etc.) so those items could very well have been required.

As to the grinding noise, front or rear? If it’s from the front then maybe what you’re hearing is a sway bar bushing groan or the possibility the brakes are gone already.
If the car needed brakes at only 30k miles then that means they could be required again since 27k miles have passed; roughly the same distance. A lot of stop and go driving and riding the brakes can eat them up pretty quickly.

  1. Brake work. Rear brakes not surprising at that mileage, although fronts usually wear out first.

On a car that small…I’m VERY surprised at that mileage. I think I changed the rear brakes on my wifes Accord at 180k miles. Front about every 70k miles.

Hi ok4450:

I live in a southwest suburb of Chicago, Lockport Illinois I drive about 36 miles round trip to work everyday. I have been trying to dive smooth roads but you know every so often a pot hole pops up. I wouldn’t call my drive a lot of stop and go driving but speed limit is about 50 to 55 MPH.

It makes sense about the front brakes but a friend of mine said when the front brakes were installed they were better brakes than the original ones.

I’m just a damsal in distress right now wondering if I got ripped off on the price of the repair I quoted in my earlier posting.

Thanks you for the info.

Your driving does not fall into what I would call the worst scenario, which is constant stop and go, riding the brakes in traffic while creeping along, etc.
I would not think the front brakes should be gone already but they should be inspected anyway.

It is possible sometimes for brakes to squeal or even grind badly even if they’re good. This is often caused by moisture and varies with the type of brake lining.
I’ve even seen this on brand new cars. I had to attend a service school in San Antonio TX one time and decided to make the 500 mile drive rather than fly (airline travel is worse than a bus). The company gave me a new Subaru to drive, a credit card, and off I went.
Every single morning that week when I left for school the brakes on that new Subaru would grind so loudly for the first 3 or 4 stops that people in the next lane would actually look over at me and no doubt wondering why that fool was driving around with no brakes. It was all moisture-induced and after a bit of burn off they were quiet.

As to the price quoted, I have to make a bit of a guess that it sounds fair. There is a lot of variation in parts pricing depending on where the part is procured, labor rates since it varies by locale, etc.
Chicago is likely a higher labor rate area but after doing a little mental addition I would say that price is fair for everything being done.

The one quesionable thing is rear trailing arms. It is unusal for a car to need those at only 57k miles and the only reason I can think of to replace them would be if they were damaged due to potholes, etc. or if they were noisy (worn bushings). It would be unusual to have bushings gone at that low of a mileage but it’s possible. Hope some of that helps.

(I would add that if the sway bar is suspected of causing the grinding you might go out and try pushing down repeatedly (hard) on each front fender. If you hear the noise, the sway bar bushings are the likely cause.)

Yes you were ripped off.

Thanks OK, you are okay!!

I just checked the pricing and it sounds fair (we are located in Chicagoland also). I am surprised that this much work was necessary, but I won’t point fingers without having looked at the car. I can tell you that struts are one of the most oversold items on the menu, especially in chain stores. In the future, when in doubt, get a second opinion.

Yes, you were ripped off. Most of that stuff didn’t need replacing and you paid a darling of a price.

Would someone explain to me how the original poster was ripped off without knowing any details behind the car or the repairs?

If this car hit a pothole hard enough to shred a tire then it’s quite likely some suspension or hub damage occurred.

The kinfolk of the Stratus is a Mitsubishi (many parts interchange) and my daughter went through several premature failures of rear suspension parts on her car due to weak struts.

The weak rear struts caused the steering knuckle (odd name for a rear suspension component) bushings to fail. The bushings are apparently not available anywhere on earth and the entire knuckle must be replaced. Since both she and I had no desire to special order these dealer only parts at 500 bucks or so, I machined solid bushings out of aircraft aluminum, tapped and threaded them for grease Zerks, and solved the problem permanently after replacing the struts.

For those who think struts can’t fail while young (and the Stratus above has 6 year old struts) a gentleman who bought a new VW brought it in about 4 months after buying it and wanted it upgraded to Bilstein struts all the way around. Top dollar struts as some of you may know.
Within a month 3 of the 4 Bilsteins had failed (2 badly) leading to one surly VW owner.

Bottom line; a weak strut can (depending on which end of the car it’s on) lead to failed control arm bushings, ball joints, tie rods, tie rod ends, worn steering rack bushings, trailing arm bushings, rear knuckle bushings, track bar bushings, etc, etc, etc.

It seems like you got a lot of work done and new parts for a pretty fair price. The question is did all those parts really need to be replaced? Your original complaint was a vibration. That could be an out of balance wheel, a defective tire with the tread separating, or issues with your suspension. At this point who knows?

Here is your lesson. Next time a shop tells you that a lot of repairs are needed, if the car is still driveable (yours was in this case) say thanks for your opinion I can’t afford that right now and drive the car away. Then get another opinion at another garage. If both places say much the same thing then go with the best price or the shop you feel does the best work.

Always ask the shop keep the old parts for your inspection. It is the law if you ask they have to show you the old parts. Have them show you how and where they are worn and explain why they were replaced. If you want they will throw the old parts in the trunk of the car and you can take them to a knowledgeable person to see if they replaced parts that were still good.

It too late to help you with the feeling of being ripped off in this instance. Preventing the “I got ripped off” feeling in the future is the goal for now.

How do we know if you were ripped off or not? None of us have seen or drove the car. None of us have examined the parts that were replaced. If drivers had a basic knowledge of the mechanical underpinnings of the cars they drove, they would not be sitting ducks for unscrupulous mechanics with boat payments to make…Nobody on this board knows weather you were ripped off or not. To me, the two rear control arms are a red light, but who knows?? Maybe the (pothole) you hit was more like a trench. Maybe it wasn’t. We don’t know…

My answer was off the cuff and I did not have the information to make that call. What I was trying to show the OP was that with the small amount of information given a small answer comes out.

There are times when I would consider paying $1,200 to have all that work done even if it wasn’t needed. You may always hear a grinding noise when coming to a stop although you never want to. Just one look under my GMC Sierra 4WD, 2002 and I have to say that 57,000 miles is a long distance, near Chicago or not. I think you are doing alright and the only real advice I can give is to get a four wheel alignment every two years.