What are bushings and why do they wear out?

My mother, a 70 year old grandmother, has a 2002 Honda Civic 2 door. She has it regularly serviced at her honda dealer. She has only 15,000 miles on the car (she bought it new). She just had it into be serviced and they told her she had to rotate and balance the tires (even though she had only driven a thousand miles or so since the last time they did this) and she apparently the bushings were worn out and had to be replaced. What are bushings and why would they have worn out on a car that only has 15,000 miles on it.! They charged her $600 for the service!

Bushings are basically rubber mounting connections between articulating metal parts such as sway bars and sway bar link ends or sway bars and the frame. There are a number of various busings under cars. They can dry up and shrink.

If it were your car, I’d suggest looking for an independent shop. It would save a ton of cash. However 70 year old grandmothers sometimes only feel comfortable having a dealer shop work on their cars, so I’d tread carefully on this one. A sense of security can be a valuable thing. That “only the dealer is capable” made sense in her youth, and these “confort zones” need to be respected.

Thank you very much for your answer.

You’re welcome. Life is short. Cash is fleeting. A happy mom is priceless.

Sincere best. And my hat is off to you for caring. I miss my mom.

If it sits for long periods without use, that could lead to early failure of the bushings.

Lack of use is a killer on cars. I watched the last few cars my Dad owned rot in place due to limited use. Every brake line rotted off, oil pans rusted through, exhaust systems falling off in record time, gas lines rusting out etc. Rubber suspension bushings are no exception.

She could, however, have saved a couple of dollars and skipped the tire rotation/balance. In my humble opinion, doing that more than once every 5k miles is a little, uh, excessive.

I agree, but the security thing needs to be respected. Every single time my mom would hit a pothole, no matter how slowly, she’d get her car aligned…at the dealer. I think I suggested once that she might not need to, but it made her feel comfortable, perhaps insecure, so I said nothing again unless asked. Her last years were a lot happier because of it.