I’m looking at replacing struts & bushings, etc., on my 2002 Civic for the second time in two years. I don’t really understand the whats/hows/whys behind this. Complicating things is that I’ve had three different garages/mechanics work on my car during the two years. And it was expensive the first time (and I just had a new job after being out of work 2.5 yrs; money was & is tight) - if it’s reasonable for either/both garages to make some concessions, I’d like some input on that. And finally - do I continue to give my business to garage A or do I start over? And how do I find the right place when I go looking (Mpls/St. Paul MN). Thanks for all help.
Here are the basics:
Garage A: 8/19/10, mileage 89,390: replaced front struts & upper mounts, replaced front strut boots, inspect steering linkage & front suspension, inflated tires, computerized alignment, including rear wheel alignment settings, plus some light bulbs & wipers. Total cost: $968.66.
At a general service visit a couple of months later, Garage A recommended more work: replace timing belt, drive belts, adjust valves & replace valve cover gasket, replace water pump assembly, flush cooling system, replace spark plugs, replace cabin air filters, drain & refill transmission fluid, replace front stabilizer end links, replace rear stabilizer end links. Estimate, $1,591.
5/11, car goes to Mechanic B, recommended by a friend. Work done: replaced timing belt, water pump, 2 accessory belts, coolant valve cover gasket, 4 spark plugs, 2 front rotors & front brake pads, cabin air filter, manual transmission fluid, oil & oil filter. Valve adjustment along w/ bleeding brake fluid. Not done: front & rear sway bar links. Mechanic noted that front struts were new, but the bushings could be the cause of the steering wheel drifting when going over bigger bumps on the road. Cost: about 1/2 of Garage A.
Unfortunately, Mechanic B wasn’t available when I went to do the bushings work.
Garage C, recommended by a co-worker, wasn’t as expensive as Garage A. 10/11, mileage 103,606. Along with an oil change, they replaced sway bar bushing & sway bar kit. $224. Car doesn’t seem quite right, further checking with the garage indicates there’s another bushing that’s a problem. Due to end of year expenses, car goes back to garage C in 3/12, mileage 108,806, for another sway bar kit – L rear, and control arm bushing L front. $286.
Late summer 2012, car doesn’t sound right – there seems to be a “clunk” noise as I drive down the alley. Car goes back to Garage C on 8/16/12, mileage 113,281. They didn’t find anything.
Car still sounds odd to me, and now there’s a squeaking sound coming from the front as I drive down the alley. 9/24/12 – Garage C doesn’t see anything, does notice a squeak at the rear brake.
10/2/12 – the squeaking is driving me nuts. Car goes to Garage A – squeak from rear brakes when pressing brake pedal, L front strut mount squeaks due to severe tearing, rt front lower forward control arm bushings are torn (severe), right front sway bar end links are loose (minor). Recommended: remove & replace front upper strut mounts, remove & replace the front sway bar end links, remove & replace front lower control arm bushings, front wheel alignment. Estimate: $885.99.