Author Topic: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair  (Read 2008 times)

mrteacher

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Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« on: August 17, 2018, 04:41:20 PM »
Hi all:

A little less than a year ago I bought a 2014 Subaru Legacy. It had around 90,000 miles on it at purchase, and I've put a little over 10,000 on it since. It looked like the car had nearly new tires at sale. During a recent oil change, the technician showed me that the front passenger side tire was down to the threads, but just on the inside of the tire - which is why I hadn't seen it. The other tires were wearing similarly, but not as dramatically.

I had new tires put on today, and then had the wheels aligned to hopefully mitigate that wearing pattern. Naturally, the mechanic came out and said there was further damage and would cost $600+, and he asked about scheduling next week. I wanted more time and a second opinion, so I just took the quote and left. The quote reads, "inspected and found pass rear adjusting link and front lateral arm bent."

I asked a bunch of questions to try and determine the seriousness, safety risk, and importance of repair. Seems like, from what I understand, that the car is perfectly safe to drive - the only risk is the tires wearing way faster than they should, and unevenly. So I'm wondering if I should A) get a second opinion and B) get this repair. On my last car I was told I needed new front struts (to the tune of $2,000+). I drove it for another 1.5 years and 15,000 miles without doing a thing and without feeling unsafe. I also presume that I've driven my current car for 10,000 miles with this current issue.

TL;DR - mechanic noted some issues ("pass rear adjusting link and front lateral arm bent") while doing an alignment. Are they serious enough that I should fix them?

sokoloff

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2018, 05:17:48 PM »
$600 is a set of good tires, so if youíre keeping the car and will be replacing tires every 8K miles instead of every 20-25K miles, youíll be money ahead to change the parts and set the alignment right.

In terms of safety, itís probably not a significant safety concern. You probably arenít using the full contact patch of the tire, so your braking and cornering may be slightly degraded, and as the tires wear unevenly, youíll see degraded traction and hydroplaning resistance.

For $600, if keeping the car, Iíd do the work.

use2betrix

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2018, 06:39:48 PM »
$600 is a set of good tires, so if youíre keeping the car and will be replacing tires every 8K miles instead of every 20-25K miles, youíll be money ahead to change the parts and set the alignment right.

In terms of safety, itís probably not a significant safety concern. You probably arenít using the full contact patch of the tire, so your braking and cornering may be slightly degraded, and as the tires wear unevenly, youíll see degraded traction and hydroplaning resistance.

For $600, if keeping the car, Iíd do the work.

Unless Subaruís are special, most standard sedans should easily get 40-50k miles out of a set of tires. My F250ís tires had 55k with tread left with I sold it. My 4runners tires have 30k and itís looking like I should easily get 60k.

daverobev

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2018, 07:14:43 PM »
$600 is a set of good tires, so if youíre keeping the car and will be replacing tires every 8K miles instead of every 20-25K miles, youíll be money ahead to change the parts and set the alignment right.

In terms of safety, itís probably not a significant safety concern. You probably arenít using the full contact patch of the tire, so your braking and cornering may be slightly degraded, and as the tires wear unevenly, youíll see degraded traction and hydroplaning resistance.

For $600, if keeping the car, Iíd do the work.

Unless Subaruís are special, most standard sedans should easily get 40-50k miles out of a set of tires. My F250ís tires had 55k with tread left with I sold it. My 4runners tires have 30k and itís looking like I should easily get 60k.

They are AWD and, AFAIK, do tend to go through tires a little faster than most.

GreenEggs

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2018, 08:49:17 PM »
You could call another shop and ask what they'd charge to examine the parts in question.  If they confirm the repair is needed, get a quote from them too. 

Retire-Canada

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2018, 11:00:35 PM »
A) get a second opinion

Do this ^^. Then decide.

Simple Dad

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2018, 01:34:32 PM »
Get a second opinion.  If other mechanic finds the same problem, get it fixed if you are keeping the car long term.  Repair costs will go up over time.  Also, $600 is cheaper than the multiple sets of tires you will wear out.

RWD

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2018, 02:58:16 PM »
I also think you should get a second opinion. Those bent components shouldn't be a problem unless it's so bad they are structurally compromised and could fail soon. Depending on the severity it may not even accelerate tire wear (assuming a good alignment can compensate).

JanetJackson

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2018, 03:43:59 PM »
Get a few more quotes and see if you can find a shop that will allow you to supply parts. 
This won't save you a million bucks, but it will help.
Check RockAuto to see if they have what you need and order through there.  My shop has always let me do this, and others when I've shopped around, have also let me do this. 

austin944

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2018, 07:30:14 PM »
TL;DR - mechanic noted some issues ("pass rear adjusting link and front lateral arm bent") while doing an alignment. Are they serious enough that I should fix them?

I believe "pass rear" means "rear passenger side".

Normally if there are any substantially bent or sub-standard suspension components on a car, the technician should have found these problems prior to the alignment, or if the technician proceeded with the alignment, s/he should have discovered the damaged components during the alignment process and should have notified the customer that the alignment could not be successfully completed due to the damage.

Did the technician say that the alignment was completed successfully, or not?
« Last Edit: August 18, 2018, 07:55:56 PM by austin944 »

Smokystache

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2018, 09:39:45 PM »
Just curious, is this a local shop or a chain? Is it Firestone?

mrteacher

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2018, 04:43:25 PM »
TL;DR - mechanic noted some issues ("pass rear adjusting link and front lateral arm bent") while doing an alignment. Are they serious enough that I should fix them?

I believe "pass rear" means "rear passenger side".

Normally if there are any substantially bent or sub-standard suspension components on a car, the technician should have found these problems prior to the alignment, or if the technician proceeded with the alignment, s/he should have discovered the damaged components during the alignment process and should have notified the customer that the alignment could not be successfully completed due to the damage.

Did the technician say that the alignment was completed successfully, or not?

Sorry I left that detail out: he stopped the process when he found this and told me I would have to get this fix before he could align it (and that for all he knows there could be something wrong with the front alignment as well...)

This was at a Subaru dealer, so I am wondering if they are super particular and point out every single thing even if itís not a huge issue?

austin944

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2018, 05:43:33 PM »
Sorry I left that detail out: he stopped the process when he found this and told me I would have to get this fix before he could align it (and that for all he knows there could be something wrong with the front alignment as well...)

This was at a Subaru dealer, so I am wondering if they are super particular and point out every single thing even if itís not a huge issue?

If it were me, I'd jack up the car or drive it onto ramps and compare the left/right suspension components, like this guy did:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=406l4wMLXfc

But if you don't have any way to look underneath the car, I'd get it replaced if the dealer is reputable.  As mentioned in the video, a bent component can be due to an impact event (did you have one of those?).  When metal is bent like that, it can compromise the strength, leading to a catastrophic failure.


mrteacher

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2018, 05:41:59 PM »
Went for a second opinion today.

Explained that the old tires had worn unevenly and that there may be something in addition to typical misalignment causing it. They said if that was the case they would let me know what they found. They did not mention what the first mechanic mentioned and performed the alignment, apparently unimpeded.

I'm wondering if maybe the first shop, a Subaru dealer, had higher/more specific standards?

I'm interested to see how the new tires wear.

scottish

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2018, 07:04:52 PM »
Mechanics sometimes find things that aren't broken.    You can ask to keep the old part and see if the story changes....

Retire-Canada

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2018, 07:24:21 PM »
I'm wondering if maybe the first shop, a Subaru dealer, had higher/more specific standards?

If it's bothering you get a 3rd opinion from a different Subaru dealer.

austin944

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2018, 09:24:35 PM »
Mechanics sometimes find things that aren't broken.    You can ask to keep the old part and see if the story changes....

Mechanics can save old parts from other cars for that possibility.  That happened to me once when I put an identifying mark on my car's part, and got back a broken part that didn't have the mark, and the mark on the car was still there.  But I tend to doubt a dealership would pull a stunt like that.  Usually they are pretty honest (but expensive).

BTW, car ramps from Walmart are only $39.   Or you can make some cheap ramps from stacked lumber.  I went to Home Depot and had them cut me up a 2x10 board for free.  Works great for a low ramp if just stacked; for a higher ramp you may want to build something with it.

https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=43058

HipGnosis

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2018, 08:30:00 AM »
Went for a second opinion today.

Explained that the old tires had worn unevenly and that there may be something in addition to typical misalignment causing it. They said if that was the case they would let me know what they found. They did not mention what the first mechanic mentioned and performed the alignment, apparently unimpeded.

I'm wondering if maybe the first shop, a Subaru dealer, had higher/more specific standards?
Yes, dealer service shops have higher standards.
Since the non-dealer was able to align the tires, I wouldn't worry about it.
If you have any further issues or questions, go to an alignment shop that advertises that they do 4 wheel drive alignments.

Car Jack

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2018, 08:51:18 AM »
What you need from the shop that did the alignment....ideally....is the before and after specs.

I would expect with the wear you're getting that the front toe is out (front of tires farther out than rear of tires).  This is the typical problem that wears out the inside of tires.....not camber.  The after number should be close to zero, both front and rear.

Looking at the camber, you'll likely see if there is damage to the control arms.  The fronts have very little camber adjustments (crash bolts) and the rears have none.  So if the right rear is way off, then yah....the control arm is likely bent.  Parts aren't overly expensive but they're somewhat of a pain to replace (I've done it.....it isn't fun and usually does not go smoothly). 

Just FYI, with a proper camber gauge, you can check camber in about 15 seconds.  I've got one of these from back when I ran a racecar.  It's likely that a full alignment shop doesn't.  They rely on the big, expensive machine, which is far more accurate but takes a while to set up.

GuitarStv

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2018, 09:22:33 AM »
600$ is very expensive for new tires.  I pay 2/3rds of that for good tires for my Corolla.  What size are they?

RWD

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2018, 09:38:11 AM »
600$ is very expensive for new tires.  I pay 2/3rds of that for good tires for my Corolla.  What size are they?

The original poster did not state that tires cost $600, they said that was the estimated repair cost. Looking at Tire Rack a set of cheapest reasonable tires for a 2014 Legacy range from $300-500, depending on wheel size.

FindingFI

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2018, 03:11:43 PM »
I have had issues with Subaru dealership service departments too. One failed my brakes during a state inspection, claiming that there was less than 2mm of material left ton the pads, so I took the car hope to fix it myself and discovered that the lowest point still measured 4mm.  Another dealership didn't even do the complete service that I paid for, so I've completely abandoned the dealerships.  Too much shady shit going on for me to give them any business. 

I drive mostly highway miles in a 2011 Legacy and with regular rotation the first set of tires lasted 80k miles and I've got 60k miles on the 2nd set so far with decent tread left.  For what it's worth, the replacements set ran me about $750. There were cheaper ones available, but these ones seem to last forever. If you aren't rotating the tires regularly, definitely hop on that to keep the wear even. 

mrteacher

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2018, 01:06:26 PM »
I have had issues with Subaru dealership service departments too. One failed my brakes during a state inspection, claiming that there was less than 2mm of material left ton the pads, so I took the car hope to fix it myself and discovered that the lowest point still measured 4mm.  Another dealership didn't even do the complete service that I paid for, so I've completely abandoned the dealerships.  Too much shady shit going on for me to give them any business. 

I drive mostly highway miles in a 2011 Legacy and with regular rotation the first set of tires lasted 80k miles and I've got 60k miles on the 2nd set so far with decent tread left.  For what it's worth, the replacements set ran me about $750. There were cheaper ones available, but these ones seem to last forever. If you aren't rotating the tires regularly, definitely hop on that to keep the wear even.

Thanks for sharing your experience. I definitely need to be better about regular tire rotating and wheel alignment -- it's something that I, foolishly, neglect to have done.

MilesTeg

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Re: Help deciphering a mechanic's suggestion for repair
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2018, 04:16:32 PM »
There are a lot of things that can break on your car that will cause you a lot of inconvenience and cost a lot of money.

Damaged, worn out or otherwise neglected tires, brakes and suspension parts can easily cost you your life or health as well.

Get a second opinion, if there's really a problem, get it fixed.