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Q: At >60mph speed when I lift foot from accelerator, there is vibration in steering. clunk noise on bumps.

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I got it checked and they told me Front suspension lower ball joints and both outer Tie-rods ball joints need to be replaced and gave me an estimate of $2100. Can you suggest me if that estimate is accurate?

My car has 104000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: As always, the first order of business is t...

As always, the first order of business is to confirm the diagnosis. If the Mechanic showed you "looseness" in those parts, that’s fine but "a" concern is whether or not they are giving you "assurance" that once those parts are replaced such will FULLY resolve the issue you are complaining of, that is the vibration and noise. So, the first priority is to get a COMPLETE diagnosis. Getting a second opinion is one way to get that assurance.

With regard to the cost, yes overall if the repair is limited to replacing just those FOUR components, plus the necessary wheel alignment, the price they gave you is economically irrational. To wit, tie rods are about $50 each. Labor to install 2 tie rod ends amounts to 2 hours (total). So, for tie rods, you are looking at a cost of $250. Although Nissan recommends installing new transverse links with integral ball joints, it is possible to replace just the ball joints (they can be pressed out and new ones pressed in). I have no way of knowing what you are being quoted on, but if they are following Nissan "advice" and replacing the entire transverse link (with the joint already integral to the link as recommended by Nissan) those links are over $200 each. Labor to replace 2 links is about 2 hours (total). So, in the worst case scenario, you are looking at $600 total for the ball joints. If you just replace the ball joint alone (press out old, press in new), you are looking at $60 per ball joint or a total (labor and parts) of about $300. The car has to be aligned once the job is done and that costs less than $100. So, adding the MAXIMUM figures up you are looking at a total repair cost of $950.

Again, the biggest concern is to get assurance that the job, once done, will actually solve your problem. If they cannot give you substantial assurance, that means that they have not fully diagnosed the issue and are merely starting with possibly obvious worn parts. If that’s the case, watch out because there will be further costs to repair the vehicle. As far as the cost, on a project like this you will be vastly better off with a solo professional mechanic, such as those that YourMechanic dispatches. Do not hesitate to recontact us if you’d like a second opinion on the vibration you’re experiencing.

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