Q: I can't tell if the lower or upper front control arms are going bad

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Hello i am having trouble with my girlfriends 2004 turbo pt cruiser her mom took it into a local mechanic shop and they told her that the front control arms and wheel bearings where going bad and needed to be replaced i have some experience doing breaks and stuff like that i dont want to shell out the money to do it myself i just dont know how to tell which the upper and lower are going bad there aren't any indications that anything is wrong other than having to put in some power steering fluid the bearings have to be replaced they are squeaking i just dont know about the control arms

My car has 88100 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

If you have doubts as to any diagnostic that a mechanic offers, the fastest way to learn the truth is to simply ask the mechanic to show you the failure; that is, prove it to you. If he does, great - your problem is solved. If instead he or she gives you an excuse, like you can’t go in the shop, then there is nothing wrong with your car.

Typically, in a control arm, there will be rubber bushings and a ball joint. Your vehicle has relatively low miles and so it would not be unreasonable to be suspicious as to whether there is a failure or not in the suspension components. Wheel bearing failures have to be carefully diagnosed. Lots of rotating assemblies in a car make noise, not to mention the tires if they have a defect. Consequently, with regard to the bearings, the mechanic should be able to tell you which side, front or rear, and what the symptoms are.

In order to pinpoint a wheel bearing failure, sometimes electronic chassis ears have to be used to compare noise from side to side. At any rate, if the failure of a vehicle part is not actually demonstrated to you, you will have no reasonable assurance that they have actually correctly diagnosed the problem. Should you desire a second opinion, by all means contact YourMechanic and a certified professional will carefully evaluate the issues you are having during a noise inspection.

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