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Q: Is the pricing below fair? And can I drive the van?

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Hi Scott,

I took my mom's van into a service station because the check engine light had come on. The evaporator canister was replaced for $702 + the computer fee. I picked up the van and was told there are 3 more things wrong: 1) Oil Pan Reseal and Gasket for $399; Tie Rod Left Out Replacement for $658 and Swaybar Link Both Sides for $1032 for a new total of $2214.34 on top of the $750 I have already spent. Is this normal, fair? What do you recommend? What can you offer? Thanks so much. Genie

My car has 54000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Also, is it safe to drive the van? Specifically, can I drive the van from MD to NC to go home for Thanksgiving?

A: The pricing sounds a little high to me, but...

The pricing sounds a little high to me, but prices will vary among service stations as they advertise different labor rates and have different part price markup guidelines that they follow. Many service stations may mark parts up a fill 200% over what they acquired the parts for. If you do not like their prices, you do have the right to shop around until you do find a repair facility that offers to perform the same repair for a more reasonable price. The oil pan reseal must have been quoted because a technician saw you were leaking oil. If the oil is not leaking bad enough where you are finding it in your garage/driveway or you don’t have to add oil in between oil changes then you can probably wait a little while to take care of it. However, not that you know it is leaking you should check your oil level once a week to be safe. The outer tie rod may be loose and can cause a vibration in the steering wheel especially on the highway. This vibration may fatigue the joint and cause it to break then you will have big troubles. The replacement of the tie rod should include an alignment. As far as the sway bar links, these are much like the tie rods where there is a ball-in-socket joint that will wear over time and become loose, but the sway bar links won’t cause as much damage as the tie rod so you can wait here too. I will recommend you have the tie rod fixed sooner rather than later and you may be able to wait a bit on the other repairs. Consider hiring an experienced technician like one from YourMechanic who can take another look at the areas that were previously quoted and possibly offer you a more reasonable estimate as well as perform the services at your leisure.

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