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My mechanic's service writer (in total it's a 3-person team, he and two mechanics) informed me that my front lower control arms and cv shaft assemblies need to be replaced. How can I know for sure he's right? Is there a way I can look at these myself and tell, or are there certain driving "symptoms" that would be noticeable?

He wants to charge me $332 in labor for this fix, overlapped with an A/C condenser r&r for $159.

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Sure, control arms and constant velocity (CV) shaft assemblies do wear out. Grab a flashlight, a pair of jack stands and a floor jack.

  • Jack the car up safely onto the jack stands. Never, ever, never work under a car that is just propped up by a jack.
  • grab a flashlight.
  • carefully inspect the constant velocity shafts for wear at the CV joints. Grab the shaft. Shake it as hard as you possibly can using all or your body weight. If you get any hint of movement, that is unacceptable wear, indicating the shaft should be replaced.
  • Check the CV drive shafts for the rubber boots at the ends. If the boots are broken, cracked, or leaking grease, generally that means you are getting water in there, which results in lack of lubrication. The joint will wear down pretty quickly in that condition.

Torn CV Boot

  • Lower control arms. Same two tests. You may want to use a prybar to gauge the freeplay at the ball joints. If there is noticable freeplay, replacement is necessary. If you see torn rubber boots anywhere, same conversation as above holds true.

Torn Ball Joint Seal

If you are not sure of what you are looking at, grab your mobile phone, take photos and post them up here for more advice.

Good luck with it.

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