So I just recently bought a used 2002 Ford Escape and took it into a Firestone to get a list of repairs and maintenance and I need help prioritizing because I'm on a very tight budget.

They said that I need to get an allignment, upper and lower control arm and ball joints for about 600.00.

Also I have cracking hoses and a leaking master cylinder, and they said to replace those and also replace two wheel cylinders it would be a little over 900.00.

A new exhaust because my exhaust is a little loud. 700.00 but even they said this is the last thing I should fix

When I drive the car it does feel bumpy so I'm thinking the control arm/ball joints however I do not want to ignore a braking issue.

Realistically I will be able to do the first two within three months but want to figure out what to do first.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Jan 4 '19 at 1:19
  • 1
    We don't know what country you are in, but in the UK a car with that list of faults wouldn't even be road legal. If you bought it from a dealer, not from a private individual, they shouldn't have allowed you to drive it away in that condition - though they could allow you to tow it away to be repaired somewhere else, of course.
    – alephzero
    Jan 4 '19 at 11:17

I'd replace cracked hoses first, then repaired the master cylinder.

Control arm and ball joints are also important, but if you drive smoothly around corners and are not planning a long journey it can be postponed a little. Alignment should be done after these maintenances are done.

Then I'd turn my attention to the exhaust.

But first, I'd go to other shop and try to find out if everything they have listed really needs to be replaced and are the prices fair or not. Maybe something can be repaired instead, for example the exhaust, if it's loud, maybe there is a leak and it's easily fixable.


I think the "hoses" may or may not have been misinterpreted as brake line hoses - in any case @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 is absolutely correct:

Brakes first (including brake hoses) and suspension next.

Just a guestimate, but in my experience a catastrophic ball joint failure is less likely than losing enough brake fluid to reduce braking effectiveness in an emergency situation. With both master and two wheel cylinder issues [and maybe brake line hoses], my money would certainly go for brakes.

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