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View Full Version : $600 to replace 2 control arms/ball joints



volkswagensRus
12-23-2015, 09:31 AM
Long story short. Took the car to the local TRUSTED shop for a squeak on the front left, and a BANG on the front right. Guy said it needed ball joints/control arms. The right side needed I believe a rear, the left side a lower front. He quoted me $441+ tax. I get the final bill, $600. He quoted me $200 per control arm. Plus ~$148 labor to install them both. I'm infuriated. Should I be?

LA4
12-23-2015, 09:34 AM
Depends. If he used genuine OEM parts, then $200 per control arm sounds about right for Audi. If he used aftermarket parts then you got boned.

Why go to a shop for a simple job like a control arm? The uppers I can see being a bitch with the pinch bolt but the lowers are pretty easy.

demonmk2
12-23-2015, 09:36 AM
You got screwed....

Hugh@EuropaParts
12-23-2015, 09:36 AM
Long story short. Took the car to the local TRUSTED shop for a squeak on the front left, and a BANG on the front right. Guy said it needed ball joints/control arms. The right side needed I believe a rear, the left side a lower front. He quoted me $441+ tax. I get the final bill, $600. He quoted me $200 per control arm. Plus ~$148 labor to install them both. I'm infuriated. Should I be?

$200 per control arm? We sell an entire 12 piece Meyle HD Kit for $500.00 shipped.

TL;DR I'd be furious...

CONTROL ARM KIT (B5/C5, 12-PIECE, MEYLE HD) (https://www.europaparts.com/control-arm-kit-b5-c5-12-piece-8d0498510my-meyle.html)

volkswagensRus
12-23-2015, 09:39 AM
Depends. If he used genuine OEM parts, then $200 per control arm sounds about right for Audi. If he used aftermarket parts then you got boned.

Why go to a shop for a simple job like a control arm? The uppers I can see being a bitch with the pinch bolt but the lowers are pretty easy.

I'm "OK" with cars... I can do brakes, turbo swaps, head swaps, etc... but ball joints and control arms I've never really messed with. I'm not sure if they are OEM or aftermarket parts. I've heard the uppers are easy but the lowers are a real bitch though. He only charged ~$148 in labor. My good buddy tells me AFTER I start getting the work done he's got the pieces I need for like $180 and he'd install for $100. He said he'd be outraged and wouldn't pay it.

VAGlover
12-23-2015, 09:54 AM
I'm "OK" with cars... I can do brakes, turbo swaps, head swaps, etc... but ball joints and control arms I've never really messed with. I'm not sure if they are OEM or aftermarket parts. I've heard the uppers are easy but the lowers are a real bitch though. He only charged ~$148 in labor. My good buddy tells me AFTER I start getting the work done he's got the pieces I need for like $180 and he'd install for $100. He said he'd be outraged and wouldn't pay it.

i bought a kit from a regarded supplier who i shall not name. long story short, i'm replacing all my 1 year old control arms from "regarded supplier" with oem ones. as a vw tech, i do get a discount from audi but they are still expensive. i just spent around 160 for a lower ca. ive been doing this alot with all the aftermarket parts i've put in my car. other than performance parts, keep it oem.

audi49
12-23-2015, 10:10 AM
So the labor sounds reasonable to me. If he truly only replaced 2 upper control arms (of the 4), then $400 for those two sounds steep, even for Audi OEM. E.g. I've seen a whole set of upper (4 arms + hardware) Audi OEM for $550.

slipknot23
12-23-2015, 10:26 AM
https://www.fcpeuro.com ball joints and control arm kits

Wrath And Tears
12-23-2015, 10:50 AM
Head swap is like 100000000x harder then control arms. The hardest part of control arms is tightening everything when the car is at droop. Which can be done with a set of car ramps.

OEM parts are always better, but I'd rather spend a third the money and go aftermarket. As long a the dealer stands behind their product and the warranty is good (like the lifetime from FCP) then I'd rather replace the part a few times and still pay less then OEM. But I have a rack to do all my work on.

xalents23
12-23-2015, 11:14 AM
All I got to say is [facepalm]

LA4
12-23-2015, 11:57 AM
I'm "OK" with cars... I can do brakes, turbo swaps, head swaps, etc... but ball joints and control arms I've never really messed with. I'm not sure if they are OEM or aftermarket parts. I've heard the uppers are easy but the lowers are a real bitch though. He only charged ~$148 in labor. My good buddy tells me AFTER I start getting the work done he's got the pieces I need for like $180 and he'd install for $100. He said he'd be outraged and wouldn't pay it.

Dude if you can do a head swap you can totally change a control arm. They come as a complete unit so you aren't even pressing out bushings or anything.

It's basically one bolt and one nut that need to be removed. There are guides and youtube videos everywhere. I've done them and I'm a complete fucktard.

LA4
12-23-2015, 12:11 PM
i bought a kit from a regarded supplier who i shall not name. long story short, i'm replacing all my 1 year old control arms from "regarded supplier" with oem ones. as a vw tech, i do get a discount from audi but they are still expensive. i just spent around 160 for a lower ca. ive been doing this alot with all the aftermarket parts i've put in my car. other than performance parts, keep it oem.

Do you really think it's worth it though?? I've done the math and OEM just seems like a complete waste of money.

The FCP kit is $300 (currently on sale for even less!) For all 8 control arms, outer tie rods, and sway bar links, plus all the hardware. With a lifetime warranty.

For OEM: If we say $125x4 for the uppers, $160x4 for the lowers, $200 for both sway bar links, and $200 for the tie rods, that's over $1500 total. Those are all conservative estimates to keep this fair since I have no idea how big your dealer discount is.

Is the OEM part better? Sure. But for me it certainly isn't worth 5x the price. You want to use OEM more power to you, but I'd hardly recommend someone spend $1500 in parts when there is a perfectly acceptable solution for $300. That's just my $0.02, but I'm also really effin' cheap.

VAGlover
12-23-2015, 12:35 PM
Idk when you have to replace contrrol arms every 3 months it becomes worth it.

I'm lowered but just 25.5gtf, and have brutal winters here, but these aftermarket parts don't take to it very wheel

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LA4
12-23-2015, 12:42 PM
First I've heard of someone replacing them every 3 months. 15k miles on mine without any issues. Probably other people on here with way more miles on them.

Wrath And Tears
12-23-2015, 12:43 PM
Idk when you have to replace control arms every 3 months it becomes worth it.

I can tell you if your aftermarket parts are only lasting 3 months you are messing up the install, guaranteed. That being said its always possible to get a lemon even from the dealer, and some aftermarket companies release terrible quality products.

Example: My correctly installed super cheap aftermarket control arm is still doing good 10 months later. However my OEM one died a tragic death in 5k miles (2/3 months) due to a manufacturing defect in the ball joint or something. $20 arm versus $120.

OverSpun
12-23-2015, 12:47 PM
I can tell you if your aftermarket parts are only lasting 3 months you are messing up the install, guaranteed. As a tech who installs aftermarket parts on cars day in and day out and have a 2 year 25000 mile warranty on those parts, I know what I am talking about. That being said its always possible to get a lemon even from the dealer, and some aftermarket companies release terrible quality products.

Example: My correctly installed super cheap aftermarket control arm is still doing good 10 months later. However my OEM one died a tragic death in 5k miles (2/3 months) due to a manufacturing defect in the ball joint or something. $20 arm versus $120.

Agreed.

VAGlover
12-23-2015, 12:48 PM
I put 25k a year on my car. I'm a dealer tech, pretty sure I'm installing them correctly. All my issues have been with aftermarket parts.

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LA4
12-23-2015, 12:53 PM
I put 25k a year on my car. I'm a dealer tech, pretty sure I'm installing them correctly. All my issues have been with aftermarket parts.

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How are they failing within 3 months (roughly 6k miles with how much you are apparently driving.)

The bushing deteriorating, ball joint cracking open? I guess I just find it hard to believe that these arms are failing again and again and again.

VAGlover
12-23-2015, 12:55 PM
All ball joints. And 3 months was an exageration, the first one failed 9 months after install. Them a couple others failed shortly after.

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Nollywood
12-23-2015, 01:01 PM
If those arms were genuine Audi, then the overall cost is fair.

I only fit control arms from Audi. They cost a whole lot more, but having used the aftermarket garbage out there, (yes, including Meyle) I would rather fit genuine items that last ages.

Than have to replace the same items from the aftermarket, on a regular basis, regardless of warranty. My time is money, and I'd prefer to use it elsewhere.

Wrath And Tears
12-23-2015, 01:03 PM
This is a joke...hopefully but stop tightening the ball joints with an impact gun. Coworker who was a VW/AUDI dealer tech saw plenty of people destroy ball joints and stuff with an impact gun. I figured it was the bushing failing due to not being installed properly, but if it was the ball joints that does speak to the quality or lack there of. Can you say what company you had issues with? I'd be interested to know.

FeebleBiscuit
12-23-2015, 01:12 PM
Well if you use valco arms then every three months you have to change them. But you also only paid 225 for the set.
https://www.ecstuning.com/Audi-B5_A4-Quattro-1.8T/Suspension/Control_Arm/Kits/ES2609119/
Vs
Meyle 600
https://www.ecstuning.com/Audi-B5_A4-Quattro-1.8T/Suspension/Control_Arm/Kits/ES3005/

I bought the Meyle kit 2 years ago 20k miles and I've been to 10 track days on them and all is well. I'm not about to pay 1500 for some control arms.

Audi
https://www.ecstuning.com/Audi-B5_A4-Quattro-1.8T/Suspension/Control_Arm/Kits/ES2661077/

volkswagensRus
12-23-2015, 01:23 PM
So the labor charge, ~$148, was VERY fair I thought. No contest there. But the shop, who I've used on NUMEROUS cars and always had excellent luck with, said they bought the control arms right at $200/piece. He said he couldn't get them directly, and "had to go through a place that went through a place". He wouldn't say what brand they are, but didn't think OEM audi. They have a lifetime warranty. They are both lowers, not uppers.


EDIT: Ohh ya, and the shop guy is saying he quoted me at $551+ tax originally, not $451+ tax. I know what I heard. If I heard $551+tax I would have taken it home and parked it.

nemick
12-23-2015, 02:32 PM
Chances are they totally underestimated the labor if the pinch bolts were a bitch. Probably just jacked up the price of the parts to cover their ass. Still sucks and I'd be pissed.

zillarob
12-23-2015, 03:12 PM
The Excalibur bolt alone can be that much if things get sideways.
Buffalo makes me think you got to pay the salt surcharge.

walky_talky20
12-23-2015, 07:23 PM
I've had 4 FCP uppers in my car for 100k miles. No problems. My brother has the same on his A4, but he did have 1 fail. FCP replaced it for free - no questions.

My lowers are genuine Audi because they had a closeout sale on the 4-piece lower arm "kit" for like $50 way back when. Couldn't pass that up!

seanf86
12-23-2015, 08:04 PM
Chances are they totally underestimated the labor if the pinch bolts were a bitch. Probably just jacked up the price of the parts to cover their ass. Still sucks and I'd be pissed.

He said both lowers.

For being arms sourced locally I'd say that's the price you pay, you always pay more for parts sourced by a shop, and around here no shop will install parts you bring them for warranty/wrong parts/low grade crap parts.

redline380
12-23-2015, 08:12 PM
Why the fuck you brought it in, I will never understand. The only times my cars see the inside of a shop is to have an alignment done.

If you can't replace a suspension component, learn how to. For $600, I would just go buy another B5.

Turbo_B5
12-23-2015, 08:13 PM
Dude if you can do a head swap you can totally change a control arm. They come as a complete unit so you aren't even pressing out bushings or anything.

It's basically one bolt and one nut that need to be removed. There are guides and youtube videos everywhere. I've done them and I'm a complete fucktard.

x2, expecially the end part.

VAGlover
12-23-2015, 10:08 PM
If those arms were genuine Audi, then the overall cost is fair.

I only fit control arms from Audi. They cost a whole lot more, but having used the aftermarket garbage out there, (yes, including Meyle) I would rather fit genuine items that last ages.

Than have to replace the same items from the aftermarket, on a regular basis, regardless of warranty. My time is money, and I'd prefer to use it elsewhere.
On the contrary, I do want to put adjustable uppers on when the current ones fail.

Those are $.

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volkswagensRus
12-24-2015, 06:12 AM
Chances are they totally underestimated the labor if the pinch bolts were a bitch. Probably just jacked up the price of the parts to cover their ass. Still sucks and I'd be pissed.

Thats interesting, and believable in the context that you put it... but when he's claiming he NEVER said the estimate was $441.... he's saying he always said $551+tax. Thats bullshit because that that price the car would have sat at home.


The Excalibur bolt alone can be that much if things get sideways.
Buffalo makes me think you got to pay the salt surcharge.

LOL! True that. Fortunately the Audi's and Volkswagens I've had, have held up VERY well in regards to not rusting.


Why the fuck you brought it in, I will never understand. The only times my cars see the inside of a shop is to have an alignment done.

If you can't replace a suspension component, learn how to. For $600, I would just go buy another B5.

Don't know. I've just never really done suspension work is all.




To add more to the story. Been speaking with a good buddy of mine who's a Audi guy; lots of s4's, a4's, Volkswagens etc. He said his brother used to work at said shop, and that he quit because they were cheating customers.

So I got to thinking. My GF took her WELL maintained acura in for a noise, and they gave me the same line. It's a balljoint about to let go.... and when she had it replaced it just "fell out" when they loosened it up. They also quoted her ~$500 to fix the drivers side window motor + regulator as it was acting funky. Took it apart, it was just a rubber seal that was imploded and making it hard to go up/down.

Another thing. The banging noise is still present on the passenger side front. The guy said it's because whoever installed my struts over tightened them, and they are basically bottoming out and hitting the strut plate when I hit bumps. He said take it back to him. The WHOLE reason I took it in was because the drivers side squeaked (fixed) and the passenger side banged loud on bumps.

Wrath And Tears
12-24-2015, 07:17 AM
Yeah... find a new shop. That's pretty scammy.

Our shop charges about $150 to R&R the door panel and diag the issue (That's about 1 hour of labor, we are right in the middle labor rate wise for our area, 130-170) Most door panels are like 4-6 screws and some trim panels. $500 is extreme unless it also included replacing a window regulator (parts and labor).

volkswagensRus
12-24-2015, 07:30 AM
The price of $500 to replace the window motor + regulator on her acura was for everything involved. The motor and regulator are one unit. The kicker is, I can find the motor + regulator for $50 on the low side to $100 on the high side. They said majority price was parts. BUT BUT BUT, the motor was fine.... the reason the window had issues going up/down was due to a rubber piece that fell inside the track. The motor was fine. Makes me wonder if they even opened up the door panel...

LA4
12-24-2015, 08:42 AM
It would be cool to have a "trusted Audi shops" by location thread or something.

I try to avoid taking my car in for anything, but when going for alignments, inspection, etc. it would be comforting knowing that it's an honest shop who knows how to work on VAG cars. I've had my car for around 5 years and still have yet to find a shop that I 100% trust.

wolfe2118
12-24-2015, 10:23 AM
as a vw tech, i do get a discount from audi but they are still expensive. i just spent around 160 for a lower ca. ive been doing this alot with all the aftermarket parts i've put in my car. other than performance parts, keep it oem.

As an VW tech, you also have a financial interest to keep people coming into the dealership. That's kind of like Ronald McDonald saying "salads really don't fill you up so you had better play it safe and just buy a Big Mac so you aren't hungry again in an hour". Had you left out the VW tech part, there would be no question as to your motives.

LA4
12-24-2015, 12:08 PM
As an VW tech, you also have a financial interest to keep people coming into the dealership. That's kind of like Ronald McDonald saying "salads really don't fill you up so you had better play it safe and just buy a Big Mac so you aren't hungry again in an hour". Had you left out the VW tech part, there would be no question as to your motives.

Meh, I completely disagree with his point on using OEM parts (see my post above) but I don't think him being a VW tech has anything to do with it. Let's be realistic, how many B5s are still finding their way into the dealership? It's not like Audi is giving him a cut of every control arm sold for a 20 year old chassis.

Also, Mcdonalds sells salads and they are actually more expensive than the sandwiches.

VAGlover
12-24-2015, 09:28 PM
I'd rather put in a quality part than have a customer come back a year later to replace said part. Not to mention alligning it again.

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