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I drive a 2007 Mazda 3 GS 4-door sedan with 85,000km (appx. 52,800 miles) on it. When I went in for a routine oil change, my Mazda dealership told me I needed the front left lower control arm to be replaced, as well as the rear trailing arm bushings (among other things, totalling over $1600+tax). Mazda told me one of the rear bushings was "completely out", and the other one was "halfway out". I took it to another mechanic who first told me that the front bushings were "a bit worn" but not cracked or torn. As I was leaving and getting a quote for the #3 engine mount, he recommended that I have both front lower control arms replaced and that they should be done in the next month or so. He did however tell me that the dealership was wrong about the rear trailing arm bushings and they were just fine. I don't feel anything wrong with my car. There are no strange noises, she handles just fine, no issues going over bumps, steering is normal, no strange tire wear, and I have been taken advantage of by both the dealership and other mechanics in the past. If I truly needed the front lower control arms replaced, shouldn't I feel a difference in my car's performance? Also Mazda said just the 'left' front lower control arm needed replacing, while this second mechanic said both control arms need replacing. Needless to say, I am frustrated and confused. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! -Ren

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd HI Ren, I don't think I would trust either of these diagnoses. Sounds like you need to find a new Automotive Service Center for you Mazda. Especially since both places have 'done you wrong' in the past. I recommend you look up on AskPatty.com to find the nearest Certified Female Friendly Shop near you to get a true diagnose. If there is not one close to you, then look up for the nearest AAA Auto Repair Service Center. You have to be the 'best' to pass the stringent criteria to be part of these two programs. Good Luck!

Sherice Bellefeuille, Client Marketing Manager at AskPatty.com, Inc. Ren C. -- I know getting your vehicle properly diagnosed can be a frustrating process and I have a couple of tips for you. Without the vehicle being in front of me, I cannot tell if you need both lower control arms or just the left like the dealership was saying, however, I do know that in a lot of cases, dealerships will recommend to replace certain components of your car based off of manufacturer's recommendations for your vehicle's age and/or mileage. They won't necessarily do an inspection where they can see the components and how worn they are to recommend that you replace them. It's always best to get a second and sometimes even a third opinion when it comes to expensive repairs. You can also request to see the components that they are suggesting you repair by having them take you into the back of the shop and physically showing you your car. That way, you know for yourself that the components are worn and need to be replaced. Good luck.

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