Fair price for ball joint replacement?

I was quoted $600 to have both front ball joints replaced on my 2001 Civic (price also includes wheel alignment, which I'm told would be necessary with the job). I live in Buffalo, NY. Does this seem like
a fair price? A quick google search makes me believe the job should cost closer to $300 or so...
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martin lynch wrote:

what makes you think they need replacing? honda balljoints are usually good for at least 200k miles.
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jim beam wrote:

Second that. As for the price, it's probably ballpark for having a dealer do it. The $300 is probably about right for an independent shop using aftermarket or Honda parts purchased directly.
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We get lots of snow/ice, road salt, and potholes galore up here. Road maintenance is near non-existent between November and March.
Things like ball joints don't last around here at all.
As for the price, I would say you should look around for some other shops, get another estimate or two. You can probably get it cheaper, though we don't have a LOT of independant Honda shops around here...
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Buffalo has snow and salt galore. (You're hardy!) Eight years of driving in these and I can see the ball joints needing replacement. Go ahead and get the second opinion. Or google and see how you can put the front of the car on jackstands, grasp the wheels and pull and push on them and do a cursory inspection.
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Parts plus labor and the resetting of the toe-in, a complete alignment is not needed. Price it out and check the labor, I bet labor rates are in the $100 range, which the mechanic will get $20 + benefits of that $100, and beat the time allowence by 20-30%. Dealer makes $70/hr on each mechanic....

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Next time why don't you try asking the alignment tech for toe adjust only and see what kind of discount (or laughter) you get.

Or encounter a severely rusted bolt, or break something, and run over the time allowance by 20-30%, which he can't bill for. It works both ways.

And out of that $70 he has to pay all the invoices, payroll and taxes that the mechanic doesn't have to worry about.
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