Lower Control Arm Bushing on 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser

I just bought a 2003 PT Cruiser with 62k miles on it. When brought in to a Greenwood, IN Chrysler dealership for 60k mile service, they suggested that the lower control arm bushings are worn and loose. Unfortunately, they recommended replacing the (2) complete lower control arms, for a cost of about $850. I search the web and found out the control arm bushings seem to be a weak spot for the PT Cruisers. There seems to be a variation of interpretation of the consequence of a failed control arm bushings, some thought would result in a complete failure of the suspension system, causing the car to plow to the ground at speed. My impression is that the control arm is simply something that keeps the wheel vertical to the ground, therefore a failed bushing means more tire wears. Your take on this? Also, replacement bushings can be had for about $40. How difficult is it to replace the worn bushings only, w/o replacing the complete control arms, as the dealership had recommended? Any good shop to do this economically?

It matters how worn your bushings really are. If they were really bad, you would notice a shift when you were braking and accelerating and there may be some steering issues, like pulling if one side is much worse than the other. yes, I have replaced just the bushings before, you press them in and out, but not too many Techs have this kind of skill these days. Most don't press the bearings in and out of hubs either, they just put in a whole hub or whole control arm, which makes the Dealership more $$ in Parts revenue. Try to find a shop with real Technicians and not just 'parts installers'. Good Luck!
2 more answers
not sure about the cruiser but i did so on my 92 dodge shadow. if you live in northern locations, chances are that the bolts holding the arm to the stubframe , are hopelesly frozen. i had to cut-off the bolts with disc grinders and reciprocating saw to get the arm off. replacing the bushings is not difficule ,it is "the getting at them"
Question ,how good are you are working on cars ? If you have ever done a strut change on the front end ,your more than halfway there . The best is to find a whole control arm assembly on ebay .Usually can get a pair for about a hundred and you will have a new control arm ,bushings and ball joint . When doing the bushings you should also replace the ball joint as the control arm has to be removed to do this anyway . I changed my bushings and ball joints on my 2003 PT and by the time I was finished I ended up paying more than if I had purchased a "complete " control arm as the bushings and ball joints must be pressed in at a machine shop ,and they charged me $27.00 a piece to do that . So factoring in all that ,buy the complete units. Get yourself a "Chiltons" manual or just go to the library and borrow a service manual ,they are great helps when doing a "new" job . Most important ,if you do the job yourself, get the car aligned as the steering will probably be "way" out .