Idler Arm Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for an idler arm replacement is between $179 and $307. Labor costs are estimated between $72 and $92 while parts are priced between $107 and $215. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
Note about price: The cost of this service or repair can vary by location, your vehicle's make and model, and even your engine type. Related repairs may also be needed. Talk with a RepairPal Certified shop to learn which repairs might be right for you.

How does the Steering Idler Arm work?

The pitman arm is connected directly to the steering gear on one end, and it connects to the centerlink on the other end. When the steering wheel is turned, the steering gear turns the pitman arm, which pushes or pulls the centerlink. On the other side of the vehicle, the centerlink is connected to the idler arm, which is bolted to the frame and centerlink and turns with the centerlink whenever the steering gear pushes or pulls this assembly.

What are the symptoms of a bad Steering Idler Arm?

If the idler arm wears out, the steering wheel will feel loose, and there may be a clunking or popping noise when turning. Also, the vehicle may wander in either direction. Finally, if the idler arm fails completely, the front passenger wheel will point completely out or completely in, depending on the direction the vehicle was turning when the idler arm breaks.

Can I drive with a bad Steering Idler Arm?

The idler arm should be replaced immediately upon recognizing the fault. If not repaired right away, excessive and uneven tire wear will likely become more expensive than the repair. Furthermore, driving with a clunking or popping idler arm will eventually lead to the separation of the idler arm ball joint, causing loss of control of the passenger side front tire. To avoid these scenarios, idler arm should be replaced as necessary, without undue delay.

How often does the Steering Idler Arm need replacement?

Idler arms are tough and have only two points of failure, so they tend to last thousands of miles. A typical vehicle driven under normal operating conditions should not need an idler arm replacement before the 100,000 mile mark, but keep in mind that modern vehicles absorb lots of hits from the road without the driver feeling them. This means that if your vehicle is driven on rough roads, expect all of your suspension to need replacing prematurely. Heavy duty trucks and SUV's which are used as such are also more likely to need a replacement ahead of time.

How are Steering Idler Arms replaced?

Replacing an idler arm takes only a few minutes with the proper tools. A ball joint separator will be used to separate the centerlink from the idler arm, and there will be few bolts that secure the idler arm to the chassis. Once removed, the new idler arm will be installed by securing the idler arm to the chassis and centerlink, torquing all fasteners, and aligning the wheels if necessary.

RepairPal Recommendations for Steering Idler Arm issues

If the idler arm is suspected of failure, all other ball joints should be inspected at the same time. The tie rod ends and pitman arm are under the same stress as the idler arm, so they may fail around the same time.

What to look out for when dealing with Steering Idler Arm issues

Though the centerlink looks like a strong place to place a jack, lifting a vehicle from the steering centerlink may cause failure or separation of the idler arm ball joint. If the idler arm ball joint fails, the vehicle could fall while lifting.

Can I replace the Steering Idler Arm myself?

With a good set of ball joint separators changing the idler arm is a very easy job. The average DIYer could inspect, diagnose, and repair a failed idler arm without difficulty as long as all safety precautions are exercised, and the proper tooling is used.

19,509 people trusted RepairPal with their estimates this week!