Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Two locations in NH: One near Concord, the other at the 45th.
Welcome, Jennifer! Sorry about your problem.
A lot of this depends on the integrity of your dealer. Its anyone's guess if they're trying to cheat you or if the parts are simply worn and it would be cheaper for you to do all the work now instead of piecemeal. Are they trying to save you money in the long run, or treating you like a cash cow?
I'll tell a story of a good dealer I knew a few years ago where I formerly lived. A woman from my church was driving a bucket-o-bolts that was leaking oil. She was in pretty rough straits financially and I recommended this dealer because I knew they were honest. They basically declined to work on her car: one thing would lead to another and the cost would be more than it was worth. It would just be a cluster and they didn't want to invest their reputation in a hopeless case.
Similarly I had some work done on a previous vehicle I owned. I forget what it was but they were working on something else and said the water pump was headed south. I could get a few more months out of it, but they'd save me labor since they were already in there. I trusted them and had them do the work.
Another time I had a tranny leak (covered under warranty). My dealer offered to replace the transmission filter for the cost of the part since FCA was already paying for the disassembly, new gasket, and new fluid. I think it was about $50. If I'd waited another 10,000 miles for the recommended interval I would have paid several hundred bucks for them to do the same work all over again, plus the filter. They gave me good advice and I took it.
On the other hand, some dealers will get a customer for all they can while they've got them. So it all depends on the relationship you have with the dealer. If you've been bringing it to them for service right along 1) they should have seen the rust problem, or 2) they should recognize the value of a regular customer and not abuse you.
I guess if I were in your shoes I'd ask how far gone those suspension parts are. How many miles/months are they good for? If they'd last a year, you might sell or trade your car before that or at least be in a better financial position to afford the work. Have them do the covered work, and have them put the old parts back in -- that shouldn't cost you a dime. Also consider that a dealership usually costs more than an independent shop so it may be cheaper to have them put the old parts back in and have the other work done elsewhere. Ideally the dealership should do better work, but that's not always the case.
How many miles on your Patriot? If you're past 100,000 miles, those front end parts might be near the end of their service life anyway. On the other hand, if you had those parts replaced a year ago then they should be good for a while longer and the dealer is just trying to spook you.
One more thing. If you're really uncomfortable with the dealer, try PMing JeepCares on this website. They'll shepherd you through the process. Good luck and please let us know how it works out.