Back again with another question.
CAR: 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 137k miles, full tune-up late December.
Replaced 12 year old tires in November, guy who sold them was nice and accomodating, but definitely not a mechanic. Front right wheel frozen on, the guy smashed it off with a metal mallet to replace it.
About 1 month later, a whistling-sounding noise was coming from what I thought was front right of engine. Mechanic fixed a vacuum leak late December, I thought that was cause. Seemed to be noticeable more during acceleration, cold weather, or after reversing with wheel turned.
MOST RECENT DIAGNOSIS:
Mechanic just told me he believes front right wheel bearing needs replacement. He also noticed another clunking noise from same area, believes it can also be fixed with wheel bearing replacement. Quoted $200-$300 for part, $80 for labor. He's a trustworthy and legitimate mechanic, particularly because he has no problem having me bring in the part from elsewhere and he'll install.
I can find these parts as cheap as $40, why is he quoting $200-$300? Am I looking at parts with terrible quality? What is a safe bet brand to buy wheel bearings? Is it worth it to buy wheel bearings with a long lifespan if the car itself is getting pretty geriatric?
I appreciate all your responses and help in advance.