2002 Buick Century Limited Loose front wheel


Being a single mom I’m always leary of repair shops. Just got this used beauty with 111,000 miles on it.

Took it in for a needed oil change (only have had it for two weeks) and was told the front wheel is loose and needs to be replaced at $468! I can feel a very small shimmy in the front and thought it might need alignment - but I guess this is the real culprit! They did have the car up on the rack. This was at the local “Sewell GMC” dealership in Dallas, Texas.

One friend told me I could drive this for a year and a half like this, the dealership repair shop says within the next couple of months. I drive 175 miles a week on the tollroad.

1)Is this a reasonable charge?

2)How immediate is the need to repair?




It must be a front wheel bearing that is loose. The price quote sounds a bit high. Try an independent shop instead of a dealership.


I am assuming it is a bad wheel bearing. No one knows exactly when it will fail, but when it does it will mean you will be stranded and may well pay more than $468 in towing cost plus and additional damage plus the cost of the new bearing. It’s your choice

I would recommend having it checked by a local mechanic. Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car. They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies. They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent.

Check with friends, co-workers and neighbors or even the mechanx files here are CarTalk to find a trusted local independent mechanic.


I agree to try an independent shop.

I’m wondering of the wheel was loose due to either someone leaving the lugs loose (which can damage the studs) or overtightening them at some point and stretching the studs, rendering it no longer possible to properly secure the wheel. Either condition would necessitate pressing the old studs out and new ones in.

Either way, or if NYBo is right, or if it’s something else entirely, I’d get this fixed ASAP. This is definitely a safety issue.


The price sounds reasonable AND you wouldn’t want to drive it anywhere near what you “could get away with”. If you’re going to have to fix it anyway, you should get the most benefit out of the repair that you can. Why pay for somebody else to drive without problems when you can pay for yourself?


What is a “single mom”?


I assume you’re talking about a wheel bearing here. The price is steep but a quick look shows that an aftermarket wheel bearing is almost 220 dollars and that’s without labor. The GMC dealer will be using a GM OEM wheel bearing, which includes the hub (that’s why it’s high) and given Dallas dealer labor rates the price is probably about right.

Yes, this should be repaired very soon. You should also price this job around at an independent shop. They can probably beat the price given by the dealer and an aftermarket part will work fine.
(You might also consider the fact that when one side goes the other could be questionable at best). Hope that helps.


A mom without a hubby. It’s a pretty common term up here in the northeast for moms who are divorced, widowed, or never married.