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2009 Honda Civic Sdn - Wheel Bearing Evaluation

Hi Tom and Ray!
I bought my first car a year ago, a 2009 Honda Civic LX in Atlanta for $3500. I got it thoroughly inspected by a mechanic before purchasing and he let me know that the wheel bearings were bad and would have to be replaced within the year. I didn’t know if I was going to stay in the country past a year so I put off putting money into the car, I thought if I started noticing the car driving badly I could repair the wheel bearings then, no harm in waiting. Side note, I did have to put in a new starter ($567) and new battery ($80) for the car to keep working. Anyway, a year later, I’m living in LA and now plan to stay and keep the car for a few more years. A month or two ago, the axles started grinding so I got the right axle replaced for $225. My mechanic said I could wait on the left axle till it started grinding, he didn’t say anything about the wheel bearings. My questions are 1) Did I play myself by waiting on the wheel bearings? Would bad wheel bearings have led to the axle deteriorating? 2) When I go in to the get the left axle replaced, should I ask them to replace the wheel bearings as well?
TL;DR: Do bad wheel bearings lead to axle break down?
Thanks in advance! I tried to include as much detail as possible because that seems to be the norm, and I guess I also want advice on whether or not I should be feeling as much self-recrimination as I am now :’(

No Ray here and Tom passed away several years ago.

  1. No to both questions
  2. No

You were right to inspect the car before you bought it. Diagnosing a bad bearing is easy - you will hear it growling or rumbling and it will be loose. Estimating how long a set will last is based more on experience than inspection.

Your mechanic did his best, heck, the starter still failed. The battery is just maintenance so…

Be happy, and drive on!

How many miles on the vehicle. Wheel bearing on a Honda generally last about 250k or more.

The axle issue was probably the outer CV joint. The wheel bearing had nothing to do with the joint failure. The joint fails when the rubber boot gets torn or just cracks open from age and environment and the grease gets out and dirt and grit get in. They don’t last very long after the boot fails, weeks to a few months at best. It’s hard to predict when they will fail.

If your Honda still has the captive rotors, it is a good idea to replace the bearing when you replace the rotors. If it is the newer style, wait until they make noise. If your car sounds like it has a propeller at 50 mph or higher, then you need new front wheel bearings. If it has a roaring sound coming from the rear, then you need rear wheel bearings.

this doesn’t have captive rotors

Dear Mustangman! Thank you for your reply! A lot more peace of mind now!

1 Like

Hey Keith! Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my question! This is all very helpful information and I am feeling so much better now that I know I didn’t cause the axle joint to break. The vehicle has about 202,000 miles on it now, I will wait for the wheel bearings to start making noise before I ask a mechanic to replace them.