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Mechanic damaged, not fixed, my car

Good Morning All

I have a 2005 Murano. 88K

Back in Feb I had my front L/R wheel bearings, CV joints and brakes replaced (I had front end noise and I know “time to replace the brake noise” very well). When I went to pu car, mechanic said there was still “some” noise and that it said it was due uneven wear on my tires. That didn’t make sense to me because I rotate my tires with every oil change (every 5K). Because I’ve been going to him for over 15 years and “trust” him, I said ok, wrote a $1700.00 check and went on my way.

At the next oil change (about a month ago) I told my mechanic that not only was the noise still there, but it was getting louder. He advised that it might be trans/differential.

Nissan covers their CVT trans up to 120K so after making sure any “differential” noise would be covered (I have front wheel drive only and was confused about the whole “is it the diff or is it the trans?”) - I took it to a Nissan dealer.

According to Nissan mechanic made it about 200 feet in his parking lot and drove it directly into his shop because the noise was so bad. Bottom line, the left wheel bearing was not tightened! He said he took the nut off by twisting with his fingers only. Because of this he started inspecting the entire front end (I told him of the repairs I had back in Feb) and the left axle shaft is “wavy/bent”, left tire has feathering (the others do not).

Trans/differential IS bad and Nissan will swap out under their extended warranty. He tightened up the wheel bearing (no charge) and said car was safe to drive until new trans arrived (7-10 days)

Nissan mechanic said that because they have to do something with the axles (take off? move?? loosen - don’t remember what he said) to put the new trans, the dealer is willing to fix the axle for the “parts price” only (no other labor involved apparently).

My question is this…of course I’m going to talk to my mechanic but I’m not really sure I want him fixing anything! Would it be “fair” for me to ask him to reimburse me if I get Nissan to replace the axle? Or should I let him honor his business/reputation and let him fix the axle on his nickel (which really - I know he would).

At this point, since Nissan does have to remove the axles in order to get the transmission out, you might as well let them replace it. They’re going to be replacing it anyway - why have the job done twice just to bring “honor” to your mechanic?

I can’t see how a loose nut would damage the axle. It might damage the hub or the wheel bearing, but not the axle itself. I would let your mechanic replace that wheel bearing, but if the dealer means the hub and not the axle, then let them do it for the price of the part and your mechanic should pay you back for the part.

BTW, I would expect more damage to the wheel bearing than to the hub, but there would be extra labor involved in removing the bearing. There is also some extra labor involved in removing the hub as well in some models, not so much in others.

The fact that you put the word “trust” in quotes tells me you don’t really trust your mechanic. After this episode, I wouldn’t go back. I wouldn’t even talk to the guy. There is nothing to be gained by it.

Keith

as for what is exactly damaged - I’m certain that Nissan said the axle. Their exact description was " due to the bearing nut being loose, it put play into the axle and as a result, the axle is wavy". But they also mentioned the word “hub” in the explanation so perhaps I’m mixing things up. I was in shock when the mechanic was talking to me so it’s possible I miss-understood.

To be really honest - until last Feb when the bearings, CV joints were originally repaired, I had only vague knowledge of those parts even existing, let alone how they all work/interact with each other.

As for damage to the wheel bearing and/or hub? sigh… I dunno. I don’t recall Nissan mechanic mentioning damage to bearing/hub but I’ll ask them when I take it in for the new trans…

Whitey - yeah - you’re right… after this little episode I really don’t trust him at all. It wasn’t like I rushed him - he had my car for over a week!

And when he did my oil change last month and he HEARD the noise and it didn’t faze him that the noise had gotten louder??? Literally, if he was going 5 mph when he pulled my car out of his shop and into his parking lot, he would have heard the racket. it was THAT bad…

@Whitey! Nice to see you again.

  1. Tell your mechanic that he never tightened the wheel bearing.
  2. Tell us his reaction.

I do not agree that leaving the nut loose will do any damage to the axle, however, did your mechanic install remanufactured axles when he replaced the cv joints? On most vehicles, the CV joints are part of teh axle so the whole axle has to be replaced.

A loose nut will do no damage if a one piece bearing is used. If a multipart bearing is used, then the wheel bearing would be chewed up if the nut were not torqued properly. The Nissan dealers assessment does not make any since to me at all.

But if your mechanic used a remanufactured axle in your vehicle, then I would say that that axle was defective in the first place. Remanufactured axles are junk IMO. I have seldom gotten a good one. New ones made in China are on the market and cost only a few dollars more than a reman and are almost as good as a new factory axle.

I suggest that you talk with your mechanic and have him look at that axle. If he used a reman, tell him you want it replaced with a new EMPI axle, both sides and you should only pay the difference between the cost of the remans and the new axles.

This is where I get axles, right now they only have the drivers side in stock in the EMPI brand but they do carry new A1 Cardone axles for both sides. A1 Cardone has a good reputation, but I have personally used the EMPI’s and I like them. Not sure about the other brands they have.

Here’s the link.

http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/sku/Nissan/Murano/EMPI_Axle/Axle_Assembly/2005/SE/6_Cyl_3-dot-5L/EMP804708.html?loc=Front%2C+Driver+Side&tlc=Brakes%2C+Suspension+%26+Steering

Thanks, cigroller. It’s good to be back.

When I say that I do not agree with the dealers assessment, I do not mean that he is wrong about the axle being the source of the noise, only the reason for it being bad. It was not due to the loose nut, but I am still concerned about the wheel bearing. You might need both now.

Ms. 1964,
You should step back for minute, sort through the issues you have with your mechanic, and then have a talk with him.

First, your mechanic didn’t break your transmission. It is being replaced because it was defective from the factory. Save some of your anger for Nissan. Be sure to find out what the warranty will be on the new transmission. If it breaks again in 88K what kind of situation will you be in then?

Next, the axle/nut issue: Keith is probably correct, instead of replacing the just CV joints your mechanic replaced the axle assembly with a remanufactured one. This is a common and acceptable practice. The new assembly may have been defective, just like your transmission. Your mechanic needs to know. Plus, he may be able to get his (your) money back. Yes, I believe he should reimburse you for the axle Nissan will replace. But, he will need to get the axle back from the dealer. Your mechanic should talk to the dealer. There isn’t enough information to know what the nut issue is. Some should be really tight, some not so much. Only your mechanics know for sure. Remember, it isn’t unheard of for one mechanic to diss the work of another.

The tire wear/alignment issue: Rotating your tires is a good idea, but it doesn’t stop the wear it just spreads it around. At 88K it may have been time for a new set anyway. When was the last time your car was aligned? Your mechanic had to disconnect something in the suspension to install the axle. Maybe it should have been aligned after maybe not. You need to ask. He might be willing to give you a deal on a new set.

Unless you mechanic works alone, he may not have done the work himself. If one of his mechanics did a sloppy job he needs to know.

Maybe it is time to dump your mechanic, but something kept you going back for 15 years. A little conversation wouldn’t hurt.

All

thanks for the feedback. I’m dropping the car off at the dealer Monday for the trans. I’ll ask him to put in writing what exactly is wrong with bearing/hub/axle and report back here…

ok - car is back and trans is fixed but the Nissan mechanic wouldn’t put in writing that he tightened the wheel hub and that the loosened hub caused axle damage.

he did put in writing that I need l/r front axles, 4tires, wheel alignment etc…

at this point I’m moving on - thanks to everyone for their input/feedback…

The reason the dealer wouldn’t put it in writing is because it was B$. You may need new axles, but it wasn’t due to a loose nut. BTW, how is it driving? Is it still making the noise? Have you had the alignment checked? Tires with a feathered tread can make a lot of noise. Also, thanks for the update.