Noises and Pulling

I had been hearing the low groaning of the wheel bearings for several weeks and was on my way to the garage to have the car repaired when my 2000 Saturn SL1 recently had an uncontained wheel bearing failure, in which there was the screaming the gnashing of metal, as well as the left wheel wobbling.

The car was towed to the garage, and they replaced both wheel bearings (the one that exploded, and the other one which was on its way out as well).

After wards I have noticed three items and am looking for advice:

#1 - The car was initially quiet, but about 2 weeks later I’ve started hearing the low drone “wheel bearing going” sound. The only difference is, it does not change when I turn the wheel to the left or right. The garage said they couldn’t tell if it was the wheel bearings going bad, but it could be the transmission.

#2 - Since the replacement my breaks feel spongier than normal. The garage said the master break cylinder may have been damaged when the wheel bearing blew apart, but that the car was safe to drive, unless it got worse. (My breaks used to be very firm, now there is more play in them).

#3 - Finally, since the repair when driving at highway speeds the car pulls to the right, and sometimes shudders, and when down shifting (not breaking) the car pulls to the left… I have not yet had the garage look at this.

My question is - what do others make of these symptoms? And, is the garage feeding me a line of BS? Or are they spot on?

I think that you need to have someone else, other than this shop, inspect the car as soon as possible. You’re basically talking about dangerous stuff. I don’t know what kind of shop you had it at for the wheel bearing and follow up, but what you want is your best local front end/alignment shop. A second opinion is in order immediately.