I just got back from the dealership and my wallet still hurts. I brought in my car (2008 Lexus IS 350 with RWD) because I kept hearing abnormally loud road noise from the tires or drive system. I know it is not the engine because when I upshift or downshift the pitch does not change. Rather, the noise is like running over the grooves in the pavement that are supposed to wake you up when you go off the road and the noise is constant with speed. It starts at around 30 mph.
My initial thought was that it might be a bad wheel bearing – rare, but not unheard of. Instead I was shocked with a $2100 price tag (estimated - haven’t approved the work yet) to replace the right front tire, right front rim, right front wheel bearing, redo the alignment and then replace the tire on the left side since it is a bad idea to replace one of the two front tires and not the other. (sigh)
They quoted me $664.90 for the RF rim, $636.19 for the wheel bearing including labor, $179 for the alignment and $642.60 for the two tires. I would never buy those crappy tires again and $179 seems steep for the alignment. I’m not surprised that the costs are high–I haven’t found a good independent local mechanic yet since my repairs have all been covered under warranty until now. Still, I can buy some good tires and replacement rims on Tirerack.com, but I want to know if the $636 estimate for the wheel bearing seems reasonable?
I’ve never had to replace a wheel bearing before, so I don’t know what is involved? Or how labor intensive it is. I remember repacking a few wheel bearings with my father, but they weren’t damaged. The dealer mechanic also suggested that they may find more damage to other suspension items when they try to align the wheel after. I still feel a bit like I’m being taken for a ride – and not in my car. Is replacing a wheel bearing something I can do myself?
I need some advice. I was especially put-off when they recommended I just file an insurance claim and have them pay the $2100. I did call my insurance company, but they say they don’t cover road hazard damages. (sigh)