Should I be concerned?

malibu
chevrolet

#1

Hello! My children drive a 2009 Chevy Malibu that their grandmother left them when she passed. My son was driving it about 2 months ago, took a left hand turn, mid turn he lost control of vehicle, went to right up embankment, then down and across road and nosedive landing onto median. Thoughts from collision/insurance guys…Right front wheel bearing broke, snapping the drive axel, causing the loss of control. My son did not hit anything, and car was driving perfect up until the accident. One car accident (thank God). So, collision place had car doing repairs, including suspension for 28 days. Over $7500 worth of repairs! We got the vehicle back and 1 1/2 weeks later we were driving on highway and kept getting kicked off of cruise control w/warning message on dash “Service Traction”/ “service ECS”. Then next day started getting ABS light appearing on and off. Took it to local Chevy dealer (been burned too many times/wanted to get 2nd/unbiased opinion before taking it back to collision place) Was told “external cover of right front bearing was missing” Later-after he spoke w/insurance rep, I was told he never said that and that he said (never said )the internal sensor went bad in the bearing (wheel speed sensor). They replaced part(entire right bearing) before speaking to me. Went to collision place because car was not driving smooth and questioned bearing being bad so quick. Got 3rd opinion(my mechanic) who found spliced wires in harness that plugs into wheel bearing sensor. He replaced the harness and gave me old part for proof. Collision place states they would have no reason to even look at those wires(despite all of the repairs they did). still driving weird. took back to my mechanic, cambers are out in front tires. QUESTION… Do I just have really bad luck/karma with cars, or would you say the collision place did not do a good job. Alignment/suspension was just done 2 1/2 weeks before problems w/cambers. ???


#2

Without knowing all of the exact details about parts replacement and what was found wrong, I will just say that when the camber is off it’s usually due to something being bent; subframe , strut tower, or other part of the chassis. That’s all assuming the obvious suspects such as control arms and whatnot have been replaced also.

Regarding the wiring, that can be a problem with bodywork sometimes. Many bodyshop people have knowledge confined to panel straightening or replacement and shooting paint and little understanding of the mechanical underpinnings and electrics.

At 7500 in repairs and counting the best option may have been to just total the car out and move on. It varies by state but here in OK if the repair costs meet or exceed 60% of the car’s value (not the retail price) then it can be declared a total.


#3

As a professional mechanic, I’ve seen a lot of cars that were recently at a body shop. A common scenario is the body is now straight again, the damage is repaired, but various little things aren’t working.

My personal experience is that some body shops are better than others, and some body guys are better than others

In my opinion, it’s highly likely that the inspector did not realize the extent of the damage

It’s also quite possible that the bearing was installed incorrectly, and a lousy wiring repair was performed

it’s also possible the guy doing the actual repairs did not realize that a subframe, spindle, etc. was bent

Here’s another ugly possibility . . . it’s possible the body guy doing the repairs wanted to do the job correctly, but was instructed to get the job done as quickly as possible, because of time constraints, or maybe there simply “wasn’t enough money on the table” for a proper repair

No offense intended to any body guys reading this

I’m a mechanic, and I know damn well there are some incompetent and shady mechanics out there.
I’ve worked with enough of them to know.

Unfortunately, every business has its bad apples