Subaru Left Axel Replacement?!?!?

OK - I have a Subaru Outback '05 with 123,000 miles on it. In the past 12 months, I have replaced the CV boot and both the front and rear wheel bearings. In replacing the CV boot, I was hoping to avoid replacing the axle but I still have this clanking, knocking noise coming from the left side…especially when turning to the left, when it is cold outside and at slower speeds. I sucked it up yesterday, called my auto mechanic and told him it is time…he searched around and all he could find was ‘new’ and it will cost me $760.00!!! Do I have to replace it?!? Will my car just collapse on the side of the road (or, worse yet, in the middle of the road) as I drive my daughter to and fro??? What do I do??? I just started a new job 4 weeks ago so cannot really afford this kind of ‘nonsense’. I love my Subaru but do I really want to put $760.00 into a car with 123,000 miles on it!!! Ugh!!!

Even needing to replace ONE wheel bearing is unusual, in todays’ vehicles. They just don’t fail that often.
I don’t know where your mechanic hasn’t been looking for parts; but, it’s apparent that he did NOT look at Auto Zone (or, Advance, etc.) where the axel (“halfshaft”) is $69.99. For the price he quoted, you could mailorder a halfshaft from a parts supplier, and save a bundle.

Due to a higher failure rate of “rebuilt” CV shafts, many shops simply won’t go that route. Find a shop that will if you are willing to take that bet. I’ve had to re-replace maybe half a dozen AZ shafts. I think some “rebuilders” idea of “rebuilt” is to replace the boots and pack them with grease.

If the CV joint is clicking, it must be replaced. No amount of re-greasing is going to fix a clicking CV joint.

However, that price for a new axle assembly is INSANE!!! However, even my factory direct suppliers seem to be out of axle assemblies for that car. That alone is also CRAZY!!! Shop around some more. I found a remanufactured one at for $69.99, but it must be special ordered.

Driving around on it much longer should not be considered. Once the CV joint fails, you’ll be stranded. The differential sends power to each wheel equally, but if the joint fails, there will be no power to the left side, and therefore no power to the right side. It could also damage the wheel hub and transmission case as it bangs around and gets dragged before you stop, causing more expensive damage.

Your lamenting about a 5 year old car with 123,000 miles on it. I’m willing to bet that most of those miles are probably highway. If so, there is a TON of life left in this car. Highway miles are the easiest on today’s cars, and cause a lot less wear and tear than you think. I also hit 125,000 within 5 years of owning my pick-up, due to a lot of traveling. I kept the truck, and, until a retaining wall had other ideas, it hit 325,000 in 15 years with only a head gasket repair, other than scheduled maintenance.

I suppose there is a lot unsaid about what has been done to the car and why. But I really think that you might want to think about a different mechanic. A local, independent with a good reputation.

First is the replacement of all wheel bearings - as hellokit said, not impossible but pretty weird. It sounds, perhaps, like replacing parts as a way to diagnose problems.

Second, anyone who would replace a CV boot in response to noise like this should be ashamed of him/herself - or at least offer you a ride on their boat since you are making the payments. FYI - replacement of CV boots alone these days is rare since by the time you’re done wit labor it has cost more than just putting in a new axle. Also, as BustedKnuckles noted this doesn’t and can’t fix an axle problem. It is purely preventative.

Anyway…I would get another mechanic to look at it. I don’t think that your current one is serving you well. If you do end up needing this mechanic to do it, tell him/her that you are going to buy the part and bring it. If s/he doesn’t go for it, all the more reason to find someone else.