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Time to learn...teach me o wise one

So I helped my parents fix some things (New pads, wheel bearing, hub, cv axle passenger side) on their 99 Toyota Corolla. They then took it to a “trusted” longtime mechanic for an alignment. Well they told him go ahead and do anything else that could be needed. It took a while because he said the hub snap ring popped out of place and not sitting properly so he was waiting on a new snap ring. Well when they picked up the car the bill was for the alignment, labor, etc but also included new hub assembly, New bearings, new brake pads, as well as new rotors (prob needed em, but also a resurfacing or waiting until next change would be ok as well in my opinion) anyhow apparently when questioned he said the snap ring not in place caused the bearings to come out which then ruined the hub. My question is this. The vehicle was only driven maybe 20 miles (not far but of course I know even a mile can cause certain damage) so even if the snap ring popped out of place how likely is it that the bearings and hub would be damaged beyond use. I trust the mechanic but also this just seems fishy. Any insight would be appreciated. I don’t mind if I made a mistake in repairs but I’d like to learn from it if so. Thanks.

If the snap ring fell out, the bearing/hub flange were no longer being retained within the steering knuckle.

That would mean if the bearing/hub flange were able to move, and since the brake rotor is attached to the hub/flange, the brake rotor is also going to move.

And if the brake rotor is able to move, the brake rotor can damage the brake pads.

It doesn’t take long for a bearing that wasn’t installed correctly to destroy itself, along with anything else that’s attached to the bearing.


He is correct! Also, most bearing failures are due to over tightening of the axle nut and reusing the old nut.Torque wrench exist for that purpose.

I don’t think the snap ring ruined the bearing, I think it was the other way around. The reason the snap ring fell out was because the bearing went bad and did all the other damage.

If the OP returns I think he needs to politely tell the mechanic what he did and ask what he did wrong.

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No way to tell for certain via the internet of course, but I expect the mechanic is correct on all counts. If that snap ring isn’t placed securely, all that stuff should be replaced for safety-sakes, even if after just driving a short distance.

If that had happened to me my complaint would be that I’d prefer the mechanic had called me at the point they discovered the snap ring problem, and given me the opportunity to decide if I wanted to correct it in a diy’er way. The reason the shop didn’t offer that courtesy is b/c the instructions given by the car’s owner was “do anything else that could be needed”. Suggest in the future to avoid ambiguous work order wording like that when communicating with shops.

George . . .

No shop owner is going to tie up a rack, so that the owner of the car can come over and fix his boo-boo himself

If you do so, that rack is no longer earning money, and that’s just bad business


And then there’s the liability problem… :grin:


When a shop comes behind an obviously poor DIY job they can’t just clean up the messy details. The shop will be responsible for the safety of the vehicle related to everything they are involved with. Personally, I would likely have turned down the work due to the potential liability.

Sorry, wasn’t clear. I meant if the same thing had happened to me, I’d prefer that when the mechanic discovered the snap ring problem, the mechanic would phone me up, and give me the option of hiring a tow truck to tow the vehicle back to my driveway for diy’er repair.

How much would you expect to pay for such a service @GeorgeSanJose? And once a shop got deep enough into the problem to definitely determine the root cause they are facing a potentially dangerous situation just getting the car off the lift and onto a flat bed. Any damage that is recognized by the DIYer when he gets back under it can and likely would be blamed on the shop that ‘improperly’ reassembled it after inspection or ‘improplerly’ loaded it on the flatbed.

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[quote=“Rod_Knox, post:11, topic:105622”]
How much would you expect to pay for such a service? … [/quote]

It’s just another case of a fee for services, right? Not sure what the laws says, probably varies state to state, but in my opinion the car owner should always have the right to discontinue work being done at a shop at any time, pay the fee to that point, and immediately remove the car from the premises. If the shop is concerned that the owner might claim the shop damaged the car in the process, the shop can always require the owner sign a disclaimer.

We’ve been through this before . . .

When it comes down to it, some customers will outright deny signing a disclaimer, even going to far as to say the signature is a forgery.

And when it comes to small claims court, from what I understand, the judge often/usually sides with the customer, not the shop owner

From a legal standpoint, those disclaimers aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on

@db4690 … if the customer decides midway through a job they’d prefer to remove the car to their driveway and do it themselves, in your opinion do they have that right? Or do you think they must wait however long it takes until the shop finishes the job first?

The folks gave Carte Blanch to fix anything wrong. The mechanics did just that.
"Well they told him go ahead and do anything else that could be needed"

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Yes, you are right Barky, in the OP’s particular case the shop just did what they were instructed to do.

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You DO realize that the scenario you are describing would result in loss of productivity and revenue for the shop . . . ?!

Possibly. It depends on the circumstance. Common sense would be needed of course as to how to deal with the exact situation. The customer presumably would be required to pay for the work done to that point, and might well have to pay beyond that for the time it takes to get the car ready for the tow truck. But isn’t that the business model? How shops make money? Billing by the hour? True, the shop may not make as much on the job as they anticipated, but again they don’t have to spend as much shop time b/c they don’t have to finish the job. They’d just move in another customer’s car and continue. I don’t see how that would adversely affect the shop much.

Perhaps it is just the way I think of how I do business, but if my client wants me to stop what I’m doing, and return what I’m working on to them, other than being paid for the work I’ve already done, I have no complaints about that.

No doubt about it, whatsoever

In your scenario, the person on the losing end will be the shop owner and the mechanic(s)

I’ve run into this situation before, and the customer is usually completely inflexible, and will NOT pay a single penny to get the car ready to be towed

The shop owner invariably tells the mechanic to get the car put together again as quickly as possible, ready for the tow truck. And the customer is pretty much written off, so to speak. Meaning the shop owner would NOT like to do business with them again

And the mechanic, yeah, he’s also left holding the bag, because he typically won’t get paid for the time needed to put the car put back together, get it off his rack, get it pushed outside, ready for the tow truck, etc. And during this whole process, he’s watching the other guys mop up the gravy. And maybe once it’s outside, he’s supposed to wait for the tow truck, which is supposed to arrive any minute. And of course, the tow truck driver is also busy, and he arrives considerably later than he said he would. Guess who’s the big loser in all of this . . . NOT the customer

Untrue. They will stand up in court.

However, I can’t understand why someone would drop off a car for repair and half way through the repair decide to take it somewhere else. Doesn’t make sense to me unless there is some type of proof that the shop is not performing as expected. In that case, if I was the shop owner, I would tell the customer that the car will be put back together and he/she will be charged time/material for the work done. The “paid” invoice will have a note that customers insisted to take the car as is and whether it is deemed unsafe. If the customer refuses to pay, I keep the car until the work is paid. If not paid I get a mechanics lien and follow state laws to make it mine.