Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Was this a fair cost to replace front bearing

This past weekend I had my 2002 Kia Sedona in to have the front passenger side wheel bearing replaced. I have not had this type of work done before and not sure if the total cost of $208 is a fair price. The break down was $73 for the bearing and $130 in labor. This is the first time I have had major work done on my van at this place, and I am considering staying with them, if price wise they are fair, as work wise everything seems to be good now with no more sound and they also checked my brakes and other wheel bearings also.

I would say this was a fair price for having this work done. The front bearings in your Sedona must be pressed out and in once the steering knuckle is removed from the vehicle. In some cases, one or more of the races stay behind and must be carefully sliced out with a cutting torch. You got a fair price.

Today, the design of front wheel bearings varies greatly. Some are simple and inexpensive to replace and some require much more work…Yours is one of the more difficult designs. You did okay…

I think everything associated with the “Kia” motor group is involved and difficult as I am finding out…

If this was a press-in bearing as others have suggested, you got a very good price, IMO.

A rip-off would be the $480 a Ford dealer wanted from me once when a bearing on my old Taurus needed replacement (my fault, NOT the car’s). $400 of that was labor… and that part was a bolt-in part that took me barely an hour to change myself with hand tools, even though I had never swapped a bearing before.

Having changed the bearings myself in my Ford Escorts, I’d say if the Kia is anything similar the price was reasonable. $75-125 an hour labor rates which are common in most areas of the US make even simple repairs very costly.

The labor was for two hours…they charge $65 per hour. They left the old bearing for me, it’s just a very large silver cylinder that is greasy from what I can see.

Two hours is about right. A skilled mechanic might be able to get it done quicker (maybe an hour and a half or so), but still deserves their pay.

The biggest rip-off I ever saw was a Chevy dealer quote a friend of mine over a grand to replace a fuel pump in a late '90s Cavalier. They wanted $300 for the part and $700 for labor. He had me change it out for him, and it took me about three hours, including a trip to the nearest auto parts store 15 miles away to get additional needed parts we did not have on hand. How this adds up to $700 labor is beyond me.

In what part of the country are you located? That price is actually quite low for my area for a well-equipped shop. We are an independent “corner garage” operation and labor here approaches $100/hour, dealers are $120+. Here the bearing would have been 73.66 and labor $180. Sounds like you got a good deal.

But be wary of labor rates that are significantly lower than others. It may mean that the shop skimps on technical equipment and mechanic’s pay.

I am here in Indianapolis. The shop I went to did me right in an emergency case a few months back and charged my sister a good rate to fix a brake problem and they have good reviews on the sites I checked out. I thought $65 an hour was a bit high but then again I have no clue what a fair hourly repair/labor rate is…

The price was more than fair.

I think the price was fair. Mechanics do have to make a living.
Many years ago, my dad and his dad were going on a 200 mile fishing trip in a Model T Ford. They had the Model T serviced before they left home. However, the mechanic had forgotten to regrease a front wheel bearing. The bearing froze on the shaft about 100 miles into the trip. A local mechanic had to pound the bearing off the shaft, grease it and put it back together. He spent 3 hours on the job. When he looked in his book about the charge he said, “Well, it doesn’t seem right, but the book says the charge is 50 cents”. That is what my dad and grandpa paid. Of course, this was 90 years ago.

$65/ hour is on the low end of labor costs for mechanics nationally. That’s really nothing to get upset about. You have to remember that the $65/hr covers:

Equipment (NOT cheap)

When you consider all these fixed costs and overhead costs, the mechanic themselves is making far less than $65 per hour. In fact, they’re getting paid about $18.21 per hour on average. That other stuff boosts the cost significantly, and the shop owner will still want to make a profit. At $65/hr, they aren’t likely making much of a margin.

Well I also assume that they also make money off the parts. The part cost for me was $73, when I looked online via say Autozone I found the exact same part for between $19.99 and $30, so they made money off the part also.

Well, I wouldn’t assume that the part is really the same part. It may be a wheel bearing from either place, but the bearing manufacturer may be different as well as quality, etc. The shop won’t want to buy a part that they don’t trust because that leads to unhappy customers and warranty costs for them if they have to redo their work. They’re generally going to try to find reliable parts and they’re going to mark them up to cover their costs for retrieving the part or having it delivered, as well as for the inevitable case that crops up now and then when they have to send the part back for a slightly different one

. For example, a local shop I used to replace a lower control arm once charged me $170 for the arm when Autozone sold a similar part for $120. $50 profit, right? Not so fast. The one from Autozone had a 1 year parts warranty, whereas the one the shop used had a lifetime parts warranty, and they threw in a lifetime labor warranty as well. I paid for both of those warranties in that $50 increase in cost. The shop bought a part that they believed minimized the odds of having to do the work again, and then passed that cost on to me plus a little something extra to cover the odds that they were going to have to do the labor for free again later. That may end up being profit on YOUR job in that case, but someone else may need the work redone, and they’re going to cover their costs for that case by charging everyone a bit extra. So while the part looked like it was more expensive than at the parts store, it really wasn’t profit to the shop. They simply bought a better part and charged me for it and for the warranty cost.

Yes, mechanics do usually mark up parts. Although $65. an hour sounds expensive to you as far as mechanics go this is a reasonable charge. Some areas of the country dealerships charge $125. an hour or more. The wheel bearing is a small piece, but on most cars it involves quite a bit of work to remove and put in the new one. Last wheel bearing I put in I did all the work except for having the old bearing pressed out of the hub and pressing in the new one. Price for bearing and pressing the bearing with me doing all the other work was about $50-$60 I think, but my labor was free and there wasn’t shop mark up on the part.

Not a really bad price. Time does cost and stripping the hub down in the front is more work. About average as a price is my geuss.

Sixty-five an hour may sound pricy but it’s really not. That 65 dollar pie gets sliced up a lot of ways and when the smoke clears it’s not as much as it may appear to be.
The labor rates in my part of the country are on the lower end of the scale and a local full service gas station even raised their rates to 65 an hour several years ago.