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Wheel bearing, bent axle

My wife’s Suburu Outback went to the local dealer just a week before Christmas. We had a rather loud noise coming from the right rear. The dealer diagnosed a worn wheel bearing as expected and set out to replace it.

After a couple days, they confessed that in trying to (I believe I remember this correctly) remove the axle to replace the wheel bearing, they had bent a backing plate that is located behind the wheel. Apparently this backing plate was frozen in and they bent it as they tried to pull it out. I picture large hammers, etc.

After a few more days, they returned the car and all seemed well.

Friday, just a few weeks after the repair, my wife reported that she was hearing a strange noise from the right rear. I drove it and took it straight to the dealer. They investigated and report a bent right rear axle.

They want $500+ to repair. My wife has only driven maybe 200 miles since then, from our suburban house to work and a few local stores. No curbs hit, no other explanation for a bent axle.

I find it too much of a coincidence and believe the dealer bent the axle during their difficulties with the wheel bearing and backing plate.

Does anyone agree or disagree? Any advice on how to negotiate with the dealer? Thanks.

Axles don’t just bend by themselves.

You didn’t tell us how old your wife’s Outback is, or how many miles are on it. These things are nice to know, and may make a difference in how we respond. Please enlighten us.

Without this information, I can only say; at least they told you they damaged the backing plate. This does not require large hammers. The backing plate is sheet metal, and can be bent quite easily by hand.

The axle, on the other hand is another matter.

Why did you “expect” the dealer to diagnose a bad wheel bearing in the right rear? Is it possible that the axle was bent some time ago, and contributed, in some way, to the bearing failure?

I conclude the car is disassembled, If not you could follow and observe,a bent axel would be obvious.

What bothers me is that a bent axle is not necessairly noisy.

Did these guys botch the bearing replacement and now they are trying to get out of it by claiming “bent axle” just a thought,maybe you can take the bent axle diagnosis a little further,like telling them to put it back together and do the drive/observation test.

Don’t let the bent backing plate get you off target,these are easily bent and easily straightened.

Your senses are telling you things are not right,listen to your senses.

Is All Wheel Drive really worth all this grief?? If dealers can’t properly repair the cars they sell, WHO CAN REPAIR THEM??? Who needs cars like this??

It is a 2000, 79000 miles.

On the original wheel bearing, I’m not much of a car guy, but the noise was that growling sound that I’ve heard related to a wheel bearing.

Your comments really make me wonder. The noise that sent us back was not very loud. You didn’t hear it at speed, just when the car was slowing to a stop and all was quiet, you could just hear a sort of grating sound on each wheel revolution. The original sound that prompted the wheel bearing repair was a constant loud growl that could be heard at any speed.