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Wheel Bearing Hub replacement

Had a wheel bearing replacement done by local shop. They also replaced steering rack. I pay the bill take it for a test drive. Hear metal to metal scraping.

I take it back. They admit they did not do a test drive. They adjust the backing plate and tell me all is well. I now take it for a highway test drive and when braking at 55mph, steering wheel shakes a lot. I take it back again, tell them I had pads and rotors replaced 22,000 miles ago and have not had any braking issues.

They give me back the car the next day, the owner of the shop who is a mechanic said he replaced the rotors for free, parts and labor. He said my previous rotors were defective. Very generous on his part, my repair bill was $975

My question - Did the mechanic who worked on the car possibly damage the rotor during his wheel bearing repair work or as the owner said, my previous rotor just went haywire overnight ?

Sorry…but at 14 paragraphs I lose interest at about the third paragraph. What was your question again?

I am the original poster I shortened the original post, would like to hear opinions from this forum if you have any insights. Thanks !

At this point even if the car were examined it would be difficult if not impossible to determine the specific causes of the problems that occurred when test driving after the repairs but it is certainly very likely that faulty work by the shop was the cause. I would suggest that the car be taken to another shop ASAP for an inspection to determine if everything is in order.

I wouldn’t be going back there

Throwing parts at a car without even bothering to verify the repair is just bad

Had they done that, they would have heard the noise

As for the warped rotors, I wonder if somebody actually dropped one or both of them, when they were replacing that bearing. Because you generally have to remove rotors, if you’re going to replace a bearing

When replacing a steering rack, it’s typical to also replace the outer tie rods. A backing plate can quickly get bent doing that, but it’s easy to see it and straighten it out.

The goal is to fix the car right the first time

With some cars rotors are more prone to warpage with lugnuts with impact wrenches. No way to tell cause and effect, but you are happy and the end of the day?

My guess is the problem occurred after the call back.

No test drive, missed bent backing plate. Not good reflection on shop. Manager is ticked at mechanic.
Now mechanic has to do call back work on his dime.
Lug nuts get rattled down at 500 ft/lbs as quickly as possible (not in star pattern).
Now they do test drive and get a little aggressive either out of anger or just to be sure there isn’t another call back.
Your rotors are at least half worn to begin with. It doesn’t take much to push them over the edge…

They could have easily charged you for some or all of the repair. The comp work is a decent reflection on the shop’s desire to retain your business.

“The comp work is a decent reflection on the shop’s desire to retain your business.”

It is . . . but the shop in all likelihood was the one that bent the backing plate, and they fessed up to not doing a “post repair” test drive. They would have quickly heard the noise, racked the car, saw the bent backing plate, straightened it. Another quick drive around the block would have confirmed the noise is now gone.

sloppy work practices

It’s possible the warped rotors are a coincidence, having nothing to do with the shop, or the symptoms were there but masked by the other problems. But if there was no symptoms at all like this during braking before the repair, unlikely. But it sounds like the manager there agreed a shop mistake could have caused the rotor problem, and fixed it for free. I say good on them.

If this is a chain auto repair shop, suggest to seek out a well recommended local independent shop for future repairs. If this is a well recommended inde shop, have a chat with the manager or owner there telling him in a friendly way the level of professional service you expect, especially that all repairs be road tested before the car is returned to you, even if it takes you another day to get the car.

that is why I go on a pre-repair road trip, AND a post-repair road trip

On both trips, I go on bad roads AND on the freeway. And I make sure to step on the brake pedal on the freeway. That usually causes warped rotors to rear their ugly head, and on the flip side, it also verifies the repair

Just my 2 cents, but I think that a shop should verify every repair upon completion. That can be done by the shop foreman, service writer, etc.
If someone has a complaint about a vibration at 65 MPH then it should be driven at 65 MPH to verify that the problem was solved.

The one downside to that of course is that it eats up time which is the flat rate mechanic’s best friend or worst enemy; all depending. Road tests fall under the worst part of that by shrinking the paycheck.

I’m the original poster,I appreciate all the comments and feedback. For some clarification, there were no braking issues or steering wheel vibrations before the repair as I drove and braked the car over the 4th of July weekend before giving it to them July 5th They are an independent shop with a pretty good reputation. My last Q&A was with the owner who is also the head mechanic. He was the one that admitted they did not do any post repair test drive and he had to admit they had to bend back the backing plate as I was the one who found that in my first post repair test drive on a local road

I understand things happen, but I would think if my rotors were warped before giving it to the local shop for repair, I would have heard or seen some sign or signal when braking ?

Yes, if the rotor’s were warped, you would have felt at least a slight pulsing of the brake pedal when braking.

It’s not hard to accidentally bend a backing plate, but that should have been caught before the car was lowered on the lift.

I recently bent one while replacing a lower control arm, but I caught it as soon as I mounted the tire and tried to spin the wheel. Pulled the wheel back off and bent the plate back and it was good to go.

I wouldn’t fault this shop too bad. They did make it right at no extra charge. Thought it is a headache to have to bring the car back.



That’s why I posted this before the positive note about them comping-

No test drive, missed bent backing plate. Not good reflection on shop. Manager is ticked at mechanic. Now mechanic has to do call back work on his dime.

Simply over-tightening the lug nuts during the final putting-things-back together job could warp the rotors, especially if they were a little thin from wear to begin with. Sometimes the mechanic will try to hurry things up b/c the jobs are running late, people are expecting their cars done on the schedule promised, and something like that can be the result. Suggest to let your shop manager know you prefer a car with the job done correctly start to finish and delivered later than promised, to one delivered on time but with a problem.

This is a pretty common problem. Whenever I have work done at a shop involving wheel lug nuts, the first thing I do is bring the car back to my driveway, jack it up one wheel at a time, and for each wheel loosen all the lug nuts, then re-tighten them by hand (in the correct tightening pattern) with a torque wrench in 3 stages, 1/3 of the final torque, 2/3 of the final torque, and the full final torque. Most car owners don’t want to do this, understandably. But if you tell your shop you are willing to pay extra for this service, they’ll probably be happy to do it for you.

Original poster again, appreciate the feedback. For GeorgeSanJose, I actually did what you suggested - left them the car on July 5 at 10am and told them to take their time, whenever they are done call me. Their shop was 1 mile from my apt so it was an easy walk home and I did not need the car. I told them all this. This was my first time at their shop, so I had to do some basic first time customer info.

Considering they had no time pressures… they did a steering rack, changed the wheel bearing hubs on both the front and rear passenger side, and with all the brake removal and re-assembly work involved … for that mechanic not to do a post repair test drive ? I have to believe most mechanics would say for the amount of work involved, not doing a post repair test drive is inexcusable. The irony here is the mechanic who did the work did a pre-repair test drive on July 2nd. It was a local road test drive, and I am sure he would have mentioned any braking issues.
I drove the car local and highway July 3 and July 4 with no issues other than the wheel bearing noise. Gave them the car July 5 in the morning.

As I stated, I do give the owner mechanic credit for replacing the rotors. But the majority of the feedback on this forum ( and others I have asked personally ) tend to think that the owner did that because his mechanic was at fault. Yet when I asked the owner directly, I am told my rotors were defective before the repair. Protecting your employees as a boss is important. I have a hard time believing his explanation because there is no real time frame for the rotor to go haywire as he suggests. Not a great customer experience for a 1st time repair.

A flake of rust sitting unnoticed on the inside of the rotor when he put it on the new hub could have the same effect as a warped rotor. That’s still no excuse.

In my opinion , considering the work that was done to your car , there is absolutely no reasonable excuse for not doing an after repair test drive .