I have a 2003 Impala and on Monday I took it in to have the driver side lower control arm replaced because another shop I had the car at said the bushings were going and needed to be replaced, I had the passenger side done about a month back. Well after they get it up on the rack they state that yes while the driver side bushings were going to need to be replaced at some point, I had a bigger problem with the Wheel Bearing and Tie rod being in worse shape. So they suggested to replace those first and then address the control arm. So exactly what does a wheel baring do and a tie rod? I have both replaced and they even aligned the car for free (since I didn’t okay it) for about $450. Does this sound reasonable and what do those two things do for the car and what happens if they go bad?
The wheel bearing allows the wheel to turn. The tie rod holds the wheel in place. Both of these are major safety concerns. If you have the money I would do all of them. If not, do as the shop recommends.
I had both the bearing and tie rod replaced, I will be going back in a month or so to have the control arm replaced. How do you know from driving that your tie rod/bearing is going bad?
You don’t know from driving unless you feel extra play in the steering. The wheel bearing will get noisy but it may take a while to hear. The play that shows they are worn out will be evident when the mechanic has the front end in the air and pushes in and out on the top and bottom of the wheel for the bearing, and side to side for the tie rod. Both are very dangerous if they fail. The bearing could make a wheel come off and the tie rod would make the car not steer.
I am kinda surprised the other shop who did the initial inspection didn’t pickup on those two issues and only said the issue was the bushings and a lower control arm was needed. Now I have new wheel barings and tie rods on both front tires so should be good for a while, now just have to save up for the lower control arm and back braks.