Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sounds like Shop Made Dangerous Mistake

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sounds like Shop Made Dangerous Mistake

Article excerpt

Dear Car Talk:

On Friday, I heard a horrible grinding coming from the right rear wheel of my 2000 Subaru Impreza, along with a feeling of a flat tire. At the time, I was going 65 mph on the New Jersey Turnpike. It wasn't a flat; it appeared as if the top of the wheel was leaning in toward the car. After being towed to a nearby shop, I was told that the wheel bearing needed to be replaced; however, only a month and a half earlier, I thought it had been replaced! When my car was inspected, my local service center said the right rear wheel bearing needed to be replaced in order to pass. Nearly $400 and, supposedly, a new wheel bearing later, they gave me an inspection sticker. When I told the New Jersey service center about this, they said it absolutely could not have been replaced, because the rust buildup showed it has never been opened. They estimated $550 to fix it, which included extra time to get through the rust. After three hours, they gave up (charging me $0), and I had the car towed to the local Subaru dealer, who also insisted that the wheel bearing had not been replaced.

The dealer is estimating over $1,300 in repairs, because it will have to cut it out due to the significant rust. The original place that inspected the car insists that it replaced the wheel bearing: "If we charged you, we did it." He said the only way for him to check it out is to get the car to him. That would mean an hour-long tow, which is out of the question. My original receipt says "Right Rear Axle Bearing, $116 parts + $262 labor + tax." I double-checked that they didn't work on another wheel by accident. Do I have any way to prove who is correct, and if the part wasn't replaced originally, what kind of recourse do I have? I've taken photos, and the dealer is saving all the parts he takes off the vehicle. Thanks! -- Pam

You're very lucky, Pam. And that original shop is very lucky, too. When a wheel bearing breaks, the wheel can come off entirely. …

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