Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for mechanics and DIY enthusiast owners of cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I had my tires (all four) replaced recently, and had an alignment done at the same time. Soon after I noticed a slight "warble" coming from one of the rear wheels.
Update: I was in the waiting room while the work was being performed so I'm fairly certain the car didn't fall off the lift or anything like that. And the mechanic in question was not a new hire.

I thought maybe the tire was misbalanced or the alignment wasn't quite right, so I mentioned it when I next took the vehicle in to have the oil changed. They're telling me the noise is from a bad bearing.

... which I suppose is possible. But it begs the question, why did the noise start after replacing the tire? (Put another way, why didn't I hear any noise from the bad bearing before I had the tires replaced?) And several co-workers have since shared similar experiences (at different shops).

So I'm wondering: is it possible for a bearing to be damaged by routine work such as a tire/brake maintenance? Or is it possible that before the tire replacement the old tire was somehow "masking" the problem (and how)? Or is this just a coincidence?

The vehicle in question is a 2004 Honda Odyssey if that makes any difference.

I should also note that the shop in question is one which I've used for a number of years. The owner sold the business 1-2 years ago because he could no longer afford health care for his employees; the staff has mostly remained the same (other than normal turnover), but I don't trust the new management nearly as much as the former owner.

share|improve this question
1  
Using the words of one of the mechanics I use: "sometimes stuff show up when you put new shoes" – Erik vanDoren Mar 24 at 14:36
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I've had this issue with cars fixed at my past shops. The old tires would mask the sound of the wheel bearing starting to go bad. New tires would suddenly make the sound stand out. Old tires can also affect the wheel bearing if their wear is uneven. They could put uneven pressure on the bearing as the tire rotates.

Could the shop have done it?

There is a slight slight slight chance that they might have warped the hub by over-torquing the wheel nuts. But this is very unlikely and lugs tend to break off before this happens.

Go ahead and replace the bearing and move on. This is a safety issue. Afterwards, ask around and find a mechanic you can trust.

share|improve this answer
2  
Old worn tires are known for making a lot of noise, which could have masked things as well. I've been amazed when I've thrown new tires on and realize how noisy the old ones were. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 24 at 21:12

It might not be the tires so much as the alignment. If the bearing was worn but had "gotten settled" in a particular orientation, it might not have been noisy. Then you changed the alignment and started stressing it slightly differently, and now it's gotten loud. I wouldn't be too quick to blame the mechanic.

share|improve this answer

This is a bit of a difficult question to answer over the internet because none of us can physically be there to observe the symptoms you're describing. However though, cars are just like any other man made functional device used on a daily basis. You could go in for an oil change and your piston rod bearing could fail. Is this the lube shop's fault? There is no way to tell unless you're a skilled technician that can find scientific evidence. Your statements are anecdotal.

I can tell you this from personal experience. I've seen guys handle tires rough and sometimes when new management gets involved shops hire people out of desperation and they aren't always skilled. I do know, that van had some wheel bearing issues and a few other problems with CV axles. I worked at Honda for quite some time and wheel bearings were a recurring issue.

To answer your core question, I've never personally seen a wheel bearing damaged by routine maintenance. That's not to say something couldn't have happened while doing the repair. I've worked in a few places and have seen cars dropped off of lifts, catch on fire, and damaged because of poor workmanship. Don't assume they didn't do something wrong. The last thing a shop will do is own up to their mistakes if they think they can get away with it. Take it somewhere else, don't tell them what the other shop said and let them give you a conclusive answer.

If you tell them about your previous experience they may agree just to rope you into a job. That wheel bearing isn't cheap. If you made a video and asked an additional question with good audio, maybe some of could help you more.

share|improve this answer
    
I was in the waiting area while the work was being done so I'm pretty sure the car wasn't dropped or anything like that. Also, the mechanic who performed this particular job is one who had been employed at this shop for some time. All good points though; I've updated the question accordingly. – David Mar 24 at 13:26
    
Yes I realize this is anecdotal; I just wondered whether it was possible that there was a correlation. It didn't seem to me as though a bearing (which I'm assuming is made of steel or similar alloy) could be damaged in this way, but I am by no means an expert which is why I asked. – David Mar 24 at 13:31
    
Ah of-course. I was not trying to be rude or anything just rather suggesting possible solutions from my perspective. Given that you trust the technician and observed them do the work. I would assume that this would be a coincidence. I would still however get a 2nd opinion. As I said the wheel bearings on those are quite a problem, and two people saying the same thing is just more compounded evidence to your concern. – cloudnyn3 Mar 24 at 13:39

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.