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Car: 2013 Subaru Outback, 65k miles

Recently my SO hit a curb in the car (front-left wheel). After looking it over, it was obvious the control arm and inner tie rod would need to be replaced. I replaced the control arm myself (I made sure to tighten the bolts after the car had been lowered). I took the car into the shop to have the inner tie rod replaced and have the wheels aligned.

When I picked up the car, the shop told me the wheel bearing would also need to be replaced. I drove it for a few days and I did hear a whiring/grinding sound. I took it in and had the bearing replaced.

After I picked it up, there would sometimes be a slight creak coming from the wheel when I would brake or go over bumps. No consistency as to how hard I would need to break or how big the bump. It seemed random. The creaking has gotten a little worse over the past week. Now, it usually creaks as I apply or release the brake.

Originally, I thought that I might need to grease the control arm bolts. But now I suspect it has to do with (a) the wheel or brake rotor being warped from the collision, (b) the bearing not being tightened all the way, or (c) damage to the strut. I doubt it is (c) based on the sound, but I figure it is possible.

I will try tightening the bolts on the bearing, but assuming that doesn't fix it, does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

Edit: I should note that the creak is distinctly different than the wiring/grinding noise that the wheel bearing made before it was replaced.

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I ended up taking the car into the shop to get this fixed. It turned out I had left a control arm bolt loose.

On that topic, does anyone have any tips for properly tightening them down? It's pretty tight getting a wrench onto the bolt once the car is on the ground, and I thought I had tightened it down sufficiently (I should mention that I didn't have a torque wrench that went high enough for the bolt so I did it by feel).

  • You really need to get a torque wrench for that kind of stuff. Otherwise you will always just be guessing. You don't need an expensive torque wrench for this kind of stuff, the cheap stuff usually just overtightens. Also, in general, always go back and check your stuff to make sure its still tight after 50-100 miles. You may have torqued it correctly, but due to torque-to-yield bolt designs and possible contamination, stuff can loosen from vibration. – finleyarcher Mar 6 '18 at 21:20
  • I had a wheel off because of rust removal chemicals getting into a lug nut. It loosened two lug nuts to introduce a vibration that backed off the other two lug nuts. It was torqued to spec but that doesn't matter if there's any types of lubricants or chemicals affecting the torque. – finleyarcher Mar 6 '18 at 21:23

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