Q: Can a poorly installed wheel bearing cause extensive damage when driven on?

asked by on December 02, 2016

I drive a Toyota Prius 2012 for reference. We had a wheel bearing replaced recently. A week or so later I heard strange noises coming from the same area of the car (front drivers side). We took it to a mechanic and he explained that there was extensive damage to the wheel: "Axle shaft leaking, steering knuckle, lower ball joint, lower control arm, front strut and wheel bearing all parts are damaged due to accident."

We haven't been in an accident or hit anything or been hit. The exterior of the car is fine. Could this much damage be the result of the wheel-bearing replacement? I drive about 121 miles a day, so the car has been driven quite a bit since the repair. Please advise.

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Hi there:

It’s highly unlikely that the installation of a wheel bearing causes mechanical damage that the mechanic has listed above. Typically those components (Axle shaft leaking, steering knuckle, lower ball joint, lower control arm, front strut) are not touched during a wheel bearing replacement. However, it is very possible that the diagnosis of damage due to accident is simply wear and tear, which tends to happen on Toyota Prius’ quite often and usually around 50,000 miles.

Hello there, many fault will cause the extensive damage to your wheel, axle shaft, steering knuckle, lower ball joint, lower control arm, front strut and wheel bearing of your 2012 Toyota Prius. This extent of damage is only typically seen on vehicle involved in an accident, or when a catastrophic failure occurs. It is possible that an improperly installed wheel bearing, or a faulty wheel bearing could cause this type of damage. Other possible causes are the CV axle, balljoint failure, or strut mount failure. A qualified Technician such as one from YourMechanic will be able to diagnose your wheel bearing issues and determine if they caused the damage or not.

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