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Q: I was told by a Honda Dealer that the axle seals must be replaced in the front. I want to get a second opinion.

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Recently i went for a safety inspection and was told by the Honda dealer that i need to get the front axle seals replaced. They said it would be around $800 in total. I just want to get a second opinion from another mechanic but dont know what to ask them to inspect without giving them a clue directly about the axle seal. Can i ask them to check my brakes? Would that also make them check the axle seals? Please recommend. Thank you!

My car has 79000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: The axle seals are pressed into the transax...

The axle seals are pressed into the transaxle case and their purpose is simply to keep the transmission fluid from leaking out of the transmission (and keep dirt and water out of the transmission, too, of course). There is an axle seal on the left and a seal on the right, so two altogether. The seals themselves are very inexpensive, typically costing anywhere from $5 to $25, depending on whether you buy them on Ebay or the dealer (genuine OEM dealer parts are recommended). Although the sealing surface on the seal is made of rubber, it would be unusual for these seals to have failed, that is leaked, on a 4 year old car with only 79,000 miles. It would be even more unusual, indeed statistically improbable, for BOTH (left and right) seals to have failed at the same time. So, your case presents as a bit of a mystery. Failure of seals of this type will evidence themselves as an external leak of transmission fluid and there will be clear, visible, unmistakable evidence of the leak, if they are leaking. What you could have done at the Honda dealer, once they alleged a seal failure, was told the Mechanic, "show me", "show me the leak". If they won’t, or can’t, show you externally visible evidence of a leak then, quite simply, you don’t have a leak. Sometimes, by the way, to deal with an unexpected question like, "show me", they’ll tell you they can’t "due to insurance regulations" preventing you from entering the shop. "Insurance regulations", translated into English, means that there’s no leak on your car.

A leak of this type, if it exists, is important though and has to be fixed so this should be resolved. You could go back to the dealer and simply ask them to show you the leak evidence, on your car, so that you can gain an understanding of exactly what is going on. If they do not indulge you immediately and show and explain everything to your satisfaction, you got your answer right there: that is not a professional shop out to help YOU and indeed you may not even have a leak. The point is to resolve this, you need to see the leak before you make a decision. YourMechanic can look at the vehicle and see if there is evidence of a leak. And, if you do have a leak, regarding the cost to install new seals, you might want to get a second opinion as well, again something YourMechanic can assist you with. As noted at the outset, the cost of these seals is frankly trivial. It is really the labor cost to get to those seals which is material. As you may know, YourMechanic dispatches mobile mechanics, who have the same (or better) certifications that the Mechanics in the shops have but almost none of the overhead. Consequently, for a seal replacement of this type, if it turns out that you need it, the savings might be substantial. As you explore your options, if you have further concerns or questions, by all means please feel free to recontact us.

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