I started this thread with my road noise complaint. I've been using the same independent MB shop for the last few years. I have always been impressed by their work. The shop is spotless. The owner spent 30 minutes walking me through the entire place after they closed up one night when I firsst started taking my car there. He pretty proud of the place.
Anyways...I took my mistress in for a lube/oil/filter today and also talked about the road noise with him. (I have been gone for a week but my wife was driving the car while I was away, and I noticed the noise had diminshed a fair bit in the last week.) I suggested he check the wheel bearings. He said they would put it on the rack and take a close look. He returned about 30 minutes later after the oil change and said the wheel bearings looked pretty bad and really needed immediate attention.
He had all my maintenence records in hand while talking with me and pointed out that they had repacked the front wheel bearings about 16 months ago when the brake rotors were replaced, and they should not have deteriorated in such a short time. He didn't know if materials failed or they missed something before, or didn't repack them right. (These guys do top quality work.) He offered to do the work at reduced cost and said it would be about 5 hours before I could get the car back. This was a problem because I had to pick up my kids in that time frame, so he offered me the free use of his personal MB until mine was done.
On picking up the car he said there would be no charge for any labor. He installed a full wheel bearing kit on both front wheels. I paid for the parts. We talked a bunch about things, and I never felt for a second they were to blame for anything. He was concerned about having a happy client. I've spent about $1500-$2000 with him in the last few years. It cost him about $150 in labor, but it will keep me coming there.
The car rides like a dream (again) and is as quite as a mouse.