Wheel bearings can be swapped out. You’ll need a few tools: a lug wrench, ratchet, jack, jack stands, and a socket set. The make and model of your vehicle will decide if you’ll need a hammer, breaker bar, bearing puller, or torque wrench too.
Let’s go over each tool in more depth:
Socket sets are handy when replacing wheel bearings. They come in many sizes and have a square drive or a butterfly handle/ratchet. Socket sets also have extra tools like extensions and universal joints to access hard-to-reach places.
It’s essential to get the right size set to fit your Car. A 1/4″, 3/8″, and possibly 1/2-inch metric socket set is best for wheel bearing replacements. Quality tools are essential, too – bad ones can break and leave you stranded!
Floor jacks are essential for replacing wheel bearings. You must safely lift the vehicle off the ground to access the wheel and components. Working on an unstable or elevated vehicle increases your and your car’s risk.
A few things to consider:
- Secure the jack near a designated lifting point.
- Ensure you have enough height clearance to fit your arms under the Car.
- Never put too much pressure while pumping the handle.
- Use chocks or wheel blocks to hold up your vehicle while it’s elevated.
The best type of floor jack is either one with wheels or a hydraulic floor jack with adjustable arms. Choose one with a minimum of two tonnes capacity for stable support.
Jack stands are a must-have when doing wheel-bearing replacements. Different types exist, but you’ll need adjustable ones with a min—height of 14 inches (36 cm). Read the instructions for details.
When positioning the stands, it’s important to be stable and able to work without obstruction. Find secure areas under the Car, such as frame rails. Set the parking brake before raising the stands. Some cars become unstable even at low heights, so be careful.
A bearing press is a great way to replace wheel bearings. It helps to safely remove the old paths and fit new ones without causing damage. This press has a plate with many holes, each designed for a specific bearing size. You can attach the container to the axle shaft with bolts, clamps, or manual hand pressure. Special tools are used to fit the new bearing onto the axle shaft.
The bearing press can also remove bearings from large parts, like pulleys and gears. When replacing wheel bearings, it is essential to use a bearing press. This helps to ensure accuracy and strength and that there won’t be any gaps between the axle shaft and the wheel hub. Otherwise, you could experience excessive play when driving.
Removing the Old Wheel Bearings
Replacing wheel bearings is something everyone can do! To start, you will need a few tools and some knowledge. Then, it’s simple to remove the old ones. Here’s how:
- Get the right tools and know-how.
- Then, drag the old wheel bearings. Easy peasy!
Loosen the lug nuts
Loosen the lug nuts with a ratchet and socket set to replace car wheel bearings. Raise and block the vehicle with a car jack for safety. Never work under an unsupported vehicle, and don’t over-tighten the nuts.
Using your hands/pry bar, remove the tire from the wheel hub. Unscrew or remove clips connecting the hub assembly and suspension components. Lift off the hub assembly when all are removed.
Access both old wheel bearings for removal from each end. Use an axle puller to press out in each direction from its housing. Keep track of which side each pose was on.
Now prepare the old wheel bearings for replacement with new parts!
Lift the Car and secure it with jack stands.
Secure safety before beginning repairs. Lift the Car by its suspension points. The place stands underneath each side of the vehicle. Never crawl under a car that is not supported. Have all tools ready. Follow safety guidelines.
Is the Car secured with jack stands? You can now work on replacing wheel bearings:
- Secure safety before beginning repairs.
- Lift the Car by its suspension points.
- The place stands underneath each side of the vehicle.
- Never crawl under a car that is not supported.
- Have all tools ready.
- Follow safety guidelines.
Remove the wheel
To replace the wheel bearings, first, remove the wheel. Unscrew the lug nuts in a star pattern with a wrench. Put each nut in a safe place. Grab the wheel and pull it away from the lug studs. If needed, tap it off with a rubber mallet. Put the spin in a secure area.
Remove the brake caliper and rotor.
Remove the brake caliper and rotor to start working on the wheel bearing. Take out the nuts or bolts that keep the caliper in place. Squeeze the piston, and the caliper should come off its mounting. The brake rotor should slip off easily.
Find a flat area where you can work. Make sure nothing rolls away while doing the tasks.
Remove the bearing retainer.
The bearing retainer is kept secure using either bolts or a retaining ring. Use the correct tool to prise it away if it’s the latter. If it’s the former, use a wrench or socket set to turn the bolts counterclockwise and take it off the hub assembly.
After removing the bearing retainer, you can access and remove the old wheel bearings.
Installing the New Wheel Bearings
Wheel bearings can be tough to switch out. But with the correct tools and a little patience! Here’s what to do:
- First, we’ll go through each step.
- Then, explain why it’s essential.
Clean the hub
Before replacing the wheel bearings, clean the wheel hub. Use a wire brush, steel wool, or abrasive wheel to remove rust, old grease, and debris. Wipe down the corner with a cloth to remove dirt and residue. Ensure surfaces are dirt-free before installation.
Check for irregularities in the previous setup before proceeding. Remove debris from not just the hub but also inside the wheel bearing.
Grease the new bearing.
A new bearing is essential for vehicle upkeep. Grease it with race-grade grease first. Use a grease gun or tube to apply coats. Put a thin layer on the outside. Spread it evenly. Then, place two layers evenly on both sides of the outer ring.
Once the bearing is greased, you can start the installation.
Install the new bearing with a bearing press.
Start by making sure the inner and outer races of the wheel bearing are flush. Hand slide the inner race onto the path and tap the outside firmly with a rubber mallet.
Align all three components – outer race, inner race, and cup – and put them in a bearing press. Clamp them securely before pressing.
Gradually apply pressure to compress them until they match the original measurements. This ensures proper fitment when reinstalling. This is necessary for wheel alignment when driving.
Replace the bearing retainer.
To replace wheel bearings, carefully remove the hub and ensure the parts are rigid with no imperfections that can cause premature wear. Follow this guide to replace the bearing retainer and create a secure setup.
- Support the vehicle on stands for lifting. Ensure all tools (torque wrench, breaker bar, etc.) are in good condition and fit the application. Wear gloves, glasses, and earplugs for safety.
- Mark the spot to drill out the old bearing retainer. Put a center punch in the area to keep the drill bit in place. Drill slowly, checking the depth and wear of the bits at 500rpm. The pilot drills all holes before switching bits. Use an 8-10mm drill bit. Vacuum out any debris.
- Clean up the area with brake cleaner compound.
- Reinstall new bearing retainers, shields, seal rings, etc., referring to the installation kit’s application-specific instructions or the manufacturer’s website. This guide combines information and diagrams that will save time during the installation.
Reinstall the rotor and caliper.
Time to reinstall the rotor and caliper! Fit the rotor onto the mounting studs of the hub. Make sure to use a washer between the back of the rotor and any nuts. This helps avoid damage to your new wheel bearings. Secure it with a washer and nut on each stud. Firmly press one side of the rotor. Use an impact or socket wrench to tighten each nut until everything is snug.
Be careful when working with larger rotors and heavier calipers. Over-tightening this assembly can lead to damage! Double-check all torque specs for front and rear wheels and all suspension parts. This is to ensure everything is properly secured before returning your vehicle to the road.
Secure the wheel bearing and reinstall the wheel hub. Replace wheel. Then, torque lug nuts. Check the wheel bearing carefully. Ensure the wheel spins appropriately and the path is not noisy. Double-check it!
Reinstall the wheel
Once the bearing is seated on the hub, reinstall the wheel. Add a bit of thread-locker to the lug nut threads. Put them on the lug bolts. Torque all lugs to spec before continuing.
Make sure to torque each lug in a star pattern. If some lugs feel tighter than others, check and adjust until all are tightened evenly with your torque wrench. Once complete, your new wheel bearings are installed and ready to go!
Tighten the lug nuts.
You’ve installed the wheel bearing assembly. Now, it’s time to tighten the lug nuts. Don’t over-torque the fasteners. Use a torque wrench and follow the tightening sequence in your Car’s service manual. Start with the hub side lugs. Then, move to the lower corners.
Suppose you have more than one axle; complete the steps on one side before moving to another. Tighten each nut with 15-20 lb.-ft (20-27 Nm). Then, add 45-50 lb.-ft (61-68 Nm). This will ensure even distribution. Ensure there’s no detectable play on the new wheel bearing assembly before taking your vehicle on a test drive.
Lower the Car
Once the wheel bearings components have been replaced, lower the Car onto the ground. Secure the lug nuts to the bolts and thread them onto the wheel studs. Tighten each bolt with a torque wrench and star pattern. Ensure all points of contact are even and secure. Give each bolt a final check with the torque wrench to ensure they are closed. Job done!
Test the wheel bearing.
Once you have installed the new wheel bearing, it is essential to test it. To do this, jounce the Car up and down a few times. If the noise persists or you find it difficult to turn the wheel, something is wrong.
Recheck your work over the areas of the bearing components. After each jounce, check for play from side to side in the wheel and up and down movement of the hub assembly by turning it back and forth. Corrosion may be present inside or around the components. If so, use a small sharp tool to free them before retightening.
Once all these steps are complete and the wheel turns properly under light pressure, there should not be any residual motion from axial loads. Grab between 12:00-6:00 positions while loaded on tires, and strike sharply brakes at least three times without evasions in rotation or undesired noise. Tighten everything until appropriate levels are reached as per manufacturers’ guidelines proportions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know when it is time to replace my wheel bearings?
You will usually notice when your wheel bearings need replacing if you hear a humming or grinding sound coming from the wheel of your vehicle or a vibration in the steering wheel while driving.
How long does it take to replace wheel bearings?
It usually takes about two to three hours to replace wheel bearings, depending on the specific vehicle and the tools used.
Are wheel bearings expensive to replace?
The cost of replacing wheel bearings can vary depending on the type of vehicle you are driving, but it is generally not too expensive.