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Front Wheel Bearing Replacement

Omkar Phatak
If you are looking for guidelines on replacing wheel bearings, this story will be a helpful read. Here, I present a basic outline of the procedure.
Of the many wheel components that make its smooth rolling motion possible, wheel bearings are the most crucial. The function of these bearings is to ensure the smooth movement of wheels, by reducing the axle-wheel friction. They are placed inside the rotor and roll with the moving wheel, to reduce the friction that would be normally generated between the rolling axle and wheel.

Symptoms of Failure

One prime symptom is the grinding noise that is heard while driving, as the bearings wear out. Another sign is a slight wobble in the wheel, which gets increasingly noticeable with increasing speed. If the car problem is ignored for long, you will start seeing uneven wear and tear of tires as well.

Replacement Instructions

To get the job done smoothly, you will need an assembly of tools. This will include a car jack, with jack stand, torque wrench, hammer, punch, new front wheel bearings, new races, new seal, grease, and a ratchet/socket set. Armed with all these tools, you can then proceed with the replacement job.
To replace the bearings, you will have to remove the car wheels. For that to happen, you must first raise the car front, using jack and jack stands. Make sure that the jack stands have been firmly placed before going ahead. Next, use the socket set to remove the front wheels. Go for one at a time.
Once you remove the wheels, you will notice the brake assembly. Take the right size ratchet to remove the brake calipers from the rotor. Then, proceed with removing the rotor. For that, you will have to first remove the grease cap, followed by the cotter pin and nut.
To access the old worn out bearings, you will have to remove the grease seal off it. Then, you can remove the worn out inner and outer bearings. Now, the hammer and punch come into play. Using them, get rid of the rotor racing. Proceed with cleaning the rotor center thoroughly, with a rough cloth to remove the accumulated dirt.
After that, you can put the new bearings in and pack them with a generous amount of grease applied. Put in the new seal, in place of the old one. Once this is done, your job is almost over. Then, you can proceed with putting the rotor and brake calipers back in place. Once the brake assembly is installed, put the tires back in place. That concludes the procedure.
For a detailed procedure, specific to your car model, refer to the appropriate Hayne's manual. The replacement cost entirely depends on the car model and the degree of complexity involved in the procedure. You may expect it to be anywhere between USD 110 to USD 550. Considering the complexity involved in the job, it is best left to professionals.
Make sure that you go for a replacement, as soon as you notice problem signs. If ignored, not only will your tires suffer wear and tear, it will also seriously affect the axle wheel assembly. So, make it a point to include wheel bearing check, in your periodic maintenance schedule.