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How to Replace Wheel Bearings

Puja Lalwani
Does your car make funny, rumbling noises when you drive? Chances are your car's wheel bearings need to be replaced. Why not learn how to replace them instead of spending big bucks this time? Read on.
Wheel bearings are very important car parts. Not only do they allow smooth rotation of the car wheels, they also support the weight of the car, which is equally distributed among the front and rear wheel bearings.
They may wear out with prolonged use, when there has been an accumulation of dirt or leakage of oil seals. Thus, it is important to keep a check on them, and maintain them well, because if they are damaged, they can disturb the car's orientation and can make driving the car a dangerous affair.
The right time to replace them is when your car makes loud noises upon picking up speed, and the friction in the wheel bearing is audible. In such a case, follow these simple instructions.


Possessing knowledge of basic car repair is useful, as a huge expense can be avoided if you know how to do it yourself. Similar is the case with replacing wheel bearings.
This step-by-step guide will help you do the needful.

1. Use a jack stand to support the weight of the car. Check for any noises in the affected wheel by giving it a spin. The replacement is necessary even if the wheel is wobbly. Remove the tire.
2. First, the brake caliper needs to be removed and hung aside with wire. Then comes the dust cap, which can be removed using either a screwdriver, or a chisel and hammer, but remember to be gentle with it.

3. The cotter pin should never be reused, so discard it after removing it from the spindle nut. Proceed to remove the spindle nut and washer.
4. The outer wheel bearing now, can easily be removed, followed by the removal of the hub assembly from the spindle. Using a seal removal tool, or a screwdriver, from the rear of the hub assembly, remove the seal.

5. Now separate the inner wheel bearing from the hub assembly. With a press, withdraw the old bearing races.
6. Before installing new wheel bearings, the hub assembly should be cleaned thoroughly with a cleaning solvent, to get rid of the grease and accumulated dirt. You are now ready to install them.

7. In the hub assembly, fit the new bearing races. These should be replaced at one time, together, as they come in a set.
8. Pour some high temp grease on your palm. Now press the back edge of the bearing into your palm, to coat it with grease thoroughly. This will seal the new bearings to the assembly.

9. On the spindle arm and the inner hub assembly, put a mild coat of grease.
10. On the inner bearing, put a new seal and use a hammer and a block of wood, with a diameter similar to that of the seal, to push it until it fits in completely.
11. The hub assembly is ready to be fixed back on to the spindle arm. Grease the outer bearing and install it, followed by the spindle nut and washer. Tighten all these fixtures well to the specified torque, and check for any movement before proceeding.

12. Fix the new cotter pin, followed by the dust cap cover and the brake caliper.
13. The tire is ready to be fixed back into place. Tighten the lug nuts after installing the tire. Before removing the jack stands, give the wheel a spin once more to check for any noise or resistance. After removing the jack stand, tighten the lug nuts to the specified torque.

Your car is ready to roll on to the streets!
Car problems are inevitable, but in certain cases, they can be taken care of on your own. However, before you go about following this guide, ensure that you also follow the car owner's manual, as every vehicle has its own dos and don'ts.
Always seek the help of a professional if you are unsure about your abilities at car repair, or if the problem is one that you cannot handle on your own. Lastly, while replacing wheel bearings, maintain basic safety by wearing comfortable clothes that don't get in the way, and keeping sharp and dangerous objects at bay.