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Wheel Hub & Bearings

Frequently Asked Questions

A wheel bearing is a critical part of the wheel assembly that is the connection between the wheel and the axle. They are small metal balls held in small metal, grease-filled, waterproof, sealed rings. They are important safety components of a vehicle's braking, steering, and suspension systems that help your car's wheels turn around a stationary axle. The wheel bearing supports the weight of the vehicle and the forces exerted on the wheel while driving, in addition to allowing the wheel to rotate smoothly and evenly with minimal resistance. Overall, they are designed to support the entire weight of the vehicle and reduce rolling friction.

1. Snapping or clicking noise. Excessive bearing end play or worn or damaged outer CV joint is causing the noise.

2. Grating or humming noise. This noise is the result of a lack of tire rotation or a failure of a suspension component.

3. Knocking or banging noise. This noise is caused by a bad wheel bearing, a flat spot in a tire, tires that are under inflated, or tires that are not properly aligned.

4. Squealing or grinding noise. This noise is the result of a bad wheel bearing, low tire pressure, or out of alignment tires.

5. Howling noise. The noise is due to a bad sprocket bearing or loose sprocket bearing preload.

1. As you turn, listen for a snap or pop.

2. While driving, listen for a grinding, dragging, or roaring sound.

3. As you change speeds, see if the buzzing changes.

4. Touch your steering wheel to see whether it's vibrating.

5. Notice if there is any wheel shimmy or wobble.

6. Check to see if your ABS light is on.

7. Notice if your car is drifting to one side or the other.

8. Wheel wiggle test. Lift your car with a jack. Then wiggle the wheel back and forth to see if there is any movement. Spin the wheel and listen for any rattles.

Step 1: Make sure your vehicle is parked on a level surface.

Step 2: Chock your wheels. Block the tire opposite the wheel you want to work on with a wheel chock.

Step 3: Unscrew the lug nuts. Take hold of your ½-inch ratchet. Loosen the lug nuts you wish to remove, but do not remove them completely.

Step 4: Lift the vehicle with a jack. This way, you can safely do the tire removal.

Step 5: Remove the lug nuts and the wheel from the vehicle.

Step 6: Remove the brake caliper.

Step 7: Remove the dust cap, cotter pin and castle nut.

Step 8: Remove the outer wheel bearing.

Step 9: Remove the rotor and inner bearing.

Step 10: Rub bearing grease into the housing.

Step 11: Install a new bearing.

Step 12: Install a new cotter pin.

Step 13: Unscrew the hub and replace it.

Step 14: Replace the rotor and caliper.

Step 15: Install the tire.

Step 16: Complete the installation.

In most cases, a wheel bearing is not replaced as a pair. Instead, only the one or more that are determined to be bad are replaced. The bearings themselves can cost anywhere from $50 to $110. We have found the cost for a mechanic to be between $200 and $600. Overall, the cost will vary greatly depending on the make and model. The labor required to install them may also vary from vehicle to vehicle, so mechanics' quotes may vary.

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