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A bearing is a set of steel balls which are held together by a metal ring, known as a race. There are various different kinds of braces out there and most cars will be slightly different, but they all perform the same task. A wheel bearing works to help the wheel spin with very little friction.
A wheel bearing replacement costs between $112 & $696 for most cars.
Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost Comparison
|Parts & Labour||12 months||$128 – $700|
|Parts & Labour||12 months||$110 – $650|
|Parts & Labour||12 months||$112 – $696|
|Parts & Labour||24 months||$145 – $670|
|Parts||Limited||$45 – $421|
|Parts||Limited||$29 – $675|
What Is A Wheel Bearing?
On your car, the bearing supports the wheel and rides on the axle shaft. It fits into the hollow section at the center of the wheel, and is held in place by the lug bolts which attach the wheel to the car. The wheel bearing is pressed into the back of the wheel, before being bolted into place. If you’ve ever had to change a wheel you should be familiar with the bearing.
Modern wheel bearings are manufactured as sealed bearings, helping to protect the components from the elements, water and debris. The two main threats to the health of a wheel bearing are heat and moisture. A lack of lubrication can cause friction, resulting in extreme heat which can destroy the bearing. If water is allowed to enter the bearing it can become corroded and will gradually break down.
If there is an issue with the wheel bearing it usually manifests as excess noise. You will typically notice a grinding or clunking noise if the bearing is faulty.
Benefits of Wheel Bearing Replacement
A faulty bearing can cause various problems which can have a significant impact on the safety of your car. It can effect the steering and the way the car drives, which is obviously a huge safety issue. If you notice any abnormal noises coming from the wheels when you drive, if the wheels won’t move easily or if you notice the steering wheel shaking when you drive you should have it inspected immediately.
Having a faulty wheel bearing replaced will ensure your car handles properly and reduces the risk of more serious damage.
When Should You Have The Wheel Bearings Replaced?
The tell-tale signs of a faulty wheel bearing are noisy wheels when driving, shaky steering and the wheels not moving properly. You can take it to a mechanic to have it inspected fully, or you can perform a few diagnostic tests yourself.
Jack up the car where you’re noticing the problem and spin the wheel as fast as you can. Listen out for any grinding noises or anything else unusual. Next, try shaking the wheel in a rocking motion. There should be minimal movement, around an eight of an inch, in serviceable wheel bearings. If you notice significant movement you should look to have the bearings inspected properly.
Regular checks of the wheel bearings is important, particularly in older cars. It can have an impact on steering, acceleration and braking, so any issues need to be taken care of immediately.
What Is Done During Wheel Bearing Replacement?
- The car needs to be on a level surface to prevent any movement during the repair.
- Blocks should be placed around the wheels which aren’t being replaced. This prevents any excess movement while the car is jacked and increases the safety levels. If you’re replacing the front wheels, use blocks on the rear and vice versa.
- Before jacking up the car, the lug nuts will be loosened on the wheel being worked on. It’s much easier to get them loose with the weight of the car on the ground than in the air.
- When the lug nuts have been loosened, the wheel that needs repaired should be jacked up.
- The lug nuts should be loosened completely and removed. The wheel should also be removed at this point to allow access to the bearing.
- The brake caliper should be removed by removing the bolts and removing the calliper with a screwdriver.
- The bearing is inside the hub, and this is usually held in place by several bolts to the rear. These can be tricky to remove, but once they are removed the old hub will be taken off the axel.
- The hub will need to be taken apart to gain access to the bearings. This can be tricky, but a wrench will be used to remove the end of the end of the hub and a special tool will be needed to remove the central bolt. Once this is removed it should come apart.
- The races will be removed and will normally need replaced. The inside of the bearing assembly should be cleaned up, particularly around the knuckle.
- The new races should be tapped in to place with a hammer, and the new bearing should be greased and placed in the unit. The alignment of the bearings will be checked and they will be pushed in as far as possible. Sealing rings will be checked to prevent any debris entering the bearing when it’s reassembled.
- From here the process is essentially the reverse of the previous steps. The hub should be rebuilt and put back in place. The brake calliper should be put back on and tightened. The wheel should be put back on, and the lug nuts loosely attached. The car will be lowered back to the ground and the lug nuts fully tightened. The mechanic will then perform some tests to ensure it’s working as expected.
How to Save Money on Wheel Bearing Replacement
Due to the importance of the wheel bearings to the overall handling of the car, it’s generally not a repair which you should attempt on your own to save money. The best way to save on wheel bearing replacement is to get a range of quotes from local garages to have the work done.
Choose the one which offers good value, but also bear in mind the reputation of the garage you’re using.
Sample Wheel Bearing Replacement Costs
|Ford F-Series||$63 – $80||$49 – $82||$112 – $162|
|Chevrolet Silverado||$71 – $90||$317 – $606||$388 – $696|
|Ford Focus||$173 – $221||$132 – $210||$305 – $431|
|Toyota Camry||$157 – $201||$75 – $115||$232 – $316|
|Toyota Corolla||$213 – $271||$67 – $121||$280 – $392|
|Nissan Altima||$181 – $231||$145 – $204||$326 – $435|
|Honda CR-V||$102 – $131||$189 – $215||$291 – $346|
|Honda Civic||$102 – $131||$90 – $137||$192 – $268|
|Honda Accord||$142 – $181||$112 – $168||$254 – $349|
|Ford Fusion||$126 – $161||$92 – $128||$218 – $289|