Wheel bearings are the parts of a vehicle that allow the wheels to rotate freely and smoothly. It is a kit of steel balls accommodated in a metal case known as a race found inside the wheel’s hub. When you hear a humming or murmur sound when you’re driving, it may indicate a problem with the wheel’s hub.
Changing your wheel bearings by using special mechanical tools is relatively simple. Below are steps to take you through the process.
Word of Caution: It is important to know the type of Wheel bearings you have before choosing to proceed with the steps. Because each vehicle has its operating features, do not attempt this repair without referring to the owner’s manual first for your specific car make and model. If you try to change wheel bearings yourself, be careful. Otherwise, have a professional mechanic on call for further guidance if need be. The bearing is very small, but it’s crucial to the wheel’s performance.
1. Park Your Vehicle on A Flat Surface
To prevent a rolling or shift, you’ll need to park your vehicle on a flat surface. Put your vehicle in park. For the manual cars, put it on the first gear, reverse or on neutral, and lift the parking brake.
2. Secure the Wheels You Are Not Replacing
For stability, it’s wise to use chocks to keep your vehicle in place. Place them on the wheel you will not be repairing as the other ones are off the ground.
3. Untighten the Lug Nuts and Jack Up the Vehicle
Before lifting the wheel, loosen the lug nuts using a tire iron. This is because breaking the nut’s primary resistance is more difficult with the wheels are off the ground. Fortunately, many vehicles come with a jack intended for this task.
Using a floor jack plus a set of safety jack stands, lift and secure the vehicle. This allows the wheel to come off safely. Some tips to consider include;
- Refer to the owner’s manual to establish the location of the appropriate lift points used to jack up your vehicle.
- Before lifting the wheel, ensure the jack is lying flat on the ground. The jack should hold the vehicle on a firm, metal piece of the undercarriage instead of the fragile plastic molding. This is because the car’s weight can damage the plastic molding.
4. Unfasten the Lug Nuts and Remove the Wheel
With the vehicle lifted, the lug nuts become loose and easily come off. Remove the wheel and place the lug nuts in a safe place.
- One way of keeping track of the lugnuts is to use the hubcap as a holding plate by removing it and turning it over.
5. Take Out the Brake Caliper
Unbolt the disc brake caliper bracket from the spindle using your ratchet and the proper socket set. Then to remove the actual caliper, use a screwdriver.
- One tip to consider is not to let the caliper hang freely since it can damage the flexible drake tubing. Instead, use a wire hanger to hook it on a firm part of the undercarriage. Another way is tieing it in place with a short string.
6. Take Out the Dust Cover, The Cotter Pin, And the Castle Nut
To remove the dust cover, grip it with calipers and tap the caliper with a hammer. This will then reveal the castle nut, fastened with a cotter pin. Using pliers or wire cutters, remove the cotter pin, then unfasten the castle and remove it.
- Ensure you safely store these tiny important components.
7. Take Out the Rotor
To remove the rotor, you need to remove the wheel’s outer bearing first. You can achieve this by placing your thumb steadily on the peg in the center of the rotor assembly. Firmly but gently bump the rotor using the palm of your other hand.
- Sometimes the rotor can get stuck but you can use a rubber mallet to tap it lose. This can, however, destroy the rotor, so only use a mallet if you will not reuse the same rotor.
8. Unscrew and Replace the Hub
To reach the hub bolts located in the undercarriage, you’ll need to use a skinny socket wrench to unlatch and remove them. Then take off the hub from the axle. At this point, you can replace the old hub with a new one and perform the wheel repair assembly once more to finish the process. Since you plan to install a new bearing within the hub, carry on.
9. Dismantle the Hub Assembly
To access the Wheel bearings, you’ll need to disassemble the hub. Use a wrench to push out the end of the hub, plus any anti-lock brake wheel that may be part of your hub. Next, use a specific tool to remove the central bolt, resulting in the bearing assembly disassembling easily.
10. Take Out the Races and Clean the Knuckles
When removing the bearing assembly’s races, you’ll have to break them with a hammer. This will prompt you to clean the inside of the bearing assembly (there are also lots of grease and grime here) and around the knuckle before you put in new ones. There’s usually lots, so have plenty of rags handy.
11. Install New Races Plus New and Greased Wheel Bearings
Fix new races in position in the bearing assembly with several taps from a hammer. After lubricating, the new inner bearing fit it in the assembly. Use plenty of grease for your bearings, the outside of the bearing, and on the sealing rings. Make sure the bearings are well situated and thrust in as far as they can go. Any sealing rings should be flush with the outer assembly.
12. Put Everything Back in Reverse Order
Since you have now changed the Wheel bearings, the final step is to reinstall your vehicle’s wheel. Place back the brake rotor and caliper using a ratchet and the proper sockets. Return the wheel and tighten the lug nuts by hand. Use the floor jack to hold the vehicle while you remove the jack stands. Gradually lower the vehicle’s tires come in contact with the ground. Finish by tightening the lug nuts with a torque wrench. Allow the car to rest on the ground before removing the floor jack completely.
And with that, you have successfully managed to change wheel bearing of your vehicle.