Q:

How do you change wheel bearings?

A:

Quick Answer

To change wheel bearings, remove the wheel and brake caliper, and take apart the rotor to change the bearings. You need basic tools for mechanics, wheel bearing grease, a bearing race removal kit and a new cotter pin.

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Full Answer

  1. Prepare the vehicle

    Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheel. Lift the front end of the vehicle, and support it on jack stands. Activate the parking brake, and insert chocks behind the rear wheels. Loosen the lug nuts all the way, and remove the front wheel.

  2. Remove the brake caliper

    Use a hex tool to remove the two bolts at the top of the brake caliper. Hold the caliper by the top, and lift up to remove it. Hang the caliper from a metal part of the vehicle with a bungee cord to avoid damaging the brake line.

  3. Remove the bearing cap

    Locate the bearing cap at the center of the wheel. Grip the cap with tongue and groove pliers, and move the cap from side to side to pull it off.

  4. Remove the next series of parts

    Remove the cotter pin, retaining ring and spindle nut.

  5. Remove the rotor

    Remove the washer that covers the outer bearing, and remove the bearing. Slide the rotor off of the spindle.

  6. Remove the inner wheel bearing

    Remove the grease seal before removing the inner wheel bearing.

  7. Remove the races from the hub

    Wipe the inside of the hub to remove excess grease. Select a flat-tipped punch from the bearing race removal kit, and insert it behind the race. Tap the race on all sides to remove it, and repeat with the race on the opposite side.

  8. Install the new races

    Clean the hub and spindle thoroughly. Apply wheel bearing grease to the new races. Tap all sides of the race to install it evenly, and use the punch to secure it. Repeat with the other race.

  9. Grease the bearings

    Place a generous amount of wheel bearing grease in your hand, and place a bearing on your finger. Push the bearing into the grease, and turn it when grease begins to emerge. Continue to push the bearing until grease emerges all the way through. Repeat with the other bearing.

  10. Reinstall the races

    Insert the inner wheel bearing into a greased race, and install the new grease seal.

  11. Reinstall the rotor

    Grease the inside of the hub, and slide the rotor, a greased outer race, the outer wheel bearing and the washer onto the spindle. Ensure the washer and spindle are aligned.

  12. Tighten the spindle nut

    Insert the spindle nut, and tighten it by hand. Rotate the rotor in different directions, and tighten the nut. Continue until the nut is snug.

  13. Return the remaining parts

    Tighten the nut a quarter turn. Reinstall the retaining ring, and install a new cotter pin. Grease the cap, and tap it into place.

  14. Put the wheel back together

    Reinstall the brake caliper. Seat the wheel, and tighten the lug nuts. Remove the jack stands and chocks, and disable the parking brake.

Learn more about Tires, Rims & Wheels

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