Replace a Hub Bearing

How to Replace a Wheel Hub Bearing

This is a basic set of instructions and it will prove challenging to some people.

Replacing your wheel hub will require some tools and technical know how. Once you are sure which bearing assembly needs to be replaced, you can purchase a new one and install it yourself and save a good deal of money on labor charges at a repair shop. If you are unable to do it yourself, you are best off buying quality new wheel bearings online from www.mibearings.com and taking them to a local shop to have them installed. This will save you lots on part charges. Bearings purchase from us will cost between $40 and $150, whereas shops usually charge at least 3 times ($120-$140) this amount!

Use this guide at your own risk.

How do you know you need to replace the Wheel bearing?

A -You hear that  low growling, humming, or whirring noise when you're driving  that varies with speed and may come and go if you turn the steering wheel back and forth while driving on a straight road.

B - ABS light is on.

C - Check the bearing by lifting the front tires off the ground. Face the tire, grab it at 12 and 6 o'clock, and move the tire in and out by pressing at the 6 o'clock position. Pull out at the 12 o'clock position simultaneously and if the is a lot of play chances are the bearing is bad.

D - If you are not completely sure have it inspected by a professional shop before YOU start the work.

Instructions:

Things You'll Need:

  • A new wheel bearing or wheel hub bearing assembly, depending on your vehicle.
  • Floor jack Jack stand Wheel chock
  • 1/2 inch drive breaking bar Complete metric or standard (depending on vehicle)
  •  1/2 inch drive socket set Spindle nut socket (usually 36 millimeter, but this also depends on your vehicle)
  • 1/2 inch drive ratchet
  • Large straight (flat) edged screwdriver
  • Sand paper (medium to light grade)
  • bungee cord
  •  Large rubber mallet Slide hammer
  • C-clamp
  • 1/2 inch drive adjustable torque wrench (recommended), an Impact wrench is not recommended, as it is likely to damage the wheel bearings, and may not ensure proper installation. You can contact us for the proper torque specifications for your application.

 

  1. Step 1 (Park)

Park the vehicle on a flat, level paved or concrete surface. Place the vehicle in gear or park and apply the parking brake.

  1. Step 2 (Remove the Wheel)

Place a wheel chock behind a rear tire (or front if you're doing a rear hub bearing assembly). Break the lug nuts loose of wheel of the hub bearing you're replacing with the breaking bar and a socket; just loosen-- do not remove them until the wheel is lifted off of the ground. Lift the wheel with the floor jack in a safe and secure manner. Support the vehicle on a jack stand, preferably on the frame rail if present. Remove the lug nuts and wheel. If the wheel has not recently been removed, you may have to kick the tire portion of the wheel to break it loose.

  1. Step 3 (Remove the Caliper)

Locate the caliper bolts and remove them with the ratchet and a socket. Pry the caliper off gently using a large straight edged screwdriver and support the caliper on the coil spring with a bungee cord. Do not allow the caliper to dangle on the rubber brake hose.

  1. Step 4 (Removing the caliper and brakes continued)

Locate the caliper bridge bolts (if applicable) and remove them with the ratchet and a socket. You may want to break them loose with the breaking bar first if they're really tight. On some vehicles, the brake pads will remain in the bridge and can be removed by prying out with the screwdriver. Other models, the pads may stay intact and clipped to the caliper. If you have to remove the pads, do so by taking note how they were placed in the bridge and be sure when it comes time to put them back in, that you do so in the same manner they were extracted.

  1. Step 5 (Remove the rotor)

Remove the rotor. If it is stuck to the hub, you may have to hit it with a large rubber mallet. Only use a rubber mallet if you're not intending on replacing the rotor so you do not damage the surface of it. It may require a degree of determination to break it free.

  1. Step 6  (FOR ABS INTEGRATED HUBS)

Remove any ABS wires attached to the hub bearing assembly (if applicable) or unclip the wire and trace it to the plug. In many applications, if the ABS wire is integrated with the wheel bearing hub assembly, a new one is going to come with it. If you're not sure, check the box of the new bearing and if there's an ABS wire, follow the wire until you locate the plug, unplug it and simply unclip it from it's mounts. If ABS is present but not integrated with the bearing assembly, remove the sensor from the bearing with a ratchet and socket. If you do not have ABS wires, you can skip this step.

  1. Step 7 (remove the spindle/axle nut on driven hub assemblies)

Remove the spindle nut with the breaking bar and a spindle nut socket. Remove the washer behind the spindle nut.

  1. Step 8 (remove the hub bolts)

Locate the wheel bearing assembly bolts behind the knuckle. Loosen them with the breaking bar and socket. The location of these can sometimes create a tight area to place a socket and tool on to remove them with. You may have to apply some ingenuity. Once they're loose, replace the socket on the ratchet to extract the bolts more quickly and much easier. Most hubs have three or four bolts.

  1. Step 9 (remove the hub)

Install the slide hammer onto the lug studs and secure with tightened lug nuts. This may take several attempts and a couple of breaks in between to remove the hub bearing from the knuckle. Pay close attention to your progress and try to determine when the bearing will separate so you do not hurt yourself while slide hammering. Take note how the backing plate is installed between the knuckle and the bearing to replace it in the same manner. An air

  1. Step 10 (sanding & smoothing)

Using a fine to medium grade sand paper, sand off the rust and corrosion around the knuckle. You'll have to strategically move the drive shaft spindle around to get it out of your way. Take your time when doing this because you want that as clean as you can get it before installing the new bearing. While your at it, it would be good to sand the bearing and wheel contact surfaces of the rotor to ensure a proper installation.

  1. Step 11 (installing the hub)

Place the backing plate back in it's original place and place the new bearing onto the knuckle. You'll have to manipulate the drive shaft spindle splines correctly into the center of the hub bearing. Push the bearing on as far as you can but be sure to line it up correctly if ABS lines or plugs are present. Once it is on far enough, replace the wheel bearing assembly bolts. They're pretty long, so as soon as you can thread them into the new bearing, then start to tighten them. Pull the bearing in by tightening the bolts a little bit at a time and then switching to the next bolt. This will make sure the bearing assembly does not shift in the knuckle and cause damage. Once the bearing is drawn in flush, tighten the bolts one last time with the breaking bar as tight as you can get them.

  1. Step 12 (installing the axle nut - for driven hubs)

Replace washer and spindle nut and tighten to proper torque specifications with the 1/2-inch (or your spindle nut size) drive torque wrench and spindle socket.

  1. Step 13 (install the brakes)

Replace the brakes in the same manner you extracted them. You may need to push the caliper piston in a little bit with a C-clamp to get it over the rotor. Plug in the ABS lines or reattach them to the bearing if applicable.

  1. Step 14 (instal the wheel)

Replace the tire and lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts as tight as you can get them, then lower the vehicle and tighten them in an alternate fashion with the torque wrench and socket at the correct wheel nut specifications torque setting.

  1. Step 15 (re-install the brakes)

Pump the brake pedal if you had to push the caliper piston in with a C-clamp to restore hydraulic pressure to that caliper piston. Remove the wheel chock, release the parking brake, and test drive.

 

Tips & Warnings

It's probably a good idea to learn as much information about your vehicle and wheel bearing assembly as you can before you start the project. Refer to the owners manual to obtain the proper torque specifications where applicable you can also get the torque specs from MIBearings LLC if you ask. Also, there are some applications where the wheel bearing assembly bolts may take a special twelve point socket to extract them. If this is the case, you're going to want to purchase one so you do not damage the bolt heads or inflict injury to yourself trying to extract them with a standard socket. Allow time to perform this repair. The first time you do one is going to take a few hours, but once you do one, it will help you replace another in a more timely fashion.
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