Wheel hub and bearing assemblies
Wheel Bearings are some of the most commonly replaced parts on a vehicle. Constantly in use, the wheel bearing takes all the heat and stress of today's busy driving conditions. TechChoice Parts provides the AutoExtra brand of affordable replacement wheel bearings and hub assemblies. AutoExtra is the private label for Precision Bearing components, with excellent coverage for all vehicles using a combination hub and bearing assembly.
Prior to the 1990's, wheel bearings could be serviced by simply removing the bearing and repacking it with grease. These days, the wheel bearing is built into a complete wheel hub assembly. The ABS sensor, or wheel speed sensor, is typically also built into the wheel hub assembly. If the bearing or ABS sensor fails, the entire hub assembly must be replaced.
Symptoms of a bad wheel hub assembly include strange noises, grinding, and the ABS light illuminated on the dash.
At the bottom of this page you can find additional symptoms and some general wheel hub assembly replacement instructions.
Fortunately, because wheel hubs are replaced so often, they're pretty inexpensive to manufacture, so your out-of-pocket expense won't hurt too much. TechChoice Parts has literally thousands of packaged wheel hub assemblies all over the US. Our hubs come complete with ABS sensors when that sensor is integrated with the OEM hub. You'll receive your new wheel hub usually within one day of ordering, no more than 2 days in most cases.
Browse our catalog below and let us get your new bearing on the way to you today!
General instructions for replacing wheel bearings / wheel hub assemblies
Replacing your wheel hub assembly will require some tools and a bit of mechanical aptitude. If you’ve got what it takes, and know which bearing assembly needs replacing, you can install it yourself and save some money. If you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself, you can still purchase one (or more!) and have a local shop perform the installation. You’ll still save a bunch of money on the parts.
Be careful! TechChoice Parts is not responsible for any accidents you may have when replacing wheel hubs! Alcohol should be used in moderation when working on cars. Yeah, you know who I’m talking about.
What are the symptoms of a bad wheel hub assembly?
- You hear that ‘funny noise’: a low growling, humming, squeak, chirp, squeal, moan, or whirring noise when you're driving at about 30-45 MPH and which may come and go if you turn the steering wheel back and forth while driving on a straight road.
- ABS light is on. Vehicles with anti-lock brakes, or ‘ABS’, usually have a sensor or tone ring built into the wheel hub assembly. If a sensor is reading erratically or the signal is lost, the ABS light will turn on and set a code. Regular braking will work fine, but the ABS system will be disabled until the problem is fixed.
How do I confirm I have a bad wheel hub assembly?
Raise the vehicle to the tire is off the ground. Grasp each side of the tire and try to rock it back and forth. If there is any play, the bearings are loose and the hub assembly needs to be replaced. Also, rotate the wheel and feel for any roughness, and listen for noise; those are also symptoms of a bad bearing.
If you are not completely sure, have it inspected by a professional shop before you start the work.
Stuff you'll need
- New wheel hub assembly.
- Floor jack, jack stand, wheel chock
- 1/2 inch drive breaking bar, metric or standard (depending on vehicle) sockets
- 1/2 inch drive socket set Spindle nut socket (usually 36 millimeter)
- 1/2 inch drive ratchet
- Large flat-head screwdriver
- Sandpaper (medium to light grade)
- Bungee cord
- Rubber mallet and slide hammer
- 1/2 inch drive adjustable torque wrench (recommended). An impact wrench is not recommended, as it will likely damage with wheel hub assembly!
Park the vehicle on a flat, level paved or concrete surface. Place the vehicle in gear or park and apply the parking brake.
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 them; 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.
Locate the caliper bolts and remove them with the ratchet and a socket. Pry the caliper off gently using a large flat-head 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.
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.
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. These can be on really tight, and may require some effort and a short break before coming off.
Remove any ABS wires attached to the hub 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, and 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 its 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.
Remove the spindle nut with the breaking bar and a spindle nut socket. Remove the washer behind the spindle nut.
Locate the hub assembly bolts behind the knuckle. Loosen them with the breaking bar and socket. The location of these is sometimes in a tough area to place a socket on to remove them with, and you might have to work at it. 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.
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.
Using a fine to medium grade sandpaper, 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.
Place the backing plate back in its 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.
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.
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.
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 specification's torque setting.
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.