If you want to know wheel bearing replacement cost, there are several necessary information you need to know. This information includes what wheel bearing is, how to realize it needs replacement, why does it need to be replaced, and how much should it cost you.
Your wheel bearing is the component responsible for a smooth wheel rolling and steady weight handling. It can go wrong by water infiltration, parts erosion, and car accidents.
It is essential to replace your wheel bearing as soon as possible as a bad wheel bearing can cause severe problems to your car parts and can put your life at high risk.
Wheel bearing replacement cost depends on the car make, model, year, and the shop where you will fix it at. If you decided to replace your wheel bearing, consider contacting different companies to get the best quote and the top service.
What Is A Wheel Bearing?
The wheel bearing is a group of balls placed in the middle whole of your wheel. These balls are connected by a ring and riding on the axle
A wheel bearing is a part of the car that is responsible for ensuring your wheel is rolling on the road and is supporting the heavyweight. It makes sure that the motor is turning smoothly without friction between the internal parts. The bearings also ensure that the wheel is connected tightly to the car.
In many modern cars, the wheel bearing is sealed in a specific way to protect it from water infiltration and heat caused due to friction. Increase heat and water moisture can cause the wheel bearing to break down.
Wheel bearings are used in both rear and front wheels. If there are issues with one bearing, this does not necessarily mean all your wheel bearings are having problems. Therefore, you have to be careful with dishonest mechanics who try to convince you to replace two, if not all, of your wheel bearings.
What Are the Different Types of Wheel Bearings?
The wheel bearing is the part of the car that reduces the friction between wheel metal parts.
The less the friction, the longer the wheel life and the less the erosion
There are four common types of wheel bearings:
- Ball Bearings: these are the most common types of bearings
- Precision Ball Bearings: these are the highest performance wheel bearings known. They can reduce the friction between wheel parts to the minimum, that is why you see them in many racing cars and plane wheels.
- Roller Ball Bearings: they are also prevalent; however, they can support the heavyweight on the wheel but not for the cornering.
- Tapered Roller Bearings: these are cone-shaped bearings, they can stand the wheel shifting in different degrees. That's why you see them in many of the regular cars and trucks.
What Are the Common Types of Wheel Bearings Issues?
Wheel bearing can go wrong if it experiences any of the following issues:
- Internal parts corrosion
- Water and moisture infiltration
- An accident
- Tear and wear
The wheel bearing is connected to many car parts. If any of the pieces got destroyed, this can affect how the wheel bearing function and could result in a wheel bearing damage or failure.
As any metal part in the car, the wheel bearing can corrode if water and moisture infiltrated to it; wheel bearing corrosion can cause it to break or cause the motor to come off the car in more severe cases.
Similarly, if the wheel bearing tears or wears for any of the previous reasons or others, the part can fail or break. Many car accidents can cause significant issues to wheel bearings and cause damage.
When Do You Need to Replace Your Wheel Bearing?
According to Wiki How, it is not very complicated to notice when there is an issue with your wheel bearing.
Here are suggested steps you can follow to evaluate if your wheel bearings have any issue:
- Listen to unusual noise:
the are many sound signals that can tell you there is an issue with your wheel bearings.
For example, if you hear a snap or pop sound when you turn the steering wheel, this can be a sign of a wheel bearing starting to wear. You can even detect which wheel bearing is having the issue by identifying where the sound is coming from.
Another sign for a wear wheel bearing can be a grinding or dragging sound.
If the noise change by changing the acceleration from say slow to fast or the vise versa, then this is a definite sign of a worn wheel bearing.
- Look for other shreds of evidence:
The unusual sounds can be the first signals for a bad wheel bearing; however, there are other symptoms that you need to look for.
For example, if the steering wheel starts to vibrate, especially at higher speeds, then there might be an issue with your wheel bearings. A broken wheel bearing can cause a loose steering wheel, which makes unsafe driving and can cause tragic consequences.
If the wheels wobble from one side to another, this is a sign of a significant wheel bearing damage.
In some anti-lock brake system cars, there is an “ABS” signal on the driver's dashboard. If this signal glows, then you need to check your wheel bearings.
If you see that the car is drifting towards one side, this is another sign of a bad wheel bearing. You can test that if you drive on a straight road and monitor where does your car drift to. However, you need to note that a car drift to one side can be caused by alignment issues. Therefore, your mechanic can best tell you which is the real cause of the car drift.
Finally, if you notice uneven wearing in any of the wheels, this tells you that the wheel bearing associated with this wheel is having an issue. Usually, all bikes should wear at the same level if all-wheel bearings are functioning well. Again, uneven wheel wearing can also be due to an issue with the car alignment.
- Assess for the wheel bearing damage:
If you want to confirm further that you have an issue with your wheel bearings, you can do any of the followings:
- Lift the car using a jack to check for physical problems with the wheel bearing. You need to carefully read the car manual and find where accurately you should place the jack. Also, be careful about how to make the car stable, so you do not injure yourself.
- Once you lifted your car, try to wiggle the wheel back and forth. If the wheel moves back and forth, this is a very significant sign of a damaged bearing.
- Try to spin the wheel and listen for any rattling.
- Very significant signs of wheel bearings damage:
In very critical situations where the wheel bearings are completely damaged, you might see smoke coming from any of the wheels or a wheel might jump off the car while driving, causing severe consequences.
Can You Drive with a Bad Wheel Bearing? Why Do You Need to Replace Them?
As we mentioned before, the wheel bearing is responsible for ensuring a well-rolling wheel and supporting the loads on the bike.
If there is an issue with your wheel bearing, you can still drive it but not for a very long time.
The more you wait on the issue, the more complicated the problem gets. A lousy wheel wearing can cause significant damage to other parts of your vehicle, which can cost you much more than repairing your wheel bearings.
Any time you feel there is an issue with the bearings, it is recommended that you have a technician evaluate it immediately. You never know how far the damage is gone and how now are you from the failure.
If there is an issue with the wheel bearing, you cannot control the car using the steering wheel, and this can put you and the people you drive at very high risk. Besides, a damaged wheel bearing can cause the motor to jump off the car and put your life at considerable risk.
What Are the Different Types of Wheel Bearing Assemblies?
Wheel bearings replacement can be labor-intensive, cost-intensive, or both, which depends on the type of wheel bearing assembly. Simply, how cheap are the parts and how complicated it is to replace it. Here are the three types of wheel bearing assembly:
- Serviceable hub assembly:
This type of construction is required when the wheel bearing is separated from the wheel hub.
Replacing the wheel bearing, in this case, is very straightforward. The mechanic reaches the old bearing and replace it with a new one.
The serviceable hub assembly is not labor-intensive nor parts intensive. Most of the parts needed are not expensive.
- Non-serviceable hub assembly:
Newer cars have a prepacked bearing with the hub, meaning the wheel bearing and the center are all one unit.
In this case, and if there is an issue with the wheel bearing, you need to replace the entire hub.
The non-serviceable hub assembly is not labor-intensive; however, the price of the parts depends on the type of vehicle.
- Non-serviceable hub assembly with the press in bearing:
This is considered the worst scenario between the three: it is a labor AND parts intensive.
Non-serviceable hub assembly with the press in bearing requires that the hub has taken out and put in a press to remove the bearing. Any simple mistake in the pressing can cause significant damage to the entire center. Therefore, it is highly recommended that if your vehicle wheel bearing is non-serviceable with the press in bearing, you take it to a professional mechanic or shop.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace Your Wheel Bearings?
The cost of replacing your wheel bearing depends significantly on the car make, model, year, and the mechanic. Therefore, without this information, it is very challenging to determine the overall cost.
In general, replacing a wheel bearing can cost between $100 and $700; on average, it could cost $300.
Besides the car make, model and year, the cost of wheel bearing replacement can depend on the shop or mechanic who will do the work for you.
Many experts suggest that the higher labor cost higher work quality. However, this is not always the case. Some well-known companies might have very high costs just because they are famous.
Therefore, if you want to get your wheel bearings replaced, make sure to shop for multiple quotes and select what works best for you. The selection does not have to be based on price, and you might need to check for customers' satisfaction and reviews. This way, you can confirm a higher work quality and save yourself lots of hassle in the future.
The good idea is to have multiple repairs at the same time to save labor costs. For example, if you know that you will need to repair your brakes or alignment soon, consider fixing them together.
Wheel bearing replacement cost also depends on the hub assembly as the non-serviceable hub assembly can cause up to $400 to $800. Prices can go much higher in non-serviceable hub assembly with bearing press.
The car makes, model and year can play a significant role in the price of wheel bearing replacement.
For example, replacing a wheel bearing for a Scion TC can cost between $250 and $358 with about $202 – $256 of labor cost and $48 – $102 of parts value. Usually, the Scion TC wheel bearing replacement is not done separately, it can be combined with Brake Pad replacement with $233 – $297 or Steering Knuckle replacement of $518 – $297.
Below are examples of how much does replace a wheel bearing cost for several cars models:
|Vehicle Model||Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost|
When Do You Need to Get A Professional to Replace Your Wheel Bearings?
In general, you should not replace your wheel bearings unless you are a professional mechanic or well-trained.
The price would not be an issue if you caused a major problem when trying to replace your wheel bearings by yourself. In other words, if you are concerned that the mechanic will cost you a lot more money than when you do it on your own, think carefully of what risk you are taking and how much will it cost you if you damaged another part.
You might spend more time and effort trying to replace your wheel bearings on your own. Most DIYs fail at least the first time. Think of how much effort you can save by taking the car to a professional mechanic.
If you think you have the capability to replace the wheel bearing on your own, the process is very straightforward for serviceable hub assemblies. You need to jack your vehicle up, make sure it is flat and stable, remove the old wheel bearing and place the new one.
Something to keep in mind, there are some special tools and equipment you need to have included the ones you need to remove the brake caliper and the middle bolt with.
Even with having all the equipment, some of the wheel bearings assemblies require a mechanic, including the non-serviceable hub assembly with press bearing.
How Often Should You Replace Your Wheel Bearings?
All vehicles need a wheel bearing replacement at some point in the vehicle's life.
Most modern cars come with a seal on the wheel bearings, which require replacing the wheel bearing after 100,000 miles. However, older vehicles might need a wheel bearing to check every 25,000 to 30,000 miles. This does not necessarily require replacing the motor bearing rather than making sure they are well-maintained.
For example, the SLK 320 R170 required a wheel bearing replacement after 90,000 miles.
On average, most cars need wheel bearing replacement between 136,000 and 160,000 miles; however, this might differ depending on the car make, model, and year.
How Can You Extend the Wheel Bearing's Life?
The first thing you need to do to have a longer-living wheel bearing is to drive on the right roads. If you drive on bumpy unpaved roads, you are most likely reducing the capability of your bearing and therefore shortening its life.
When driving on bumps, make sure to drive on the correct speed to avoid damaging the wheel bearing. Besides, try to avoid driving in mud or deep water as this moisture can infiltrate to the wheel bearing and cause it to damage.
The second thing you can do to extend the life of your wheel bearing is to choose the correct mechanic when replacing it.
If you had to replace the wheel bearing, make sure it is repaired correctly, and confirm that the mechanic shop does not use used parts (e.g., bolts, nuts, seals, etc.)
To decide whether it is worth replacing your wheel bearing or not depends on the car value and situation.
For example, if you know that your car is not worth a whole lot, you might rethink replacing the wheel bearing as the price of maintenance can be higher than the value of the vehicle.
Another example, if the car has other significant issues or has very high mileage, you might need to get rid of it instead of replacing the wheel bearings.
Some questions you can ask yourself to decide whether to replace your wheel bearings or get rid of the car:
- What is the value of my car as compared to the price of maintenance?
- Is there any other major issue in the car that needs to be repaired (e.g., brakes, transmission, engine, etc.)?
- How much is the car mileage?
- Is it now a good time to get rid of this car?
The wheel bearing is the component responsible for a smooth wheel rolling and strong load resistance. Wheel bearings are used in front and rear wheels.
There are many causes for a bad wheel bearing, including water, moisture, wear, and tear. It is straightforward to detect issues with your wheel bearing by listening to unusual noises, monitor the car behavior.
You can replace the wheel bearing on your own if the replacement is simple enough; however, you might need to consider a mechanic if things get more complicated.
Wheel bearing replacement cost depends on your car make, model, year, and the mechanic who will do the work for you.
If you decided to replace your wheel bearings, consider shopping for multiple mechanics and shops to get the best quotes and the best service.