The reason your vehicle’s wheels can spin freely and without much friction related damage is wheel bearings. These bearings are a set of small metal balls put inside a car’s race (metal casing) which is then set inside the wheel’s hub.
You should check your wheel bearings from time to time, as they tend to fail, you’ll notice a howling noise. Here's a guide on how to tell if your wheel bearing is bad.
Although changing your vehicle’s wheel bearings is not considered much of a beginner friendly job, you can still do it if you have the right tools.
Although every vehicle is different, this instruction is a general guide.
Follow the steps given below –
Replacing Wheel Bearings
1. Park your vehicle on a flat surface
Park your car on a level ground. Do this as a necessary safety because if the car moves while changing the wheel bearings, it will be the worst thing possible.
Before start working on changing the bearings, park the vehicle with the parking brake up on a flat surface.
2. Put chocks behind the wheels to secure them
For the wheels that you are not going to modify, secure them well with putting chocks behind them.
Since the wheels you will modify will be elevated from the surface, these chocks will ensure added stability.
3. Loosen the lug nuts and lift the vehicle
One step before you elevate the wheels; loosen the lug nuts by a jack. Do this while the car is still on the ground.
Because the initial resistance force is pretty high and doing this step while the vehicle is on the ground will give the car extra strength and steadiness. After slightly loosening the nuts, carefully lift the wheel.
4. Unscrew the nuts and separate the wheel
Now that you have lifted the wheel, unscrew the nuts completely and detach the wheel. Put the nuts in a safe place that you can easily access later.
5. Detach brake caliper
Remove the bolts of the brake caliper by using a socket and a ratchet. Then, using a screwdriver, detach the caliper itself.
As a precaution, after removing the caliper, do not let it hang free because there is risk of brake hose damage. Rather tie it using a string to keep it in place.
6. Remove dust cover, and cotter pin
In rotors center, there is a small plastic/metal cap called a dust cover. Grip it with the caliper and with few hammering, it will come out easily. Then there is the cotter pin, remove it as well.
7. Detach Rotor
Placing your thumb safely on the rotor peg to firmly take it out. If it doesn’t come out easily, hit it with a hammer.
But however, know that hitting it with a hammer will damage it. So if you have plans to use it again, try avoiding hitting it with something hard.
8. Unscrew the hub nuts and detach the old hub
Behind of the hub, there are some bolts screwed from behind. Use a slim socket wrench to get them off.
You can also use a breaker bar to loosen them up initially. After removing the screws, remove the hub away.
If you want to replace the whole hub, you can just replace it now. But for total bearing replacement, keep reading.
9. Dismantle the hub group
Remove the hub away. Remove the end of hub and also if there is alb system, remove that as well. Remove the middle bolt and the bearing shall come off naturally.
10. Remove the races, clean the knuckle
You will have to remove the bearings by breaking them. In the meantime, clean the knuckle inside since there will be lots of grease.
11. Place new races and new wheel bearings
After cleaning up, put new races with wheel bearings and add few taps with the hammer. Add lots of grease to them and align the bearings properly. Push them inside as much as possible by hammering.
12. Complete the installation
Now that you have set the races back again, do all the previous steps in reverse order to rebuild the wheel. Secure the nuts properly and finally lower your car on the ground.
Congratulations, You finally did it. So you have replaced your vehicle’s wheel bearing, now you should do a test drive to know the repair is complete.