Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost: Pros and Cons 2022
The wheel bearing allows your wheels to spin freely in alignment with your vehicle’s axle, and this movement involves very low friction. The bearings are designed to enable you effortlessly drive your vehicle, but what happens when these wheel bearings fail?
Wheel bearing failure affects your whole driving, and in some cases, you might not be able to drive your vehicle.
Before you head to the repair shop, you should have an idea of wheel bearing replacement cost, so you can have the right budget.
Let’s extensively see what wheel bearings are, how they function, and how much their replacement costs.
How Much Does It Cost For Wheel Bearing Replacement?
On average you can replace your wheel bearing for about $400; this price should be applicable for most cars on the different sides.
Although wheel bearing replacement cost also runs from $150 to $200, we should include labor cost which is around $200 or less, depending on the auto repair shop.
So it’s still within the $400 range as we stated earlier.
Wheel bearing replacement is quite a tedious job, the mechanic will have to remove the wheel along with the whole hub assembly.
If you aren’t a professional mechanic, you won’t be able to replace your wheel bearing yourself. Even with a mechanic, it should take a few hours to complete the task. The process is labor-intensive.
Some specialized tools are also needed to take on this job. If you intend to try handling the job yourself, considering you have some sort of technical know-how, so you can save some money.
You need to maintain focus on this article. Towards the conclusion of this piece, we show you the best method on how you can carry out wheel bearing replacements.
Your vehicle’s model also plays a role in determining the cost of wheel bearing replacement.
If your car is very expensive, then there’s a higher probability that you will need to procure expensive parts. You might also require more labor, which will in turn increase the overall replacement cost.
You should be able to get the wheel bearing of an old Toyota replaced at $300. But for a Mercedes, you might spend over $800 for that same replacement.
For vehicles with a bad hub assembly, you will have to change the entire assembly, and this can be very expensive. But products like AA Ignition Front Wheel Hub are affordable.
You also have to consider the various types of wheel bearings, and they vary in price. Some wheel bearings cost a lot more than others.
We will expose some of these types later on in this guide.
What does Wheel Bearing Mean?
Car owners who might not be familiar with the various parts of their vehicles might not know what the wheel bearing of a car looks like.
Well, a wheel bearing is basically made up of steel balls in a metal ring. The casing of this ring is round and there’s a hole right in the middle, and that’s where the axle fits into.
Your wheel bearing rests on the axle, and you have the wheel hub assembly fixed to it.
The wheel, tires and wheel hub are able to spin because of the wheel bearing. If your wheel bearing is faulty, you will definitely have high friction in that area. There’s a high chance you will hear grinding noise as your bearing begins to wear out.
The bearing is expected to cause minimal friction, so when it can’t perform this function, you will easily detect that it’s faulty.
When it becomes bad, it is necessary that you replace it. Leaving a bad wheel bearing in your vehicle can damage other vital parts like the brake rotors due to high friction.
Kinds of Bearing Wheel
You have several options of bearing wheels in an auto shop, and you can also find them installed on cars. Due to the growth in technology, automobile manufacturers have come up with a more efficient process to design bearing wheels.
These improvements have produced various kinds of bearing wheels that are much better than the previous make. This is our list of the existing types of the wheel bearing.
It is necessary that you have the right Wheel bearing installed in your vehicle so that the load can be evenly shared amongst your wheels.
Precision Ball Bearings
The precision Ball bearings are quite the same as the ball bearings. But despite their similarity, there are some differences.
The rotation speed of the precision ball bearings is much higher than that of the regular ball bearings, and it reduces friction efficiently, thereby lowering the production of heat. This allows your wheels to handle high pressure and load.
The advantages of the precision ball bearings also affect the whole car’s performance.
Since this type of bearing can handle high pressure, you can be able to use your vehicle for extreme purposes. This bearing is usually found in airplanes, sports cars, and even exotic cars.
Tapered Roller Bearings
You can find the tapered bearings in trucks and some cars. Unlike other bearing designs, this bearing has a cone-like shape, instead of the regular ball shape.
This unique design helps with the pressure. Due to this reason, a lot of manufacturers use the tapered roller bearings more than the regular roller bearings. Those who have these types of wheel bearing will need a tapered bearing set to replace your system.
Ball bearings are a very popular type of bearings as they are simple and versatile.
You can see ball bearings on a lot of cars, especially old vehicles. They can handle the radial load, which is that vehicle’s load on the wheel, and also thrust load very well. Most bikes, skateboards, and other movable machines use the bearing beatings for their wheels.
It can be very difficult to find roller bearings in your common motor vehicles, and this is because they can’t cope with cornering pressures.
So manufacturers do not use them in producing most cars. Roller bearings can handle loads when driving at medium or low speeds only. You can find this type of wheel bearing in hand trucks and carts.
What are the Symptoms of a Faulty Bearing Wheel?
How do you know when your bearing wheel is going bad? There are quite a few signs of wheel bearing fault that precisely tell you that your bearing wheel is bad.
Once you spot any of these symptoms, immediately drive your car to the nearest auto repair shop, so a professional mechanic can conduct a proper check.
Rough Tire Wear
A faulty bearing wheel causes uneven tire wear, and this is also taken as a wrong wheel alignment. When your wheels are not well aligned, it can lead to uneven wear on more than one tire of your vehicle.
Also, when a tire is wearing out so fast than it should, at least compared with the rest of the tires, then you probably have a faulty bearing wheel. Although, in some cases, it might be a lousy ball joint. Take your car to the mechanic, so you know the exact fault.
The vibration of the Steering Wheel
When you have fully functional bearings, they will move smoothly. But when one of the bearings starts to falter, it’s going to increase the friction.
Hence, preventing the easy movement of the bearings. Your steering wheel might begin to vibrate because of this issue, mostly when you have a bad front wheel bearing.
The smallest amount of friction can be moved to your steering wheel via the steering knuckle. When your rear wheel bearing is bad, it also has other signs.
If your wheel bearing produces any noise at all, it signals a faulty bearing because they are supposed to be quiet as they spin.
Grinding sounds are one of the common symptoms of a faulty wheel bearing. If you observe something like a grinding sound coming out from your wheel section as your tires move, then you’ve gotten yourself a bad-bearing wheel.
This states that your bearing lubricant feature has faded away, and your rollers or balls are now in direct contact with your casing ring.
Hence, causes high friction between the parts, and this will cause more damage if not properly handled.
Car Tilting to One Side
When your vehicle tilts to one side while you drive, you might be looking at a bad wheel bearing. If that’s the case, you must try to change them.
But it could also be a minor wheel misalignment problem, then you have a critical problem on your hands; it could be a faulty bearing.
Too much movement of the bad bearing will make your wheel tilt to one side as you cruise around, and the load isn’t distributed evenly anymore. So you might have more of your car’s weight on one side.
The wobbling of the Wheels
Your wheel bearing is meant to fit firmly in the assembly of the wheel bearing. This tells us that your wheel should roll as designed, and it shouldn’t wobble to its sides.
Most mechanics check for this fault to know if your vehicle has a bad bearing. With your wheel off the ground using your jack. You can try shaking your wheels to their various, and observe for excess movement. If your diagnosis confirms this, then your bearing is lousy.
Wheel Bearing Replacement
As we mentioned earlier, vehicles are designed with various kinds of wheel bearing, and this means that the wheel bearing replacement cost will differ from car to car.
In order to determine the real cost, you might have to get that information from your local dealership or visit an auto repair shop.
For instance, in the 2018 Toyota Camry, if you want to change the front wheel bearing, will cost you around $300, and this includes the hub assembly.
While changing the rear hub bearings and wheel hub, you might spend not less than $500. Please note that these prices do not include labor costs, it’s just OEM prices.
As for the Toyota Corolla, you may use about $400 for each of the hub assembly and front wheel bearing, but the rear one should cost you about $300 each.
You need to be aware that wheel bearing replacement cost is much higher in luxury vehicles, including sports cars. For example, for the 2014 Mercedes Benz with airmatic suspension, the wheel bearing replacement cost for this vehicle should be from $900 upwards.
In situations where you do not need to change your whole hub assembly, then replacing your wheel bearing might be a lot cheaper. Only wheel bearing replacement should cost you $70 on a Toyota Corolla.
What Happens If I Ignore A Bad Wheel Bearing?
Ignoring a faulty bearing wheel will only injure your vehicle more, and might cause irreparable damage. The bad bearing will cause additional friction that will produce too much heat, which will damage vital parts. If the bad condition of your bearing gets critical, your wheel might stop spinning, and thats very dangerous, especially while you drive. Once you notice that you have a bad wheel bearing, please repair it as soon as possible.
Can I Change Just One Bad Wheel Bearing?
Yes, if one of your wheel bearings is bad, you can replace just that one. It is not compulsory to change the bearings of the entire wheel unless you suspect it’s bad. You can replace both the inner and outer wheel bearing of the faulty wheel if you can afford the expense, but if not, just replace only the faulty one.
How Long Does Wheel Bearing Last?
Your wheel bearing is meant to last for 100,000 miles before you need to think about replacing them. Some car bearings might even last longer, depending on the design and standard. While you may need to change the bearings sooner in some cars. Your driving conditions also determine the durability of your wheel bearings.
What Does It Sound Like When A Wheel Bearing Is Going Out?
The usual sound that depicts a faulty wheel bearing is a squealing or chirping noise. You can also be able to tell if your bearings are bad, when it happens anytime you change your speed. If left unattended, the sound gets worse with every turn to make.
Do Wheel Bearings Affect Brakes?
Yes, a really bad wheel bearing can affect your brakes, and make you have a soft brake pedal. Just so you know, your brake rotors are held along with the wheel bearings. If your wheel bearing is lousy, the rotor will shake excessively, and this wobbling effect can cause it to force the caliper piston straight into its hole.
Having a lousy wheel bearing is very frustrating, but when this fault is caught at its early stage, you won’t have to spend much on the wheel bearing replacement.
You should be able to replace your bearing for $200 or less, but if you need to change the entire axle it must be more expensive. Wheel bearing replacement costs might be high, but it isn’t a job for learners, you must be a qualified mechanic to carry out this repair.