You may have read about or heard about wheel bearings, and you may be wondering how much does it cost to replace a wheel bearing. It’s not clear to me what they are. Steel balls or rollers encased in a ring of metal sit inside the hollow core of your wheel hub, where they’re supported by a metal sleeve. In order to keep your automobile rolling smoothly, you need a wheel bearing that rides on your car’s axle.
It is important to note that every automobile has a wheel bearing on each of its wheels, which we shall cover in further detail in the next sections.
Wheel bearings are vulnerable to wear and tear since they withstand the weight of your vehicle when you’re driving. Driving on uneven, pothole-filled roads might increase your risk of a car accident. Over time, other driving conditions like too much water or dirt might damage the wheel bearings.
Wheel bearings, like most other automotive parts, eventually wear out. It is also possible for the wheel bearings to be severely damaged in a catastrophic collision. Our discussion of wheel bearing types, symptoms to look out for, and the cost of replacement will continue in the next sections.
Read More: Timken Wheel Bearing Review
What Are Wheel Bearings?
A metal ring holds together a series of steel balls or tapers known as wheel bearings. They make it possible for the wheels to spin smoothly and with the least amount of resistance. These hollow metal components, known as hubs, are located in the middle of a vehicle’s wheels. Axle shafts are mounted on metal hubs, and the tight fit between the shafts and the wheels’ bearings helps keep the wheels spinning smoothly.
In contrast to engine bearings, which are lubricated on a continuous basis, wheel bearings are manually lubricated. A properly maintained set of wheels can help keep out dirt, wetness, and dust. When the vehicle is in motion, its weight is evenly distributed throughout the vehicle’s frame, causing a lot of wear and tear.
Amazon Recommended Wheel Bearings
Signs and Symptoms of A Bad Wheel Bearing
Wheel bearings normally degrade gradually, giving you time to take action unless you hit a major pothole or have a sudden problem with the wheel seal.
Potholes and other poor driving conditions, such as slush and mud, accelerate the deterioration of wheel bearings.
In other words, even if your inner child begs you to drive across that enormous puddle, resist the urge.
However, if you do have wheel bearing issues, you may experience the following signs and symptoms:
Noise That Makes You Scream
Noise is the most prevalent sign of a damaged wheel bearing. Different kinds of noise might be generated depending on the underlying source of the issue.
Your car’s engine may make a grumbling or growling noise as you go ahead or turn the wheel.
There is a chance that the noise will stop briefly before returning. It is also conceivable that you may not notice the noise when you drive the car, but a pedestrian outside will, thanks to current cars’ sound insulation.
When the noise is persistent, it sounds more like a whine. If you’re traveling on an uneven road, you could hear the sound of a defective wheel bearing.
Problems With the Steering
The steering is greatly aided by the wheel bearing. A malfunctioning one might cause a variety of issues.
Loose steering and vibrations in the steering wheel are the two most common symptoms.
As you increase your speed, you’ll likely notice an increase in steering wheel vibrations. If this happens to you while driving, pull over immediately.
There may be a faulty wheel bearing if your automobile leans to one side when traveling straight. Most of the time, this issue is caused by misaligned wheels or faulty brakes (if it happens during braking).
Even if your wheel alignment is perfect, it’s comforting to know that it’s possible the problem is with your wheel bearings.
It’s likely that you’ll notice a tremor throughout the vehicle, but this, too, might have a variety of causes.
Uneven Deterioration of Tires
Uneven tire wear is another symptom commonly ascribed to incorrect wheel alignment. Unequal tire wear might be the result of a wobbly wheel bearing, which causes uneven contact with the ground.
There are many other possible causes for this problem; thus, it is important to rule out all of them.
It is possible for the anti-lock braking system (ABS) to give out an error signal if the wheel bearing is damaged.
The wheel hub houses a wheel speed sensor that communicates with the ABS. Vibrations and shaking might damage the sensor if the wheel bearings are faulty.
As a result, the ABS warning light will come on since the system isn’t functioning properly.
The Types Wheel Bearing
For a variety of reasons, different manufacturers utilize various types of wheel bearings; some are simpler to produce, while others enhance the vehicle’s performance. Some types of wheel bearings that are regularly used include the following:
1. Ball bearings
Because of their versatility and simplicity, these bearings are among the most widely utilized. Radial loads (the weight of the automobile on the wheel) and thrust loads (cornering pressure) may be handled quite effectively by them. This is a common design element in automobiles, bicycles, and even roller skates.
2. Precision ball bearings
Similar to ball bearings, they are used for a wide range of applications. As a result, these bearings are able to withstand far more stress than normal ball bearings, as their rotational speed is higher and friction is reduced.
Using these advantages, additional performance may be extracted from the automobile. Because they can withstand more pressure, they may be put to work in more demanding and harsh situations. Race automobiles, performance or exotic cars, and even airplanes use this type of bearing.
3. Roller bearings
This sort of bearing is unlikely to be found in a car because of its inability to withstand the lateral forces of a turn. Low-to-medium-speed loads are the only ones they can manage. In shopping carts and hand trucks, you’re more likely to come across this.
4. Tapered roller bearings
In automobiles and trucks, tapered roller bearings are also widespread. Roller bearings in the shape of cones will replace the traditional round ball bearings, enhancing cornering force. Consequently, the usage of tapered roller bearings is more prevalent than that of ordinary roller bearings.
The Cost of Wheel Bearing’s Change/Replacement
The cost of wheel bearing replacement depends on the make and model of the vehicle, as previously stated. You’ll need to check with your local dealership or a nearby repair shop in order to get an accurate estimate of the cost. However, here are a few samples to give you a sense of the cost:
As a starting point, let’s look at the 2018 Toyota Camry. Front wheel bearing and hub assembly replacement costs $363. However, a rear wheel hub and bearings costs $574. Note that this is the factory-installed price from Toyota, which excludes the cost of labor. “
The front wheel bearing and hub assembly costs $397 for the Camry, while the rear wheel bearing and hub assembly costs $298.
A sports vehicle, a pickup truck, or a luxury car may have more expensive wheel bearings to repair. This isn’t always the case, but it does occur with some vehicles. There are two possible reasons for the price difference: either the entire assembly is more difficult, or the manufacturer is just charging extra for the spare components.
For a 2014-2019 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG with AIRMATIC suspension, the advertised price for a wheel bearing replacement is $970. To put it another way, it’s more than what you’d spend for a Toyota Camry.
You should keep in mind that these prices are for the full hub assembly and are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts. If you can replace only the wheel bearings rather than the complete hub, the cost will be significantly lower. The wheel bearing alone on a 2018 Toyota Corolla costs only $64 dollars.
Average Cost of Wheel Bearing Change
Between $60 and $150 for only the bearing, and $200 to $400 for a complete replacement of the bearing and hub assembly for each wheel, depending on the model of car. It’s possible to anticipate paying anything from $70 to $280 for labor depending on where you live and how many wheel bearing assemblies you’re fixing or replacing, as well.
It will cost between $400 and $800 to replace the bearing and hub assemblies on both sides of the axles, and if you replace all four it would cost twice as much.
Aside from that, these estimations are based on OEM parts. A bearing and hub assembly from a third-party manufacturer like MOOG may be had for roughly $150, which is about half the cost of an OEM item. Even if they aren’t OEM components, you should examine the reviews to see what other people have to say and to be sure the product is of excellent quality and has a solid guarantee.
Wheel bearings are a critical component of your vehicle that ensures that your wheels revolve smoothly at all times. They normally have a lengthy service life, with an average lifespan of roughly 100 000 kilometers.
There are several distinct sorts of indications that indicate that your wheel bearings are in poor condition. When driving and turning, the vast majority of them will make a noise.
Other signs and symptoms, such as steering issues and uneven tire wear, may also manifest themselves.