Wheel Bearing Noises and Replacement Cost

What are Wheel Bearings and What Do They Do?

Wheel bearings allow rotation of the wheels while supporting the weight of the vehicle. A wheel bearing enables the wheel hub to rotate on the spindle or turn with an axle shaft, depending on the application.

Click here to find the average cost for a front wheel bearing replacement.

Click here to find the average cost for a rear wheel bearing replacement.

Wheel Bearing Failure Symptoms

  • Wheels may make a groaning or rumbling sound at speeds above 15mph or when turning
  • Failing wheel bearings may become loose and develop excess clearance or play
  • Vehicle may move to the side when braking
  • Increased vehicle vibration; in severe cases, vibration may be felt in the steering wheel

Related Repair Advice

  • The wheel bearing may be an integrated part of the vehicle's suspension. If so, the suspension or wheel hub may need to be removed to replace the wheel bearing.
  • There are several types of wheel bearings. Some require no maintenance; others can be disassembled, cleaned, and inspected for wear.
  • Most modern vehicles use bearings that are one piece, pre-assembled, and permanently sealed. These bearings can neither be inspected nor repaired; replacing the entire sealed bearing is the only service option.

 

Front or Rear Wheel Bearing Replacement

Failing wheel bearings develop excess clearance or play. One symptom that may develop when the bearing is put "under load" is a distinctive growling noise that can be heard when the wheels rotate at road speeds.

To replace wheel bearings located in the brake drum or brake rotor, the wheel is removed, as is the brake drum or brake disc. The wheel bearings are replaced and packed with fresh grease. If the wheel bearing is an integrated part of the vehicle's suspension, the suspension or wheel hub may need to be removed to ease wheel bearing replacement.