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Volkswagen Beetle TDI Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

Wheel Bearing Replacement
The average cost for a Volkswagen Beetle TDI Wheel Bearing Replacement is between $265 and $304. Labor costs are estimated between $140 and $178 while parts are priced between $125 and $126. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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Wheel Bearing Replacement

What are wheel bearings?

A wheel bearing is a set of steel ball bearings that are held together by a metal ring (called a race) that allows the wheels of a car to spin with as little friction as possible. There are several types of wheel bearings used in cars: some require no maintenance; others can be disassembled, cleaned, and inspected for wear.

There are 4 different types of wheel bearings used on a vehicle:

  1. Hub type wheel bearing
  2. Sealed type wheel bearing
  3. Tapered wheel bearing set
  4. Axle mounted wheel bearing on some 4 wheel drive vehicles

What are signs of a bad wheel bearing?

A worn wheel bearing can cause a "rumbling" or “growling” noise when the vehicle is traveling at a speed of fifteen miles per hour or greater, especially when the weight of the vehicle leans toward the worn bearing. This is especially noticeable in long, steady turns, like may be experienced on a freeway exit ramp. The sound can mimic that of normal road noise caused by the tires, but it gets gradually louder over time. A vibration may also be felt in the steering wheel or in the floor panels. A severely worn bearing can cause a significant amount of noise. The wheel may have excessive play in it. If the bearing breaks, it can also cause a significant amount of damage to the suspension, cause the vehicle to handle poorly, and even cause a catastrophic malfunction if – in extreme cases - the wheel comes off the car.

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How do wheel bearings work?

A wheel bearing is part of the front and rear wheel hubs In the front, the hub connects the wheel to the steering knuckle of the front suspension. The wheel connects to the hub, and the hub spins smoothly inside the wheel bearing. This allows the weight of the vehicle to rest on the hub as it spins, while maintaining as little surface contact as possible. Minimal surface contact between the wheel hub and the steering knuckle (in the front) or the hub and the axle or knuckle (in the rear) results in minimal friction. The wheel bearing is lubricated with grease in order to further reduce friction. Most vehicles feature sealed wheel bearings that encapsulate the ball bearings and the lubricant in an assembly.

Can I drive with a bad wheel bearing?

A vehicle with a wheel bearing that is beginning to wear out can be driven, but as the wear increases, so do the chances of damage occurring to other parts of the suspension. If you suspect that a wheel bearing is beginning to wear, have a technician evaluate the problem as soon as possible. A vehicle with a significantly worn wheel bearing should not be driven. If the wheel bearing fails completely it is possible for the wheel hub and wheel to detach from the vehicle and cause serious damage or injury.

How often do wheel bearings need replacement?

Vehicles with traditional, tapered wheel bearings should have the bearings serviced every 25-30k miles. Most vehicles, however, have sealed bearings that do not require maintenance. Sealed bearings can last 100k miles or more and do not have a required maintenance schedule.

How are wheel bearings replaced?

To replace a wheel bearing, a technician will generally need to:

  • Lift and support the vehicle
  • Remove the wheel and tire
  • Remove the brake caliper and rotor
  • Remove the wheel hub and bearing - On some vehicles, the wheel hub and bearing are simply unbolted from the steering knuckle and can replaced as a unit. On other vehicles, however, the hub and bearing are pressed together into the knuckle and need to be removed with special tools. In these cases, the hub and new wheel bearing must be pressed into the knuckle on a hydraulic press.

How to replace a hub type wheel bearing

  1. Before raising the vehicle, remove the axle nut
  2. Raise the vehicle and remove the wheel and all of the brake components
  3. In some cases you may have to work from the back of the hub to access the fasteners
  4. Remove the wheel bearing hub fasteners and remove the hub
  5. Install the new wheel bearing hub assembly and torque the fasteners
  6. Re-install the brake components and wheel
  7. While the vehicle is on the ground, torque the axle nut and lug nuts to factory spec
  8. Test drive the vehicle to verify that the new wheel bearing is smooth and quiet

How to replace a sealed wheel bearing

  1. Before raising the vehicle, remove the axle nut
  2. Raise the vehicle and remove the wheel and all of the brake components
  3. Disconnect the outer tie-rod end, ball joint and sway bar link
  4. Remove the axle from the transmission and steering knuckle
  5. Disconnect the ball joint, steering knuckle fasteners and remove the steering knuckle
  6. Using a hydraulic press, separate the wheel hub from the steering knuckle
  7. Remove the backing plate and snap-ring securing the wheel bearing
  8. If equipped, remove any seals and press out the entire sealed wheel bearing
  9. Press in the new sealed wheel bearing, by applying force ONLY to the outer race
  10. Re-install the snap-ring ring, any needed seals and the backing plate
  11. Press in the wheel hub while supporting the inner wheel bearing race
  12. Re-install the steering knuckle, the axle and reconnect the steering components
  13. Re-install the brake components and wheel
  14. While the vehicle is on the ground, torque the axle nut and lug nuts to factory spec
  15. Test drive the vehicle to verify that the new wheel bearing is smooth and quiet

How to replace a tapered wheel bearing set

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle and remove the wheel
  2. Remove the brake components and wheel bearing dust cap
  3. Remove the axle nut cotter pin and remove the axle nut
  4. Remove the wheel hub, being careful not to drop the wheel bearings
  5. Remove any seals and remove the wheel bearings
  6. Remove the wheel bearings and the outer race from the hub
  7. Remove the inner race from the axle
  8. Clean the hub and axle to remove any dirt and old bearing grease
  9. Install the new inner bearing race on the axle and the new outer race in to the hub
  10. Carefully pack the new bearings with the correct type of grease
  11. Place the new bearings into hub and install the seal(s)
  12. Install the hub on to the axle and torque the axle nut to the specified pre-load
  13. Install a new axle nut cotter and install the dust cap
  14. Re-install the brake components and wheel
  15. Torque the wheel lug nuts and test drive the vehicle to verify that the new wheel bearings operate smoothly and quietly

How to replace an axle mounted wheel bearing

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle
  2. Remove the wheel and all of the brake components
  3. If equipped, remove any locking axle clips in the differential
  4. Remove the axle and press off the bearing and remove the seal
  5. Remove and replace the outer bearing race in the differential housing
  6. Install the seal and press on the new bearing to the axle
  7. Install the axle, its locking clip and torque the backing plate fasteners
  8. Re-install the brake components and wheel
  9. Torque the wheel lug nuts and top off any lost differential fluid
  10. Test drive the vehicle to verify that the new wheel bearing is smooth and quiet

Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost Estimates

The average cost for a Wheel Bearing Replacement is between $265 and $304 but can vary from car to car.

Can I replace wheel bearings myself?

It takes a skilled technician to replace wheel bearings. They must use special tools, disassemble the brakes, steering and suspension components all while the vehicle is off the ground on jack stands or up on a hoist. In some cases a 10 ton hydraulic press must be used to force the old bearings out and the new bearings in place. 

How are wheel bearings diagnosed?

If a vehicle is suspected to have a worn wheel bearing, a technician will likely take the vehicle for a test drive to verify where the sound is coming from and determine which wheel bearing is the culprit. In the shop, the technician might lift the vehicle in the air on a hoist, rotate the wheel, and listen for sounds from the wheel hub. The technician will also test the wheel for excessive play by holding the tire on each side and rocking the tire back and forth. If there is play in the wheel and the steering and other suspension components are in good condition, the bearing has likely worn out.

RepairPal recommendations for wheel bearing issues

RepairPal recommends that if a wheel bearing is making noise, it should be replaced as soon as possible. A wheel bearing needs to be replaced immediately if it is found to be loose or leaking during related repairs or inspections. RepairPal recommends that vehicles with pressed-in wheel bearings be referred to a professional technician for replacement.

What to look out for when dealing with wheel bearing issues

The front wheel bearing is an essential component of the vehicle suspension. The more a wheel bearing wears out, the more friction is created - and more damage that occurs. On most vehicles, the wheel bearing requires special equipment to be serviced. If a bearing is installed improperly, premature failure may result.