Car Questions
RepairPal is your advocate for car care advice and guidance

Why do I constantly have to replace the front wheel bearings?

(2004 Pontiac Montana)
in Erie, PA on March 21, 2011
I have owned the vehicle for 4 years now and probably have gone through about 8 sets of front wheel bearings. Some were cheaper products while others were supposed to be top of the line USA products. They last a few months to less than a year. Any thoughts on why I am having this issue all the time? They replace them under warranty, but this is getting ridiculous.

Displaying 4 answers & 4 comments
Popular Answer
on August 07, 2011
Improper torque is the main reason for premature failure of most newly installed bearing & hub assemblies. Too many times, I've watched some "so-called" technicians just use a impact gun to apply tightness to the axle nut. This is the nut that MUST be torqued with a torque wrench to apply proper torque & preload on the bearing & hub assembly. I worked beside a guy that didn't see the need to use the torque wrench to torque the axle nut, after he replaced the same bearing & hub assembly 3 times on the same car in 10 months, I was asked to take over & install the 4th assembly. I used the torque wrench & applied the proper torque to the axle nut, that was 2 years ago & it is still going strong! There is NO substitute for professionalism & the use of a torque wrench to set the proper torque & preload to the assemblies!
on January 17, 2014
Before changing anything, check the abs harness. If it is not shorted, follow my next advice. There are two reasons you have failures. Not purchasing the brand (Ac/Delco) that came on your vehicle and improperly tightening the spindle nut. I can't tell you how many Youtube videos I have seen that showed people using an impact wrench to torque down the spindle nut. You have to get out the service manual and torque the spindle nut using a torque wrench to the specification. Buying cheap aftermarket hub bearings is a mistake because those are made with cheap parts and wear out quickly.
on September 08, 2015
On my third set of bearings in two years. Something is not right. The ABS light has been coming on forever. Is that a possible sign? The van runs great with the exception of the constant $400. annual repair bill for new bearings. I have an ex wife and three teenagers. Can't afford and new vehicle. ( or wife).
on March 21, 2011
Make sure your wheel isn't bent, the tires are in good condition and balanced well, also get the brake disc checked for warpage. If the brake keeps overheating because of brake failure or driver error it could destroy the grease in the bering which will cause premature wear. Bent, vibrating CV axles could also be the problem.
Is the car drives smooth, without ANY vibration at all?

on March 22, 2011
The tires balance well and it drives smooth. I had new tires put on last year right around the same time the latest set of wheel bearings were put on. All was good until recently. The right tire wore oddly, but they found a bad tie rod on that it was the opposite side of the wheel bearing they replaced last week.

The break suggestion is interesting, and so is the CV axle. Not sure if anyone checked those things.

A car dealer mechanic told me that some cars simply don't take well to aftermarket wheel bearings, and that I should try OEM wheel bearings. Not sure about that idea. Thoughts?
on March 21, 2011
Are you having the same shop putting the bearings in? Maybe they're not following a prudent procedure and damaging them. I might want to find another shop, somethings wrong in this picture. I can't understand how wheel bearings (I assume that they're sealed units) could go bad like that, even if the alignment is bad. You don't commonly strike curbs or parking lot bumpers, do you? That may be enough abuse to cause it but what you report is very unusual.
If you want to find a specialist, here's a directory link for you:
on March 21, 2011
Thanks for the response. I have had two shops do several bearings each to rule out the human error part of it. Nope...not hitting curbs all the time or anything like that. The alignment is spot on according to the sheets they give me. The shop on Friday kinda threw up their hands and suggested having the frame looked at. They thought it could be bent and cause some stress on the bearings. So I called a reputable car dealer in the area that does that type of work. They do not think it could be the frame because if the frame was that far out the car would never take an alignment. Any other thoughts?

The two shops I used show up on your list also.
on April 22, 2011
I am on my 3rd set of wheel bearings in 2 years as well.
Get a repair estimate
RepairPal estimates are guaranteed at over 2,000 quality certified locations nationwide.
Or interested in getting a repair? Find a Shop

Similar Questions

View answers to similar questions from RepairPal's community of auto experts and enthusiasts.
The plastic container in the front rigth off the van, thats labeled coolent, is now empty. 2 days ago i had barely...
Got the van two days ago. was told when purchased that it needed a thermostat cause the heat wasn’t getting hot and ...
Didn't find what you were looking for?