Dealing with a bad wheel bearing or howling wheel? If you want to know if you should replace only a press-in wheel bearing or the entire hub assembly, check out these tips from our expert mechanic Len.
Replace Only the Press-in Wheel Bearing or the Entire Hub Assembly?
The Difference Between Bolt-on and Press-in Wheel Bearings
There are two kinds of wheel bearings: press-in and bolt-on.
Bolt-on Wheel Bearings
A bolt-on wheel bearing is easier to replace than a press-in bearing. They require removing the wheel, brakes, and axle nut, and then unbolting the wheel bearing from the steering knuckle. The wheel hearing and hub will come as one assembly and don’t require any dissembling.
Press-in Wheel Bearings
A press-in wheel bearing requires pressing the original bearing out of the knuckle and pressing the new one in with specialty tools. It can also increase the possibility of damaging other parts, like the lower ball joint when it needs to be separated from the knuckle, tie rod, or ABS module.
Why You Should Replace the Press-in Wheel Bearing with a New Hub
After you’ve diagnosed your wheel bearing and know that it’s faulty, you might be wondering if you should replace the press-in wheel bearing or the entire wheel bearing and hub assembly. Here’s why we recommend replacing these parts together:
You’ll Be Installing a Brand New Wheel Hub
Replacing the parts together also means you’ll be installing a brand new wheel hub. You won’t have to worry about the old hub being damaged, bent, or warped. Even if you can’t visually see a warp, if the hub has warping, it’ll lead to a wobbling wheel or brake pulsation.
You Won’t Need to Remove the Old Bearing from the Hub
When removing the wheel bearing from the hub, generally if there’s a race stuck to the hub, you’ll need specialty tools and more time and effort. If you choose to replace the worn hub with a new one, you won’t need to spend any time removing the old bearing from the hub.
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