We see them on our roads occasionally, vehicles with a wobbly wheel, and we wonder how long before disaster strikes. We also hear a whiney howl coming from the vehicle and immediately recognise an unhealthy state of affairs with the wheel setup. While scalloped tyres and worn CV joints do emit alarming noises, it could well be a worn wheel bearing that’s making the unpleasant noise.
Replacing front wheel bearings is easy and www.startmycar.co.za has a comprehensive range of OE-quality wheel bearings and wheel bearing kits for cars, bakkies, minibuses and vans.Here are a few tips on how to execute a professional wheel bearing replacement...
• Drive the car and listen for noise coming from the wheels that gets more intense as the car speeds up. You should be able to easily identify which wheel is making the unholy noise.
• Check the tyres for uneven wear and scalloping.
• If you can’t identify which wheel is making the noise, jack the car up using jack stands and wheel chocks and test for play on each wheel both laterally and vertically. Spin the wheels and listen for excessive friction noise.
• Tools required include a socket set, breaker bar, hammer, slide hammer and a 12-ton shop press (find these at www.startmycar.co.za). Consumables include high temperature wheel bearing grease, penetrating oil, thread locker and anti-seize paste, all available at www.startmycar.co.za
• Once you’ve identified which wheel bearing is worn out, lower the vehicle to the ground and loosen the axle nut. Jack the vehicle up again and remove the wheel.
• Remove the brake caliper and ABS sensor connector from the hub assembly and rest the brake assembly on a box under the wheel well. Now remove the brake rotor. Use penetrating oil/spray and a hammer to loosen the rotor if stuck due to rust.
• Remove the hub bearing assembly. Replace the axle nut on the axle stud and tap the axle stud lightly with a four-pound hammer to release the axle from the bearing. Remove the wheel bearing bolts. A breaker bar and ratchet will do the trick. Now remove the hub bearing assembly using a slide hammer and/or penetrating oil and a four-pound hammer. To replace press-in bearings in the original hub assembly, use a shop press and wheel bearing grease.
• Clean the hub assembly with sandpaper and apply a few dabs of anti-seize paste to make future replacement easy.
• Fit the new wheel bearing using a medium-strength thread locker like Loctite Blue. Torque the bolts to the OE-specified setting.• Reconnect the brake assembly and the ABS sensor.
• Refit the wheel and you’re good to go!
Bottom line – Worn wheel bearings are not only dangerous, they also increase tyre wear and fuel consumption. They also cause noise pollution, so give your customers a smooth, safe driving experience with OE-quality wheel bearings from www.startmycar.co.za