Know how to repack wheel bearings? Let’s face it – it’s not very often that we even think about automotive repairs like this, yet alone routine maintenance. We just drive and take our cars or trucks to be serviced if something goes wrong.
But did you know it’s actually still considered routine maintenance on many makes and models to service or repack wheel bearings every 30,000 or so miles? While even the dealer is only apt to cover this preventative repair perhaps only when doing brake jobs and the like, bad bearings can make for a heck of a problem later on if they go unchecked.
I’ve previously had bearings go bad before on my old Ford truck, but that’s been some time ago. When the same thing happened recently with my Chevy Silverado (you won’t miss the telltale shriek from the wheel), I figured I’d just drop it by the dealer and let them handle the problem.
Guess what? They wanted almost $900 to just replace the two front wheel bearings. No thanks! I was determined to do the repack myself. Now I’ve got to admit that I’m pretty frugal and fairly handy at the same time. I do some of the maintenance on my car when I can to save a buck or two.
If you’ve confident enough to do your own brake work, you won’t have much trouble learning how to repack wheel bearings. I know I didn’t.
In a nutshell, here are the steps:
· Remove the wheel.
· Remove the brake caliper.
· Remove the dust cap.
· Extract the cotter pin and dislodge the retainer ring.
· Loosen and remove the nut from the spindle.
· Pull away the hub assembly.
· Remove bearings and inspect.
· If they’re damaged, then replace.
· Otherwise, clean with a recommended solvent.
· Repack the bearings with grease (use a cone wheel packing tool)
· Begin reassembling in the reverse process of disassembly.
· Make sure everything is properly greased along the way.
To save time and getting grease all over yourself be sure to invest a wheel bearing packing tool. It is an inexpensive tool that can be picked up for under $10-$15.
It is a simple tool that consists of a hollow threaded shaft with a fixed cone on the bottom and a removable cone that screws up and down the shaft.
When it comes time to repack your bearings, you unscrew to top cone and place the bearing on the bottom cone. You screw to top cone down until it comes in contact with the bearing.
Next you attach a grease gun to the fitting on the top of the shaft. You squeeze the grease gun until the grease comes out of the roller bearing. You spin off the cone and apply grease to the outside of the bearings and you are done.
Be sure to cover the packing tool with a cloth or place it in a plastic bag to keep it clean.
If the steps don’t make much sense to you, that’s okay too… Just look for an automotive technician that works at affordable rates. While it’s a complicated job unless you’ve had some hands-on experience, it’s an easy routine task for most mechanics.