How to Grease a Wheel Bearing? Step by Step Expert Advice

In general, most of the time a lot of attention is paid to the greasing engine and transmission. In some cases, you also need to pay extra attention to the grease brake pads and many other parts of your car. One such issue is wheel bearing.

Nowadays, some of the wheel bearings are pre-lubricated and sealed for life. But most of them aren’t. Regularly greasing and Lubricating your wheel bearing helps it to protect from damages and tears.

Before you start thinking about taking your automobile to a local mechanic, for this instance, consider doing that by yourself. Even though the job is messy, it’s easy and essential for smooth treatment. You will be able to finish it in an hour, so without further ado, let’s move on to the perfect Guide on How to Grease a Wheel  Bearing.

How to Grease a Wheel Bearing? Step by Step Guide

What is Wheel Bearing:

A wheel bearing is a spherical block of concrete and dense metal. The center of the block bears a hole where an axle bearing is placed, so when gravity and torque are applied, the wheel rotates.

Wheel bearings are essential for the proper function of the tire, hub, and wheel. It assembles them to work as a single system. A bad wheel bearing will cause unexpected and excessive tears and wear in the tire and hub assembly.

What is Wheel Bearing

Vehicle System:

  • Tools & Parts

Skill Level:

  • Intermediate

Time to Complete:

  • Depends on the Expertise level
  • Our Guide for beginners: 1 hour
  • Intermediate: 1 hour 
  •  Expert: 45 minute

Necessary Instrument Guide:

Working with automobiles is frustrating if you don’t have the necessary equipment at the right moment. So, the primary and foremost thing to do is to collect all the necessary equipment. All the essential instrument to grease a wheel bearing are as follows:

  • Tub of Wheel Bearing Grease

Ion Based Greases are the best ones to buy and work with for a beginner. They also give you a higher melting point, which is essential to reduce thermal damages. 

  • New Grease Seals

You probably need one if the previous one shows any minor sign of wears and tears.

  • Basic Hand Tools

This one is a must-have item if you are planning to repair your vehicles. Recommend you buy one that has at least 40 pieces of sockets.

  • Ball Joint

Basically, these ball joint connections are able to act as an alternative to your car’s hip-joint ball and socket design.

  • Disposable Gloves

If you don’t want to get really messy, use one.

  • Cloths or Rags

  • Wheel Bearing Grease Packing Tool

This grease packing tool must compose Cotter Pins, Lug wrench, Spray brake cleaner, and a Hand cleaner.

Steps to Grease a Wheel Bearing

Steps to Grease a Wheel Bearing:

Wheel Bearing Maintenance,  greasing, cleaning, and repacking is not challenging for an average person. The most important thing here is to do it with care and thoroughly. Here’s what you need to do to grease a wheel bearing.

Removing the Outer Races:

First of all, clean the Races and Hub with spirit alcohol. Separate the two races from the hub using a socket as a pusher.

Extend the socket using an extension bar, tap gently with a big hammer to push the races out of the hub.

Tip: First, push the smaller race then, the bigger one.

Checking and cleaning the bearings:

Clean the whole hub with alcohol. While cleaning the stub axle, avoid getting lubricant on the brakes.

Inspection: If the outer races are not in the stub axle, you need a new bearing. Not even a slight blemish or spot is acceptable in the bearing.

Advice: If changes of bearing is required, tap the outermost race into the hub using the old races as a pusher.

Lubricating the Bearings:

After the bearing is exposed, pack the bearing with an appropriate amount of the greases. Check the instruction manual of both the hub and greases to determine the right amount.

Caution: Some bearing is heavily loaded with grease on the central part, but some only need a slight coating.

For roller bearings, thickly coat the outermost race with grease. Spin the roller while applying greases, which will spread it evenly. Now, tap the inner race with tubular drift on the axle after greasing every space between the bearings. Insert the new grease seal, and your work is done here.            

Reassembling Wheel Bearings:

After greasing your wheel bearing, you can’t leave your car to reassemble itself; reassembling is one of the hardest things in this procedure. You can relate if you have broke cars into pieces in your childhood but never be able to reassemble them. But Fear not- we have got you covered here.

Coat the Stub axle, shoulder, and threaded edge lightly with grease. Now, cautiously drift the hub into the stub axle. You wouldn’t want to knock out the inner race from the outer ball bearing.

If the hub resists, carefully and gently hammer it, then insert the inner race.

Place the thrust washer’s chamfered side facing the bearing, then screw the nut hub in place. Fit the nut cover (if there is any), then check it using a split pin.

Finish the job by pushing the dust cover onto the hub.

Pro Level Tips and Hacks:

  1. Synthetic is the way to go for superior grease protection. 
  2. Every car needs a distinctive type of grease, know what your vehicle will suit best.
  3. While investigating the wheel bearings, if you find excessive noise in the front wheels, they mean the ball joints are damaged.
  4. Squicky or Metallic noises from the front wheels mean CV concern.
  5. Repacking the Wheel bearing on a boat trailer is easier.
  6. You can use Vaseline as a wheel bearing grease for any two-wheeler cycles.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What temperature is too hot for a bearing?

A: There is a simple and easy to remember rule of temperature for troubleshooting wheel bearings.

The temperature should not be more than 180° Fahrenheit (82° Celcius)  in the housing. The wheel bearing’s outer ring can reach up to 20° Fahrenheit (11° Celcius) more than the housing.

Q: What does it sound like when wheel bearing is bad?

A: The most obvious symptom of a bad wheel bearing is a loud sound from the tire and wheel. The sound resembles the sound of metal grinding a metal.

Q: How often do you grease wheel bearings?

A: Greasing Wheel Bearings depends on the vehicle types. For instance, you grease wheel bearings of a travel trailer every 6-7 months or 10000-12000 miles. But for automobiles like private cars, you may grease the wheel bearings every month.

Q: What happens if you over grease a bearing?

A: Over greasing a wheel bearing is more dangerous than it sounds. The more grease there is in the bearing, the more heat it will receive, which eventually will damage the tire and hub assembly. More grease and no grease have the same consequence.

John Farrell
 

John Farrell is highly-qualified general and operation manager has 7 years of experience. He is a certified machinery and equipment appraiser and certified equipment broker. He is also a registered Professional Engineer and is certified in SolidWorks, Motion Control and CNC Product Lines.

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