Americans spend over an hour driving every day, and that’s bound to put some wear and tear on our vehicles. This is why it’s essential to bring yours in for regular maintenance. Not only can it catch problems early on, but you can also get them fixed right away.
But not all issues require a trip to the auto shop. And if you’re handy, you can look out for small ones and address them on your own.
For example, you can watch out for a worn-out or broken front wheel bearing, then DIY the replacement. Here’s how.
When You Should Replace a Front Wheel Bearing
Before you start taking apart your car, you need to know the warning signs that indicate you need a new front wheel bearing.
Typically, you’ll need a new one every 85,000 to 100,000 miles. But this is a rough estimate; things like an accident or bad installation can cause premature failures.
Here are the things you need to watch out for.
If you’re driving and you hear squealing, clicking, humming, or grinding, it might be your wheel bearing. You can confirm it’s that specific part by doing two things.
First, try accelerating. You’ll get confirmation if the noises get worse and sound like rumbling, growling, or clunking.
You can also pull over and stop the car. If the noises go away when you’re at a standstill, then your problem is likely the wheel bearing.
Uneven Wear on Your Tires
When wheel bearings start failing, they loosen up, so your tires will wobble. As a result, there will be uneven wear and tear.
Give your tires a visual inspection every once in a while to ensure they’re ok.
Problems With Your Steering Wheel
Normally, your steering wheel will feel tight. But when the wheel bearing fails past uneven wear on your tires, you’ll get issues here.
Looseness, as well as shaking or pulsing of your steering wheel when accelerating or turning, are all bad signs.
Your Car Veering in Either Direction
When you’re driving, does it feel like your vehicle’s pulling to the side? Then you might have a broken wheel bearing, especially if this problem worsens when you apply the brakes.
You can usually tell which side’s compromised by the direction your car’s going. For example, if it’s veering to the left, then it’s a broken left wheel bearing.
How to Replace a Front Wheel Bearing
Luckily, it’s not a tough job to perform a replacement yourself. Buying replacement wheel bearings on a Ford F150 and other vehicles aren’t expensive. Plus, you can cut down on labor costs too.
Below are the steps for replacing a front wheel bearing.
Get the Right Tools and Equipment
In addition to getting the replacement bearings, you’ll need several other things before getting started.
Make sure you’ve got the following:
- Socket set
- Torque wrench
- Diagonal cutters
- Safety jack stand
- Floor jack
- Wheel chock
- Wire clothes hanger
- Bearing grease
- Safety glasses
Prepare Your Vehicle
Park your car on a flat surface (preferably in your garage). Put a wheel chock on the opposite tire of the wheel you’ll be working on.
Loosen the lug nuts with the ratchet. Don’t completely remove them, though, as you’ll need the tire to stay on for now.
Use both the safety jack and floor jack to lift your car securely. Afterward, you can remove both the lug nuts and tire.
Replace the New Front Wheel Bearing
Get your ratchet and socket set, and find the spindle. You can find it mounted to the suspension system. You might also find the brake rotor and caliper mounted here.
Loosen the disc brake caliper and bracket with the ratchet and socket set, then take off the caliper with your screwdriver. To avoid damaging the brake line, don’t let the caliper dangle loosely. Use the wire hanger as a hook to secure it.
Next, remove the outer wheel bearing with your pliers, and remove the cotter pin and retaining nut. Release the outer wheel bearing by sliding the rotor forward.
Put the retaining nut back and pull the rotor off. Release both the wheel bearing and grease seal.
Put your gloves on, get some bearing grease in your palm, then rub the new large wheel bearing into it so the casing is full of grease. Put it back into the rotor, rub more grease on the inside bearing cavity, install a new seal, and put the rotor back.
Do the same with the smaller bearing. You can now put the thrust washer and retaining nut onto the spindle.
Tighten the retaining nut and install a new cotter pin.
Use your ratchet and sockets to put the brake rotor and caliper back. Put the wheel back, and tighten the lug nuts with your hands.
To lower your vehicle safety, first, remove the safety jack stands. Then lower your car slowly, and once it reaches the floor, you can tighten the lug nuts with your torque wrench.
Remove the floor jack, and you’re done!
Why You Need to Promptly Replace a Front Wheel Bearing
Weird noises, a loose and shaking sheering wheel, and veering, may seem like minor annoyances. However, it’s of the utmost importance that you replace this faulty part ASAP.
When the bearings are compromised, dirt, debris, and contaminants can get into them. This increases friction, as well as heat, and as a result, the wheel bearing can lock up, possibly permanently.
As you can imagine, a locked-up wheel can cause accidents. So if you don’t feel comfortable changing the front wheel bearing yourself, bring your vehicle to a trusted auto shop.
Keep an Eye Out for a Faulty Front Wheel Bearing
A compromised front wheel bearing has plenty of warning signs, which is good for you. Now that you know them, you can keep an eye out for them.
If you suspect you need a replacement, then you can follow our instructions to do a quick and affordable fix.
Check out the rest of our blog page for more automotive posts.