The axle bearings hold the weight of your car while allowing the wheels to turn freely. Your axle bearings may become worn due to carrying especially heavy loads or the protective seal can just erode with time and regular use.
If your car growls when it comes to a stop or the wheel is constantly leaking gear oil, you may need to replace your axle bearings. This is an intensive auto repair task that is frequently performed by professionals so if you are not confident in your ability to remove axle bearings, it is a good idea to take your car to a mechanic. However, if you’re a seasoned handy person that is ready to take on a challenging task, here’s a step-by-step guide.
Prepare your vehicle
Before removing your car’s axle bearings, you’ll need to find an even work surface. A garage is best, but any flat, stable surface will do the trick. In addition, you need the following items:
- Jack stands
- The bearing replacement/removal tool
- Socket wrenches
- Impact wrench/power drill (if needed)
- Safety goggles
Make sure to read the instructions for the bearing replacement/removal tool before you begin.
How to remove axle bearings
It’s time to get to work. Follow the steps below to remove the axle bearing or bearing from your car.
Put on the parking brake: Start by putting on the parking brake. This keeps the vehicle from moving as you jack it up.
Jack up the vehicle: Refer to your owner’s manual to determine the carjack placement and jack up the car.
Put jack stands in place: Once the car is elevated, put the jack stands underneath the vehicle. Raise all four wheels of the car using the jack and placing them on jack stands to ensure that the car remains stable while you work on it.
Remove the trays and coverings: Remove the various covers and trays underneath the chassis of the vehicle to allow easy access to the axle on the back of the vehicle where the rear axle bearings are located. You also need to remove any plastic covering that obscures the suspension.
Remove the wheels: Loosen your wheel’s lug nut bolts and remove the wheels from the axle on the sides where you plan on replacing the axle bearing. Auto experts suggest replacing the axle bearing on both sides, as signs of wear on one side usually means the other is soon to follow.
Remove the brake pads: Next, remove the brake pads and the calipers. Don’t disconnect the calipers from the brake line; simply set them aside until finished.
Release the parking brake: Release the parking brake. If left on, the parking brake mechanism that touches the rear axle will be in the way.
Remove the disk rotor: Remove the disk rotors. They are the element of your car that the brake pads make contact with during the braking process. You might need a hammer to break the rotor loose.
Remove the axle bearings: Using a bearing replacement/ removal tool, separate the bearing from the axle shaft by pushing them apart. If needed, use an impact wrench, slide hammer, or power tool, as directed by the removal tool instructions.
Make sure to wear safety goggles when removing the axle bearings. The cases that contain axle bearings are notoriously brittle and shatter like glass if enough force is applied.
Now the removal process is complete and you’re ready to install a new bearing!