Melanie Reiff
Updated on Nov 16, 2022
To keep your car rolling smoothly, a mechanic might need to replace the wheel bearings, a component of the hub assembly that supports the vehicle’s weight while letting the tires rotate freely.
Your wheel bearings are critical for keeping your wheels in place. If they’re damaged, you’ll need to get your vehicle to the shop as soon as possible or you risk the affected wheel separating from the vehicle.
Wheel bearings are like the Atlas of your car—holding up the weight of the world while making sure everything keeps turning smoothly. Here, the car insurance super app Jerry is breaking down everything you need to know about a wheel bearings replacement.
The exact cost varies between different Toyota models. For example, newer vehicle models are usually made with more expensive materials, so recent or high-end models will cost more, especially if your service requires a part replacement. Use the table below to estimate the cost for your own vehicle.
CarTotal Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostAverage Dealer PriceEstimated Service Duration

What is a wheel bearings replacement?

The hub assembly, which is at the center of each wheel, mounts the tires to the axles while enabling them to spin freely. Within this assembly, the direct point of contact between the stationary axle and the free-moving tire is the** wheel bearings**.
Even though wheel bearings are made from hardened steel, they support the entire weight of the vehicle and might require replacement at some point. To access and replace the wheel bearings, a mechanic will need to disassemble the hub assembly of the affected wheel and replace it.

How to replace wheel bearings

Most vehicles use unitized wheel bearings assemblies, which package bearings, seals, and lubricant together in such a way that they cannot be separated. If it fails, you must replace the entire assembly.
To complete a wheel bearings replacement, a mechanic will perform the following steps:
  • Assess the complexity of the task by considering the make, model, and year of your vehicle, as well as the position of the affected wheel(s) and whether your car is AWD, FWD, or RWD
  • Remove the brake rotor and caliper
  • Remove the large axle nut, push the axle back through the center of the hub assembly, and separate the hub assembly from the steering knuckle by removing three to six securing bolts
  • If necessary, remove the steering knuckle from the car—in some vehicles, the wheel bearings are pressed into a cavity within the steering knuckle, requiring the knuckle to be removed so they can be pressed out
  • If necessary, extract the axle from the axle carrier—in some vehicles, particularly trucks, the wheel bearings are pressed onto the axle shaft, requiring axle removal to access
  • Replace and install a new unitized wheel bearings assembly
  • Re-fasten the hub assembly to the steering knuckle (or within the steering knuckle) by tightening the bolts to factory specification, paying special attention to the torque to avoid damaging either part
  • If either were removed, replace the steering knuckle or axle shaft upon the axle or axle carrier, respectively
  • Secure the steering knuckle and hub assembly to the axle by tightening the large axle nut according to factory specification, making sure not to under or over-tighten—in many cases, the old axle nut may need to be replaced as well
  • Re-attach the brake rotor, caliper, and wheel, and then road test the vehicle

How do I know when my car needs a wheel bearings replacement?

Fortunately, faulty wheel bearings aren’t hard to diagnose. You’ll notice a characteristic growling or grinding noise from the wheels, which only worsens as the bearings wear down further.
When it’s safe to do so, you can try to pinpoint the wheel in need of service by gently swerving the car left and right. If the noise increases when the car turns left, then you can be reasonably sure the problem lies within the wheel bearings on the right—or vice versa.
Occasionally, the noise from a damaged tire can confuse or complicate the process. In that case, a mechanic can mount four remote wireless microphones to the vehicle (one over each wheel) and steer left and right while listening to the playback. This lets them accurately determine and locate the problem.
Other signs of worn wheel bearings may include:
  • Movement of the wheel hub up and down or in and out—Normally, the wheel hub remains fixed in place upon the axle while spinning freely, not “playing” about
  • A wandering/vibrating steering wheel—Loose or worn wheel bearings can result in a lack of stability while steering
  • Difficulty spinning the tire and wheel assembly—When mounted on a tire jack and in neutral gear, the wheels on a car should spin smoothly and freely
You should also check to make sure the brakes aren’t dragging and interfering. Noisy, rough, or inconsistent rotation can indicate damaged bearings.

How important is a wheel bearings replacement

If you suspect a problem with your wheel bearings, it’s important to get your car into a qualified mechanic as soon as possible. There’s no way to tell how long you have before the hub assembly completely fails and causes the wheel to break apart from the vehicle.
The growl of damaged wheel bearings may increase gradually as the problem worsens or may appear suddenly after impact with a curb or pothole. Generally, the worse it sounds, the worse the damage.
If you’ve racked up 100,000 miles or more on broken wheel bearings, it’s good practice to replace both bearings on the axle (driver and passenger side) at the same time.

How to find cheap car insurance

While car maintenance can be pricey, your car insurance doesn’t have to be. The car insurance super app Jerry can help you find affordable prices without sacrificing coverage.
It’s this simple: download the Jerry app and answer a few easy questions. In less than 45 seconds, Jerry collects all of your information from your existing insurer, scours more than 50 insurers to find the best deals, and presents you with the best options for your needs.
Once you choose a policy, Jerry takes care of the rest—securing your new policy and helping you cancel your old one. No long forms, no calling around, no hard work. Just savings. The average Jerry user saves $887 a year on car insurance.
Keep in mind that your location is another factor that determines the final cost of repairs. Areas with higher cost of living will usually have more expensive car repair services, especially if there’s less local competition. Check out the table below for an estimate of what Toyota drivers pay in different cities.
CityCarTotal Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostAverage Dealer PriceEstimated Service Duration
Jerry doesn’t just offer fair price repair estimates for Toyota drivers! Our team of writers has collected everything you need to know for every car. Here’s how much the repair costs for some popular cars:
CarTotal Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostAverage Dealer PriceEstimated Service Duration
The cost of repairs might vary depending on which Toyota you drive, but there’s an easy way to save money for the services you need! Just download the Jerry app for help lowering your insurance premiums. In less than 45 seconds, Jerry collects all of your information from your existing insurer. Choose from competitive quotes from top insurance companies and Jerry takes care of the rest—securing your new policy and helping you cancel your old one upon request.
With an average annual savings of $887, Jerry can help you free up funds for the repairs your Toyota’s needs.
The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.