Wheel bearings are a vital part of your vehicle. When they go bad you need to replace them.
But how much should you expect to pay if you take your car to your local mechanic?
How much does a wheel bearing replacement cost in Australia?
Wheel bearing replacement can cost anywhere from $200 up to $700 or more.
This price can vary, depending on the age, make and model of your car.
If aftermarket parts are available for your particular car, repairs may be less expensive, while genuine replacement parts may cost more.
Newer vehicles normally cost more because they are more advanced and require more specialized equipment to perform repairs.
Higher-end models also tend to use higher quality parts that are more expensive which can also increase the overall cost of the repair.
What is a wheel bearing?
Bearings are found in all kinds of mechanical equipment from cars to washing machines.
Wheel bearings are specifically designed for use on vehicles where they are subject to high speed and stress loads. They have a long service life and are virtually maintenance-free, as they don’t need any lubrication.
A wheel bearing is a specially engineered set of balls or tapers held together by a ring. It allows the wheel to revolve smoothly with a minimal amount of friction.
Wheel bearings are located at the centre of each wheel and are what allow the wheels to spin freely.
They consist of two rings, called “races,” that the rolling elements inside them move against. The inner race is attached to the axle and rotates with it; the outer race is attached to the hub and turns with it.
On cars, there can be one or two bearings per wheel: most front wheels have a single bearing, and many rear wheels have one or two depending on the design.
How do Wheel Bearings Fail?
The bearings must be able to withstand a lot of stress and pressure for them to be effective. The vehicle’s weight presses down on them as it moves forward, and heat builds up when they rub against each other during rotation.
A high-quality bearing will last for years without any problems.
Wheel bearings wear out over time due to heat, friction and impact from road debris.
As they wear out, they make noise and cause the vehicle to vibrate excessively.
If the wear is not addressed, it can lead to increased fuel consumption and tyre wear.
Wheel bearings can also fail due to damage caused by a collision, or if they were installed incorrectly.
A damaged or worn bearing will eventually fail, causing the tire/wheel assembly to come loose from the vehicle or even break apart at high speed, resulting in an accident.
Most automotive bearings are sealed units (except for some rear axle bearings on trucks).
This means that once you remove the old bearing, you cannot inspect what went wrong inside it.
That’s why it’s good practice to replace both sides of a given axle at once (since they’re probably identical in age and mileage), even if only one side has failed.
Can you drive a car with a bad wheel bearing?
No. A bad wheel bearing can cause a vehicle to shake, vibrate, or pull to one side while driving. It can also cause the car to stop completely. In addition, a failing wheel bearing can put excess stress on other parts of the vehicle like the transmission, hub, and CV joints.
How long does it take a mechanic to change a wheel bearing?
A single wheel bearing replacement can take up to two hours depending on the type of vehicle and its age. Keep in mind that in some cases all of the wheel bearings on the vehicle will need to be replaced.