Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost? A Complete Budget Guide

Wheel bearing replacement cost can be overwhelming or cheaper, depending on a few factors. Unfortunately, wheel bearings are one of the car components that quickly wear out and need to be replaced. Even if the costs are high, you can find a way of cutting them down to suit your pocket.

Bearing Of Vehicle_s Wheel

In this post, we’ll discuss all the factors that go into calculating the cost of replacing a wheel bearing and what you can do to cut down costs.

What is the Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost?

The wheel bearing replacement cost is between $200 and $550, depending on where you live, the type of bearings and the labor involved. Replacing the bearings yourself would definitely be less expensive than employing the services of a mechanic. Also, the number of damaged wheel bearings should be considered.

 

Your Location Determines the Cost

Where you live will determine the cost of labor, the tools, and even the bearings. The economic situation in big and affluent cities will drive the cost of replacement up. This is because mechanics and garages in those cities will need to pay huge fees to maintain their lifestyles and shops. They would also have to pay their staff, taxes and many monetary obligations.

A Modern Repair Shop With High Technology

Thus, these costs are transferred onto the consumer by factoring them into the final price. However, if you live in a small town where the cost of living is low, then you might get a good price for replacing your wheel bearings. The bearings themselves will be cheaper because garages and mechanics don’t have expensive overhead costs to cover.

Due to these considerations, some people suggest driving to places with cheaper replacement costs to restore your bearings. Though that seems like a laudable idea, consider the risk and the cost involved in traveling to those places. If the cost of travel is significantly lower than the cost of replacement in your city, then go for it. However, it is economical to have the failing wheel bearings replaced in your city if the cost of traveling to another city is higher.

The Type of Car and Model

The type of car and model heavily influence how much you have to pay to replace its wheel bearings. Some vehicles are quite complex; therefore, it takes a lot of energy and effort to get to their wheel bearings. You’ll have to disassemble and reassemble many parts, oil some components, clean others, scrape rust, lift heavy metals, etc. All these activities are labor-intensive and drive up labor costs.

Different Models Of Cars

Also, some types and models of vehicles require specialized tools to access the wheel bearings and to replace them. Thus, the garage or mechanic might need to purchase these tools to help them do a perfect job. Even if the garage has these tools in stock, you might still have to pay for their use, which increases the replacement cost.

Another factor is the availability of the components and wheel bearings. The parts of some vehicles are easily available, while others are limited in supply. The ones that are easily accessible might be cheaper than the parts that are limited because of a simple economic principle: The abundance of a product drives down the cost, while the scarcity of a product makes it more expensive.

The Type of Wheel Bearings

The type of wheel bearings will also affect the cost of replacement because some bearings are more expensive than others. The wheel bearings come in two common types: standard roller bearings and sealed wheel hub bearing assembly. The sealed hub assemblies are more complicated to replace because they contain the wheel hub, sensors and other intricate components. Thus, both the cost of labor and parts makes replacing them more expensive.

Rusted Wheel Bearing of Automobile

Also, some bearings are in units (like tapered roller bearings), while others are separated entities (precision ball bearings). Replacing a broken bearing in a unit is much easier and more convenient but more expensive upfront. The same thing can be said about the brand and quality of the bearings. Higher-quality bearings tend to cost more because of their durability and performance, while cheaper ones don’t last.

Moreover, if your wheel hub bearing comes with a sensor, then you might need to replace the sensor as well. Most modern vehicles feature ABS systems and traction control, which prevents the wheels from locking when you apply the brakes on a slippery road. These sensors are integrated into the wheel bearings and might need to be replaced when damaged. Thus, they’ll increase the cost of replacing the wheel bearing.

Specialists Charge Higher

Some car models require special knowledge to repair and maintain them and the same applies to their wheel bearings. Your average mechanic might not have the requisite knowledge to replace the bearings, probably because the bearings are complex.

Professional Mechanic In Blue Uniform

You’ll need to employ the services of a specialist to repair the bearings, and these specialists might charge more for labor. Thus increasing the expense of replacing the bearings.

Whether You Use a Garage of Individual Mechanic

Where you go to replace the bearings might affect how much you pay for the service. If you go to a dealership, expect to pay more because they factor other costs into each service. Dealerships have overhead costs that they need to cover; thus, their services are more expensive. However, an independent mechanic might charge lower because their overhead costs are lower.

This is different from the cost of living in your location (state or city), as mentioned in earlier paragraphs. Big cities have dealerships and independent mechanics, and both charge differently, although their charges are higher than those in smaller towns. Simply put, an individual mechanic in a big city may cost less than a dealership in the same big city.

The Number of Bearings and Components To Be Replaced

Also, the number of bearings to be replaced will determine the cost of replacement. Replacing one bearing should be cheaper than two or more due to the cost of each bearing. Also, changing the bearing on one wheel would be cheaper compared to replacing the bearings on two. Also, the cost of labor in replacing fewer bearings would be lower compared to the cost of changing more bearings.

Technician While Changing The Wheel_s Bearing

However, many mechanics recommend replacing the bearings on both wheels, even if it is only one wheel that is faulty. The reasoning is to ensure a balanced performance and to mitigate problems in the future. Others also claim it is unnecessary and a waste of time and money. Therefore, we recommend you speak with your mechanic to understand the needs of your car and advise accordingly.

One thing that might drive up the cost is additional components. If you need to disassemble the car brakes, dust shields, etc., during the process, then you might pay extra. The cost is even higher if you remove them and discover that they are damaged and need replacement.

Repairing It Yourself or Professional Service

Replacing the rear wheel bearings yourself is more cost-effective than hiring a professional or taking it to the garage. You can save a lot of money on labor but be prepared to spend hours and energy on manual labor. This will also depend on the type of vehicle because some vehicles can only be repaired by specialists or their designated garages. Any DIY attempts could result in damaging the vehicle and voiding the warranty or car insurance.

Process of Bearing Replacement

However, if your wheel bearings can be repaired by anyone with an average DIY skill, then go for it, especially if you’re on a budget. However, you’ll need to be skilled in fixing wheel bearings and other components connected to them. If you don’t have any experience but are a handyman, you can check your vehicle’s manual for directions.

How To Cut Down Wheel Bearing Replacement Costs?

To cut down wheel bearing replacement costs, get quotes from reputable mechanic shops, take advantage of discount sales, or do it yourself. You can also reuse certain parts according to the advice of your mechanic or practice safe driving and great maintenance to reduce expenses.

Compare Quotes from Mechanic Shops

Getting quotes from mechanic shops is one way to beat down the price when you want to replace wheel bearings. Mechanic shops differ in how much they charge for their services due to differing factors. Thus, you need to contact the shops for the best deals and take advantage of them. If one quote exceeds your budget, just switch to a more affordable one.

Mechanic Speaking To The Customer

Some garages also offer discount sales on their services and parts. If the discount offer includes the wheel bearings, then use that opportunity to have yours replaced. However, ensure that they are using quality and appropriate parts during the replacement. You don’t want to come away with wheel bearings that’ll only break down after two or three trips.

Do It Yourself

As stated earlier in this blog post, doing the replacement yourself cuts down the cost drastically. Our checks reveal that the average labor cost is around 50 percent of the cost of replacement. If your vehicle is a simple type with no wheel sensors or other intricate components, changing the ball bearings should be straightforward. You can check out various articles online to help you and watch a few videos to get you started.

Remember to consult your car’s manual before undertaking any activity to avoid damaging your vehicle. If you’ve misplaced your manual or don’t know how to go about it, consult a mechanic. They might ask you to pay for the consultation services, but the price should be way below their labor costs.

Drive Carefully and Adhere to Specifications

Wheel bearings need to be replaced between 85,000 miles and 100,000 miles. However, you can shorten or lengthen this distance based on how carefully you drive and the load your car carries. Every vehicle has a load capacity beyond which it would begin to struggle under the added weight. Putting excess load on your vehicle affects the bearings because they support the wheels.

Drive Carefully Note On a Vehicle Wheel

Excess weight can cause uneven tire wear, difficulty in using the steering wheel, and force the bearings to wear out more quickly. Thus, instead of changing the bearings once every 85,000 miles, you might end up replacing them twice or even thrice during the stipulated period. Adhering to the loading capacities of your vehicle is a guaranteed way to cut down costs on the number of times you change the bearings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Symptoms of Bad Wheel Bearings?

Symptoms of bad bearings include squeaking or clicking noise, vehicle pulls to one side, steering wheel vibration, and wobbly wheel. Other symptoms include ABS failure and delayed braking. When you see or hear these symptoms, it means you have a wheel bearing problem. Thus, report them to your mechanic immediately.

Conclusion

So far, we’ve discussed the cost of replacing wheel bearings and considered factors that influence it.

Here is a summary of the salient points in this blog post:

  • Replacing bad wheel bearings should cost between $250 and $500 depending on factors such as the make and model of the car and the type of bearings.
  • Other factors that influence the cost of bearing replacement include where you live, who does the replacement, wheel bearing cost, wheel hub replacement cost and labor costs.
  • The number of bad wheel bearings can also affect the cost of replacement; likewise, using a professional versus doing it yourself.
  • To cut down the cost, you can employ the services of individual mechanics instead of garages and try to carry out the replacement yourself.

Also, drive the car carefully and strictly adhere to the car loading capacities to avoid putting extra pressure on the axles, wheels and ball bearings.

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