Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost (Labor and Parts) [2023 Pricing]
A wheel bearing is a set of steel balls or rollers that help reduce friction as the wheel spins. Each wheel has a bearing and takes a lot of abuse, so a bad wheel bearing can be a common occurrence. Wheel bearings come in different styles and sizes to accommodate different needs. A full-ton truck built for hauling has different needs than a compact car. The costs for replacing wheel bearings depend on the make and model of the car, as well as where the repair shop is located.
The average cost of replacing a wheel bearing is $298 to $390, including parts and labor. Front-wheel bearings cost more, often between $250 and $500. Rear-wheel bearings cost between $200 and $400. In most cases, you will replace two wheel bearings at a time. While only one wheel bearing will be bad, replacing it in pairs on the front or back is important to maintain even suspension.
Poor driving habits, poor roads, and the eventual end of life from normal use are all reasons a ball bearing might go bad.
Most of the time, you can drive with a bad wheel bearing for a short time. However, you should replace the part to keep driving safely. As the lining continues to wear away, the bearing can’t cut down on the friction, which can cause it to smoke or even break.
Types of Wheel Bearings
Ball bearing: This is a common type of wheel bearing that is found in most standard cars. These bearings are versatile and feature the most simplistic design.
Ball bearings aren’t just limited to car wheels, and you will likely find them in everything from roller skates to bikes as well. Another type of bearing that is similar but designed for heavy-pressure loads is a precision ball bearing.
Roller Bearings: These wheel bearings are common in hand trucks and shopping carts but not in automobiles. These are used in high-performance cars.
Tapered bearings: This type of bearing doesn’t handle cornering pressure well and would not hold up well to the demands of automotive use. However, tapered bearings are used in cars and trucks.
Cone-shaped: This type of bearing is cone-shaped instead of ball-shaped. The cone shape performs better than standard ball bearings when it comes to cornering pressure and is becoming increasingly common in cars and trucks.
Cost by Type of Wheel Bearings
|Ball Bearings||$60 - $150|
|Precision Ball Bearings||$154.99 - $476.99|
|Roller Bearings||$14.99 - $671.99|
|Tapered Bearings||$124.70 - $399.98|
Signs of Failing Wheel Bearings
A wheel bearing plays an essential role in reducing friction by bearing some of the vehicle’s road weight to create a smooth ride. When this key part begins to fail, drivers will notice a range of problems related to the wheels and steering. The following are some common signs of failing wheel bearings:
- Groaning, whining, or grinding noises that worsen on curves or when turning
- Vibrations were felt through the steering column
- Randomly pulling to one side
- The uneven wear pattern on tires
- Loose or wobbly steering
If the warning signs of a failing ball bearing are ignored, the problem will worsen and may result in very unsafe conditions, like a smoking wheel or a wheel that falls off the vehicle while it is in motion.
Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost by Make and Model
|Chevrolet Silverado||$100.99 - $224.99|
|Toyota Camry||$254.00 - $404.00|
|Ford Explorer||$232.00 - $292.00|
|Honda Pilot||$260.00 - $370.00|
|Nissan Altima||$196.00 - $340.00|
|Honda CRV||$179.00 - $225.00|
|Toyota Rav4||$196.00 - $247.00|
|Dodge Ram||$535.00 - $558.00|
|Ford Mustang||$214.00 - $235.00|
|Toyota Sienna||$208.00 - $262.00|
You can drive with a bad wheel bearing. Still, there is always a risk that you will cause damage to other parts of the suspension system or even lose a wheel on the road, which can be an incredibly unsafe situation, so replacing a bad bearing should be a priority.
Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost by Service Provider
|Your Mechanic||$400 - $1200|
|Midas||$440 - $1030|
|Mr Tire||$420 - $1160|
|Napa Auto||$480 - $1240|
|Walmart||$145 - $880|
|Amazon||$160 - $790|
When you replace a failing wheel bearing, you will also need to replace the wheel hub assembly. Similar to how your brakes work, pairing a worn hub with a new bearing will shorten the lifespan of the new bearing.
Depending on your car, you may need to replace the wheel bearing and make other repairs. At the very least, you must replace both front and rear bearings simultaneously so that both sides of the car have new parts for a balanced ride.
Newer cars also feature what is called a non-serviceable hub assembly that contains the wheel bearing. This means that the entire unit has to be replaced.
Choosing Between OEM and Aftermarket Parts
When you replace wheel bearings, you can choose between budget, mid-range, and high-end parts, aftermarket parts, or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts that come from the same manufacturer as the original factory parts.
There are many aftermarket parts that match the quality of OEM parts, but you do have to do more legwork to find a comparable part. With that being said, many car owners choose aftermarket parts to save money, reducing the cost of replacing wheel bearings by $50-$100.
How to Identify a Faulty Wheel Bearing
If you suspect a bad wheel bearing due to loose handling and funky noises coming from your wheel, you can pay a mechanic $100 to diagnose it, or you can take a look and check for these common signs.
Listen to your wheels. If you drive faster than 15 miles per hour and hear a whining or howling sound that gets worse when you speed up or turn, this is a sign that your wheel bearing is worn out.
Try physically pulling on your wheel to check another method and solidify your diagnosis. If there is a wiggle, this confirms the bad wheel bearing theory.
Sensors in the wheel bearings for newer models can provide a definitive diagnosis. An OBD scanner can check the sensor for failure readings in these cars.
This is the method that dealership mechanics will use if it is available.
How long do wheel bearings last?
Most wheel bearings will last an average of 80,000–125,000 miles. This means replacement is more common at higher miles but not completely out of the question before the 100,000-mile mark.
It also means that many vehicles may never require a wheel bearing replacement. Most wheel bearings break because of damage from an accident, a lot of miles driven, driving often on bad roads, or too much moisture.
Plus, there is always a chance that a defective part or faulty installation can cause premature failure. This is why it’s important to shop for parts and labor that come with a lot of warranty coverage.
Front wheel bearings
Front-wheel bearings can be traditional cone or roller bearings or the more common hub bearings. If you have an older two-wheel-drive vehicle, you probably have the traditional cone or roller-style bearings.
These are cheaper and easier to replace, and they’re usually replaced with the rotor when necessary. Replacing the rotor and wheel bearings typically costs around $150 per wheel.
Traditional bearings are inexpensive to buy in four-wheel-drive vehicles but more labor-intensive to replace. Because of the difference in labor, the whole job usually costs more than doing it on a two-wheel-drive vehicle. You should expect to pay $175 to $250 per wheel for a 4WD.
The average cost to replace the front wheel bearings is $250–500.
Rear wheel bearings
Rear-wheel bearings may be typical complete units or be housed inside the axle. Unless you have an older rear-wheel-drive car, you probably have the complete unit for your rear wheels.
Replacing the rear wheel bearings should cost between $200 and $400.
Rear hub bearings
Many cars equipped with ABS have a special rear hub bearing with an installed speed sensor, which drives up the cost. A more complicated rear hub-bearing assembly will cost between $400 and $800 to replace.
Cost of Replacing all Wheel Bearings
Even though it doesn’t happen often, if you often drive on bad roads in rural areas and are an aggressive driver, all of your wheel bearings could get worn out. If you need to replace all wheel bearings, the parts and labor alone will cost $800–$1000.
However, if this happens, there are likely other affected components in the suspension system that need work. In addition to the wheel bearings, you might need to replace steering control arms, brakes, or more.
If your suspension system is having trouble, you will feel it when you drive in the form of loose steering and heavy vibration.
Diagnosing a Problem with Your Wheel Bearings
If one or more of your wheel bearings are starting to fail, there are some signs and symptoms that you’ll likely notice. If you experience any of these while driving, you should take your car to be checked out as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Bad Wheel Bearings
- Squeaking sound
- Humming sound
- Clicking sound
- Wheels feel “wobbly”
- Problems with the ABS
- Uneven wear on tire tread
- While driving, the vehicle pulls to one side
- Vibrations in the steering wheel
- The Steering wheel feels loose
- Difficulty turning the wheel
Is it worth it to repair or replace wheel bearings?
Repairing faulty wheel bearings involves replacing them with new ones. However, this straightforward job may only cost a few hundred dollars. As with any vehicle repair, it’s important for you to weigh the cost of the work against your car’s value. Still, a repair as simple as this is almost always worth repairing your bad wheel bearings.
Eventually, all-wheel bearings will wear out or fail due to normal wear and tear. However, most people won’t have to deal with that because they last for so long. You should only have to replace your bearings if your car has over 100,000 miles.
Another reason it’s usually worth it to repair a wheel bearing is that you don’t have to replace multiples if one fails.
Unlike some parts of your suspension system, just because one of your wheel bearings is bad doesn’t automatically mean you have to replace the one opposite the faulty one. So, you can save some money by only replacing the failed bearing rather than replacing two or four of them.
Can You Drive With a Failing Wheel Bearing?
You may be able to drive for a short time with a bad wheel bearing, but it should only be as a last resort or to get the vehicle to the shop. As the bearing continues to wear out, it will increase the chances of damaging other parts of your vehicle or failing altogether.
If you can avoid it, you should not drive your vehicle with a failing wheel bearing. Doing so could be very dangerous and result in your wheel not working properly or even coming off while driving.
Even if you don’t have a catastrophic result, your vehicle could still be less responsive than it should be, which puts you at greater risk of an accident.
Driving with bad wheel bearings also puts much more stress on your steering and suspension systems, including your CV joint, hub, and even your transmission. Your tires may wear out faster and in different places, which could lead to more expensive repairs in the future.
What Causes Wheel Bearings to Fail?
Wheel bearings last a very long time, which is why most people never have to replace them. However, there are some situations that cause these components to wear out and fail prematurely.
In most cases, wheel bearings fail due to impact. If the vehicle hits a curb, an object, or something in the road, like a pothole, it can cause damage to the wheel bearings. If the wheel bearing seals get broken or wear out, it can allow moisture, dust, and debris to get into the hub, which will cause the bearings to break down.
Driving on wheels or tires that are out of balance can also cause the bearings to wear out faster, as can driving with worn or damaged suspension systems. Another factor is the type of tire. If you have low-profile, high-performance tires, it can cause more wear and tear on the bearings.
If the bearing hub gets worn out, it will lead to wheel bearing failure as well. A less common problem is the friction that comes from faulty wiring that causes current to flow in short bursts.
This causes static electricity to build up and cause excess strain on the moving parts of the vehicle’s chassis. Eventually, this will cause the wheel bearings to wear out prematurely.
Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost FAQs
Can you drive with a damaged wheel bearing?
It is not recommended to drive with a damaged wheel bearing, as it can cause additional damage to the vehicle and create a safety hazard. The wheel bearing is what makes the wheel spin smoothly and quietly, and a broken bearing can cause the wheel to shake, make noise, and wear the tires unevenly.
What happens if you don’t fix a wheel bearing?
If a wheel bearing is not fixed, it can lead to a number of problems. The bearing can become damaged, which can cause noise and vibration while driving as well as increased wear on the tire. The damaged bearing can also cause the wheel to wobble, which can lead to poor handling and decreased stability. If left unrepaired, a damaged wheel bearing can also cause damage to other parts of the vehicle, such as the suspension and steering components.
Do wheel bearings have an impact on brakes?
Wheel bearings do not directly affect the brake system. However, if a wheel bearing is worn or damaged, it can cause abnormal tire wear, which can negatively impact the performance of the brakes.
Do wheel bearings affect fuel economy?
Wheel bearings can affect fuel economy, but typically only if worn or damaged. If a wheel bearing is worn or broken, it can cause more friction and drag on the wheel, which can make the car use more gas. Also, if a wheel bearing is worn out or broken, it can cause the wheel to be out of alignment, which can also hurt gas mileage. In proper condition, wheel bearings will not affect fuel economy.
Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost: The Bottom Line
A wheel bearing is an important part of your vehicle’s suspension system, which is what makes your car or truck ride so smooth.
When this part begins to fail, around the 100K mile mark or as the result of an accident or defect, you will hear wheel noise and notice changes in how the car handles.
If you suspect a wheel bearing problem, the cost to replace it is between $250 and $500 in most cases. Repairs should be done as soon as possible to avoid driving hazards like a wheel that is loose or smoking.