Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Wheel bearing replacement cost

Wheel bearing replacement cost

Wheel bearing replacement cost varies based on the type of wheel bearings used in your vehicle. There are four types.

• Non sealed tapered wheel bearings
• Cartridge wheel bearings (Generation 1 bearing)
• Wheel hub and bearing (Generation 2 bearing)
• Hub bearing, unit bearing (Generation 3 bearing)

types of wheel bearings

Parts cost for various wheel bearings

Wheel bearing replacement cost for tapered wheel bearings

Tapered wheel bearings are the least expensive of the four types, costing as little as $25 each. Each wheel requires an inner and outer bearing, so about $50 in parts per wheel. They’re also the easiest to install, taking about 45 minutes to remove and install. Repacking two wheel bearings generally costs about $125 at shops. Replacing two sets of bearings generally runs about $250.

exploded diagram of tapered wheel bearing

Cartridge wheel bearing replacement cost

Removing and replacing a cartridge bearing is far more complicated than any of the other three styles. It can be done with the steering knuckle on the vehicle as long as the shop owns the specialty tools, like a HubTamer kit. If the shop or a DIYer doesn’t have the HubTamer, the steering knuckle must be removed and the bearing pressed out and the new bearing pressed in.

The bearing itself is reasonably priced at around $75 each and a wheel only requires one bearing. However, labor to replace a cartridge-style wheel bearing can run close to $250 to $300 per wheel.

exploded diagram showing how cartridge bearing fits into steering knuckle

Image showing how to remove and replace cartridge wheel bearing

Generation 2 & Generation 3 wheel bearing replacement cost

Gen 2 and 3 bearings are fairly easy to replace, taking as little at 1-hour each. However, the bearing cost is much higher. A generation 3 bearing for a 2018 Chevrolet Malibu costs about $250, which would bring the shop price to around $400-$500 per wheel.

comparison of two wheel bearing styles

Replace wheel bearings in pairs?

Some shops recommend replacing wheel bearings in pairs. The reasoning is the bearing have the same number of miles on each one. That makes some sense. However, bearings can be damaged or worn prematurely by repeatedly hitting potholes, curbs or other obstructions. So a damaged wheel bearing on the right front passenger side can make noise or show slight movement, while the driver’s side bearing is perfectly fine.In that case, there’s no reason to replace a perfectly good bearing.

There’s no big price advantage to replacing bearings in pairs. It takes twice as long to replace two Gen 1, 2 or 3 bearings as it takes to replace just one. If the shop is performing an alignment after the bearing replacement, then it might make sense to replace more than one bearing.

©, 2021 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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