If you own a 2014 Subaru and are experiencing issues with your wheel bearings, you’re not alone. Over time, wheel bearings can wear down and produce a range of symptoms, from a humming or grinding noise to uneven tire wear. The good news is that replacing your wheel bearings is a relatively straightforward process that can save you money on expensive mechanic fees.
Why Do Wheel Bearings Need to be Replaced?
A wheel bearing is a set of steel balls held together by a metal ring that allows your wheels to rotate smoothly against the axle without friction. Over time, this constant rotation and pressure can wear down the bearings and cause them to fail. This can lead to a range of issues, including:
- Humming or grinding noise when driving
- Uneven tire wear
- Steering wheel vibration
- Reduced fuel efficiency
- Difficulty in turning
- Brake rotor wear
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to replace your wheel bearings as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your car.
Tools and Materials Needed
Before you begin, make sure you have the following tools and materials:
- Jack and jack stands
- Lug wrench
- Socket set
- Breaker bar
- Torque wrench
- Bearing press (or a hydraulic press)
- Wheel bearing grease
- Replacement wheel bearings and races
Steps for Replacing Your Wheel Bearings
- Park your car on a level surface and engage the parking brake.
- Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel you will be working on.
- Jack up the car and support it on jack stands.
- Remove the lug nuts and the wheel from the hub assembly.
- Remove the caliper bolts and lift the caliper off the rotor. Hang it from the suspension using a bungee cord or wire.
- Remove the rotor from the hub assembly.
- Remove the hub assembly from the steering knuckle.
- Remove the races from the hub assembly using a bearing press (or a hydraulic press).
- Clean the hub assembly and coat it with a layer of wheel bearing grease.
- Install the new races using a bearing press (or a hydraulic press).
- Pack the new bearings with wheel bearing grease.
- Install the new bearings into the hub assembly.
- Reinstall the hub assembly onto the steering knuckle.
- Install the rotor and the caliper.
- Torque the lug nuts to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Lower the car and test drive it to make sure everything is functioning properly.
Tips and Tricks
- It’s important to torque the lug nuts correctly to avoid damage to your wheels and to ensure proper alignment.
- Use a breaker bar if the lug nuts are too tight.
- If you don’t have access to a bearing press, some auto parts stores will rent them out.
- Always coat your hands with grease before handling the new bearings to avoid contamination.
By following these steps, you can save money on expensive mechanic fees and take control of your vehicle’s maintenance. However, if you are not confident in your abilities to perform this repair, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional mechanic.
Q: How often do wheel bearings need to be replaced?
A: It depends on several factors, including the age of the car, driving habits, and environmental conditions. As a general rule, wheel bearings should be replaced every 100,000 miles or earlier if you are experiencing any symptoms.
Q: Can I replace just one wheel bearing?
A: While it is possible to replace just one wheel bearing, it’s generally recommended to replace both at the same time to ensure even wear and to prevent future issues.
Q: Can I drive with bad wheel bearings?
A: It’s not recommended to drive with bad wheel bearings as it can cause further damage to your car and pose a safety risk.