Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?

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Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:40 am
  • Hey, I own a 2009 Toyota Corolla with about 100,000 miles on it....I do some serious driving to and from work, particularly in the summer.

    Recently I've begun to hear a humming/rumbling/growling sound whenever I go above 30 mph. The sound disappears when I go slower or idle. The sound remains if I coast in neutral downhill (so I don't think its an exhaust leak or muffler problem). I suspect the sound may be coming from the left front wheel bearing - but obviously need to take it to a mechanic and have it on a lift to know for sure.

    How long is it safe to go before getting this fixed? Funds are tight right now and I'd rather wait until I get my tax refund. Is it something I can put off a bit or does it need to be addressed, particularly in winter weather?
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:46 am
  • RiggoReincarnated wrote:Hey, I own a 2009 Toyota Corolla with about 100,000 miles on it....I do some serious driving to and from work, particularly in the summer.

    Recently I've begun to hear a humming/rumbling/growling sound whenever I go above 30 mph. The sound disappears when I go slower or idle. The sound remains if I coast in neutral downhill (so I don't think its an exhaust leak or muffler problem). I suspect the sound may be coming from the left front wheel bearing - but obviously need to take it to a mechanic and have it on a lift to know for sure.

    How long is it safe to go before getting this fixed? Funds are tight right now and I'd rather wait until I get my tax refund. Is it something I can put off a bit or does it need to be addressed, particularly in winter weather?


    If it is coming from the bearing, they could last you months or go out tomorrow. Without looking at it, there's no way to know. I do know that if you want to keep the cost to a minimum, and it is the bearings, I'd recommend getting them replaced sooner rather than later.

    SInce you brought it up, I did a quick google search and found a site that is kind of like a Bearings for Dummies type page. It may help you, it may not depending upon your knowledge level.

    http://eddiecarrara.hubpages.com/hub/What-is-a-wheel-bearing
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:49 am
  • kidhawk wrote:
    RiggoReincarnated wrote:Hey, I own a 2009 Toyota Corolla with about 100,000 miles on it....I do some serious driving to and from work, particularly in the summer.

    Recently I've begun to hear a humming/rumbling/growling sound whenever I go above 30 mph. The sound disappears when I go slower or idle. The sound remains if I coast in neutral downhill (so I don't think its an exhaust leak or muffler problem). I suspect the sound may be coming from the left front wheel bearing - but obviously need to take it to a mechanic and have it on a lift to know for sure.

    How long is it safe to go before getting this fixed? Funds are tight right now and I'd rather wait until I get my tax refund. Is it something I can put off a bit or does it need to be addressed, particularly in winter weather?


    If it is coming from the bearing, they could last you months or go out tomorrow. Without looking at it, there's no way to know. I do know that if you want to keep the cost to a minimum, and it is the bearings, I'd recommend getting them replaced sooner rather than later.

    SInce you brought it up, I did a quick google search and found a site that is kind of like a Bearings for Dummies type page. It may help you, it may not depending upon your knowledge level.

    http://eddiecarrara.hubpages.com/hub/What-is-a-wheel-bearing


    Thanks...I should also ask for a front end alignment as well I would guess after the bearing replacement? I'm guessing around 200-300 for parts and labor is fair if its just one wheel and only the bearing that needs replaced?
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:57 am
  • RiggoReincarnated wrote:
    kidhawk wrote:
    RiggoReincarnated wrote:Hey, I own a 2009 Toyota Corolla with about 100,000 miles on it....I do some serious driving to and from work, particularly in the summer.

    Recently I've begun to hear a humming/rumbling/growling sound whenever I go above 30 mph. The sound disappears when I go slower or idle. The sound remains if I coast in neutral downhill (so I don't think its an exhaust leak or muffler problem). I suspect the sound may be coming from the left front wheel bearing - but obviously need to take it to a mechanic and have it on a lift to know for sure.

    How long is it safe to go before getting this fixed? Funds are tight right now and I'd rather wait until I get my tax refund. Is it something I can put off a bit or does it need to be addressed, particularly in winter weather?


    If it is coming from the bearing, they could last you months or go out tomorrow. Without looking at it, there's no way to know. I do know that if you want to keep the cost to a minimum, and it is the bearings, I'd recommend getting them replaced sooner rather than later.

    SInce you brought it up, I did a quick google search and found a site that is kind of like a Bearings for Dummies type page. It may help you, it may not depending upon your knowledge level.

    http://eddiecarrara.hubpages.com/hub/What-is-a-wheel-bearing


    Thanks...I should also ask for a front end alignment as well I would guess after the bearing replacement? I'm guessing around 200-300 for parts and labor is fair if its just one wheel and only the bearing that needs replaced?


    Honestly, I couldn't tell you, it would depend on prices in your particular area. Living in Alaska, I assume my prices are generally higher than most. I have a friend who owns a transmission shop, and he replaced my bearings years ago for around $200 (if I remember correctly).
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:09 am
  • I road mine out for a long long time...5 months maybe? It starts as a hum, then progresses to a throbbing sound, mine was so bad I had to turn the radio way up just to drown out the sound :D

    Its not that tough of a job is you are able (at least on my car) 100$ a 12 pack and about 2 hours is all it takes.

    **edit** I did have to buy some gigantic socket to get the axle spline bolt off, just didnt have a 38mm socket laying around :D
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:31 am
  • You should probably replace this ASAP. If the wheel bearing fails completely you run the risk of the wheel coming off entirely, or causing major damage to the shock tower, strut, quarter panels, and unibody.
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:07 pm
  • If you have to ask the question, then your ears/experience don't allow you to wait this out. Mechanical-type people can tell by ear when it's getting 'serious' and needs to be addressed right away. You probably can't tell that, so it might be serious right now.
    My 2005 Subaru rear bearings started making noise when I was on a driving vacation, but I went ahead and finished the trip (around 3000 miles total) and went another month or two before changing them. When the fronts went out, I waited until they were sounding serious. Took about 3 months. I've been working on cars for 40+ years.
    2005 Subarus have known wheel bearing problems BTW. I don't know if Toyotas do, maybe they use the same bearings? Most car makers spec stuff like that from large bearing manufacturers and put their own part number on it.
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:55 pm
  • Don't screw around with bearings.
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:19 pm
  • When I was just out of high school my dad, best friend, and I were heading up to Canada to watch my bro play baseball. We see this pickup truck pulling a small trailer and a wheel on the trailer starts wobbling slightly. My dad says "uh oh, that guy just lost a wheel bearing and the wheel is about to come off." Not more than 5 seconds later the wheel comes off the trailer and goes into the grass and starts a fire that was quickly put out by other drivers. We were amazed he accurately predicted that.
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:26 am
  • Thanks for all the tips guys. The Toyota dealer quoted me $531.75 for parts and labor yesterday for the bearing replacement on one wheel. I think that's absurdly high from the research I've done.

    I think I'm just going to bring it to my local mechanic's garage. The down time will be longer (he only works on one car at a time)...but I think what Toyota wants to charge is ridiculous. I imagine they are overcharging on parts...I expect and understand their hourly rate for labor to be higher than a local shop....but I'm not paying premium price for a car part if I don't have to...
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:15 am
  • Dealership will always charge more. Just go to a local shop that you trust (or someone else you know trusts).
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:30 am
  • SonicHawk wrote:Dealership will always charge more. Just go to a local shop that you trust (or someone else you know trusts).


    That's what I figured. I was just curious to see how much over what I expect to pay they would charge.
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:21 am
  • I'll add one more tip here from a guy that has been around parts, repairs, to both cars and trucks. Spend the money and replace the axle shaft while doing it. Rebuilt ones are better than new and that's the time to do it.


    This applys only if its actually a front axle bearing call "hub" bearing. They require you to have the front axle free except for a few possible bolts on the transaxle housing.

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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:16 am
  • Thanks everyone. Wound up paying $252.43 in parts and labor for axle shaft and front wheel bearing replacement on the driver side. Less than half of what the dealer wanted to charge! Car is so much quieter now, but most of all, the peace of mind is priceless.
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:38 am
  • I hope you got the bearing fluid rotated while they were in there. The fluxor valves on those are notorious for going out along with bearings.
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:19 am
  • JesterHawk wrote:I hope you got the bearing fluid rotated while they were in there. The fluxor valves on those are notorious for going out along with bearings.


    Speaking of which, here's where to find all those sorts of things! :mrgreen:
    http://kalecoauto.com/
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:03 am
  • RiggoReincarnated wrote:Thanks for all the tips guys. The Toyota dealer quoted me $531.75 for parts and labor yesterday for the bearing replacement on one wheel. I think that's absurdly high from the research I've done.

    I think I'm just going to bring it to my local mechanic's garage. The down time will be longer (he only works on one car at a time)...but I think what Toyota wants to charge is ridiculous. I imagine they are overcharging on parts...I expect and understand their hourly rate for labor to be higher than a local shop....but I'm not paying premium price for a car part if I don't have to...


    Ha! wow.
    I've done WB's on all our vehicles and you can do these yourself if you have the basic tools necessary and are good with them. You can rent an axle nut socket, and if no air tools onhand you can extend a breaker bar with pipe to accomplish the job (but air tools help greatly). I just installed front HUB bearings on 3 of our vehicles.
    Took roughly half a day. The vehicles are older so i didn't go for the high end, got some decent ones at a steal ($30/ea) and put them on, but you can spend more (Timkin brand is pretty solid).

    Never, ever spend $531.75 for wb's...much less one of them. Lightly slap them with a pair of gloves if you ever hear a quote like that again.
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Re: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?
Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:27 am
  • GeekHawk wrote:
    JesterHawk wrote:I hope you got the bearing fluid rotated while they were in there. The fluxor valves on those are notorious for going out along with bearings.


    Speaking of which, here's where to find all those sorts of things! :mrgreen:
    http://kalecoauto.com/


    Man, those guys have everything. I do have to admit though, I am usually guilty of running summer air too far into the winter. Sometimes you can stretch out the summer air by just using a little bit more of it.
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