How to Clean Wheel Bearings


Wheel bearings ensure a smooth ride and are present in all types of vehicles, from cars to motorcycles. Even skateboards have wheel bearings. As you might imagine, a bearing can get quite dirty, being part of the wheel assembly, and must be cleaned at certain intervals. Wheel bearings should be checked every 30,000 miles. Servicing wheel bearings can make for an expensive bill at the auto shop, but it is really not a difficult task for the DIY mechanic.

Things You'll Need

  • Bearings
  • Solvent
  • Oil pan
  • Compressed air
  • Wheel bearing grease
  • Pour enough solvent in your oil pan to fully submerge your wheel bearings in. Paint thinner is a good solvent to use.

  • Place your removed bearings in the solvent. The solvent will remove all of the old grease from the bearings.

  • Wipe down the bearings with an old rag.

  • Dry the bearings with compressed air to ready them for the new grease application.

  • Place a dollop of new grease in the palm of your hand. Wheel bearing grease is available at any auto parts store and usually comes in a one-pound tube.

  • Hold the bearing in your other hand and push the edges of the wide end into the grease.

  • Rock the bearing back and forth in your hand to push the grease between the inner and outer races. The grease will begin to ooze from the top side or the more narrow end of the bearing. The bearing is now ready for use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use gasoline as a solvent.
  • Do not rub the bearings before soaking them in the solvent, as the dirty grease may scratch the surfaces.
  • Do not use heavy duty grease. This grease has the wrong consistency for use with wheel bearings.

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