How to Replace a Front Wheel Bearing on a VW Jettaby Marissa Robert; Updated November 07, 2017
Items you will need
2 jack stands
Wire coat hanger
If you hear squealing from your front wheels, there are a few different problems that might cause it. The brakes are usually the first things that get addressed; but when that squealing persists, often the wheel bearings are to blame. The wheel bearings allow the wheels on your car to spin without too much friction and keep the rest of your wheel hub in good condition. The Volkswagen Jetta has sealed front wheel bearings. Although you cannot adjust them, you can replace them using the right tools.
Pop the hood, and disconnect the negative battery terminal.
Remove the hubcap from your front wheel, and use a tire iron to loosen the bolts holding the wheel on. Remove the axle nut at the center of the wheel with an adjustable wrench. Place a jack under the frame of the Jetta on the front end, and raise the car. Slide jack stands underneath the frame, and lower the front end of the car onto the jack stands.
Pull the front wheel off the Jetta. Unbolt the brake caliper, which grips the wheel hub, from the front wheel, and immediately hang it from a wire coat hanger hooked to the suspension or the frame of the car. Do not let the caliper hang from the brake lines, or you risk damaging them.
Remove the bolts attaching the steering knuckle to the wheel hub. The steering knuckle is a separate part from the axle. It connects the back of the wheel hub to the steering column so that the wheels turn when the steering wheel turns. The steering knuckle is also attached to the front strut assembly, which is a smaller tube running through a large spring. Do not disconnect them from each other. Clamp the bolt assembly connecting the steering knuckle to the strut in a vise.
Install a press tool into the wheel hub, and press the wheel hub out of the front wheel bearing. If the inner bearing sticks inside the wheel hub, clamp the wheel hub in a vise and use a bearing press to pull the inner bearing out. Pull out the old snap ring, and use the press tool to remove the bearing from the knuckle.
Use a wire brush to clean inside the area where the bearing was. Make sure there are no permanent stains or warped areas from the heat. Press the new bearing into the wheel hub with an arbor press. Slide in the new snap ring, and use the old wheel bearing to press the new assembly into the bearing housing on the steering knuckle.
Bolt the steering knuckle onto the wheel hub in the same orientation it was before you removed it. Torque it according to the foot-pound specifications for your model year Jetta.
Place the brake calipers on the wheel hub, and tighten them with a torque wrench according to the recommended foot-pound specifications. Attach the axle nut to the center of the wheel hub, connecting it to the axle, and torque it accordingly too. Put the wheel back on the bolts, and use the torque wrench to tighten the nuts holding it on.
Pop your hubcap back on, and raise the Jetta off the jack stands and lower it back to the ground. Reconnect the negative battery terminal. Always have the front end aligned by a professional after working on the front suspension of your car.
Different model years with different tires or mild adjustments to the suspension parts have different torque requirements. AutoZone and the Haynes repair manuals are valuable tools. Check them for that information, or ask a professional before you begin your repair.
If you are not sure if some of the parts of the bearing housing are fit to use after you clean out that area, ask a professional. If heat has damaged any part of the housing, the new front wheel bearings could fail quickly.
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