How to Replace the Wheel Bearings on Chevrolet Carsby Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017
Over the years, Chevy has used two different types of wheel bearings on the Chevrolet car light truck. Early models used a standard set of tapered roller bearings that was serviceable, and individual inner or outer bearings were replaceable. Later models use a sealed hub bearing assembly that is not serviceable and is replaced as a unit. Replacement of either type of bearing is straightforward and requires only basic hand tools to complete.
Under The Hood:
- How to Replace the Wheel Bearings on a Chevy Lumina
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- How to Replace the Wheel Bearings on a 2002 Cavalier
- How to Replace Wheel Bearings in a Chevelle
- How To Replace Wheel Bearings In Chevy Astro Vans
Apply the parking brake and block the rear wheels with wheel chocks.
Lift the front of the car with a floor jack positioned under the front of the front sub-frame. Place jack stands under the sub-frame to support the weight of the car. Remove the floor jack. Remove the wheel using a lug wrench.
Insert a large screwdriver through the large inspection opening in the body of the caliper and into the cooling vents on the edge of the rotor. Remove the cotter pin and castellated washer over the axle nut. Remove the axle nut using a 36 mm socket and breaker bar. Insert a large punch into the dimple on the end of the axle and strike it with a hammer to break the axle loose in the hub.
Remove the caliper slide pins using a 3/8-inch Allen socket or a t-50 Torx socket and a ratchet. Pull the caliper up and off the rotor. Slide the rotor off the hub assembly.
Attach a T-45 Torx socket to a three-inch-long extension and insert it through the large hole in the hub to engage the Torx bolts that attach the hub assembly to the steering knuckle. Remove the bolts. Unclip the ABS sensor wiring connector, if equipped, and slide the hub assembly out of the steering knuckle and off the axle.
Slip the new hub assembly onto the axle and rotate it slightly until the splines on the axle line up with the splines in the hub. Push the assembly into the steering knuckle and install the Torx bolts. Install the axle nut and tighten the Torx bolts and axle nut securely.
Torque the Torx bolts to 96 ft-lbs. and the axle nut to 150 ft-lbs., using a torque wrench. Install the castellated washer and a new cotter pin onto the axle over the axle nut.
Slide the rotor onto the hub assembly and install the caliper. Tighten the caliper slide pins securely. Install the wheel and torque the lug nuts to 100 ft-lbs., using the torque wrench, to prevent rotor warp.
Raise the car off the stands, remove the stands and lower the car to the ground.
Items you will need
Torx socket set
Hub Bearing Assemblies
Lift the wheel off the ground using the floor jack, and support the weight of the vehicle with a jack stand to prevent slippage and injury. Remove the wheel with the lug wrench, and store the wheel and lug nuts in a safe place out of the work area to prevent loss of the lug nuts.
Remove the caliper slide pins with the 3/8-inch drive socket set and lift the caliper off the rotor. Slide the rotor off the hub assembly.
Disconnect the A.B.S. electrical connector if equipped and turn the hub so that you have access to the backside of the steering knuckle that the hub is bolted to. Remove the four bolts that retain the hub assembly to the steering knuckle and slip the hub assembly out of the steering knuckle.
Insert the new hub assembly into the steering knuckle and start the retaining bolts. Tighten the bolts in a criss-cross direction to the torque specifications listed in your service manual. Plug the A.B.S. connector back in if equipped.
Install the rotor on the new hub and slip the caliper back into place on the rotor. Tighten the slide pin bolts to the specifications listed in your service manual.
Tapered Roller Bearings
Remove the caliper slide pin bolts and slip the caliper off the rotor. Remove the bearing dust cap and the cotter pin that retains the spindle nut.
Remove the spindle nut and the outer wheel bearing from the rotor. Screw the spindle nut back onto the spindle and, with a sharp pulling motion, pull the rotor off the spindle. The spindle nut should catch the inner bearing and pull it along with the seal from the back of the rotor.
Drive the old bearing races from the rotor with a punch and hammer. Drive the new races into the rotor with a race installer and hammer. Pack the wheel bearings with grease and coat the new bearing races with a thick coat of grease. Push the new inner bearing into the race and tap the new seal into place with a hammer.
Slip the rotor onto the spindle and push it all the way on. Spinning the rotor slightly, while pushing, helps the rotor seat completely onto the spindle. Slip the new outer bearing over the spindle and into the outer race. Install the spacer and spindle nut, then tighten snugly and back off 1/8 turn. Install the castellated retainer and cotter pin. Bend the arms of the cotter pin and install the dust cover.
Slip the caliper back into place and secure it with the slide pin bolts. Install the wheel, lower the vehicle and test-drive.
Items you will need
Combination wrench set
3/8-inch drive socket set
Bearing race installer
Place a car jack underneath your Chevy Cavalier. The jack should be positioned closer to either the front or rear tires depending on which wheel bearings you intend to change. Raise the vehicle off the ground. Support the vehicle by placing jack stands under the frame and then lower the vehicle onto the jack stands.
Use a wrench to remove the lug nuts on the wheel. If a wheel cover is present, simply pull the tabs of the cover off the wheel rim, or pry the wheel cover off and set it aside. Remove the wheel from the axle and place it in a safe area for reassembly later.
Disconnect the stabilizer bar from the control arm, using a wrench to remove the mounting bolts on the upper and lower bars that connect to the arm.
Locate the brake caliper near the wheel arch. Use a wrench to remove the mounting bolts holding it in place. Remove the electrical wiring from its connector. Remove the bolts holding the wheel hub in place. Remove the hub from the wheel assembly. If you are struggling to remove it, use a wooden mallet and carefully knock it free.
Remove the wheel bearings from the wheel assembly. Examine the bearings carefully. If any of the bearings contain grooves, pits or indentations of any kind, replace them immediately. Install the new bearings in place of the old ones.
Reattach the brake assembly and wheel, following the removal steps in reverse. Test the vehicle on a secluded road to ensure that the steering and wheel bearings are now working properly.
Items you will need
Turn off the car; set the parking brake, and place tire chocks on the front or back tires, whichever end you will not be working first. Place the jack underneath the frame, and jack the car, so you have at least six inches of ground clearance.
Use a tire tool to remove the lug nuts and the tire. Remove the brake caliper, and gently hammer the grease cup off, using a rubber tire mallet. Disassemble the brake assembly, by removing the cotter pin, the retainer ring and the spindle nut. Pull on the hub disc, and the outer wheel bearings will spill out.
Discard the old bearings to avoid confusion while working. Open the new set of bearings and bearing seals, and gently hammer the outer race, which spills out the inner bearings. Discard them, as well. Place the new bearings and bearing seals, both inner and outer, into the assembly, and generously use grease to force them into place. Tap with the mallet to ensure a uniform straightness to the bearing settings. This may require both force and patience.
Reassemble it by backtracking the steps; do not, however, reuse the old cotter pin. Replace the old pin with a new one during reassembly. Once tightened, remove excess bearing grease that may seep, using brake cleaner, before reattaching the wheel.
Items you will need
Heat-resistant wheel bearing grease
New cotter pin
Lift and remove the wheel and brake rotor. This will involve removal of the brake caliper and the splash shield on the back of the rotor. Both are held in with two bolts on the back side. Once these are removed, the primary axle nut will be visible.
Remove the axle nut and large washer. The nut is held in place with a cotter pin, which will come out once bent straight and pulled with the vice grips or pliers. Once the nut and washer are removed, rap on the axle bolt with the end of the adjustable wrench without damaging the threads on the bolt. The heavy strike will shock the bolt and make removal easier.
Remove the wheel speed sensor's bolt and connector, and lay it aside.
Unbolt the main bearing mounting bolts, and slide the hub out. There are four bolts holding it in, and once it is removed the wheel bearings will be clearly visible.
Replace the wheel bearings. Apply a liberal amount of axle grease to each bearing assembly, then put it into position. Reassemble the wheel hub and bolt it back onto the bearing mounts. Before it is fully connected, smear more axle grease into the wheel bearings for good measure.
Reconnect the speed sensor connector and bolt.
Attach the axle nut over its washer and tighten firmly. The cotter pin is designed to fit into its hole when the nut is tightened to the proper depth. Once the cotter pin is in place, bend its tip around the nut with the pliers.
Reassemble the caliper and rotor, then replace the wheel.
Items you will need
Pliers or vice grips
Replacement wheel bearing assembly