How to Install a Bearing Race Without a Press

by William Zane

Wheel bearing replacement is a routine aspect of car and truck maintenance. Bad wheel bearings can cause a multitude of problems, from strange rubbing noises from the suspension to vague, imprecise handling. Replacing wheel bearings can be time-consuming but is generally relatively straightforward, though it often requires special tools to do the job easily. The bearing race is the part that the bearings ride on and is pressed into the hub. One alternative method to pressing in a bearing race is to use a socket to tap it into place.

Step 1

Remove the old bearing race according to the workshop manual for the car. The procedure will vary from car to car. Removing the race can be done by placing the tip of a punch or a small screwdriver against the edge of the race and tapping it out with a hammer. Be careful not to damage any of the metal around the race or scratch the area where the race is installed.

Step 2

Clean beneath the area where the race installs with a rag and degreaser. Find a socket that is just slightly smaller than the outer diameter of the bearing race but is large enough to make solid contact with the lip of the race.

Step 3

Place the new race over the hub where it will be installed. Make sure the socket can fit into the hole that the race is going to be installed in. Place the socket on the end of the race. Tap the socket straight down onto the race to force it into the hole. Make sure the race installs straight. If it starts to go in at an angle, it may become damaged. Tap the socket onto the race until the race is fully seated to the same depth and orientation as the old race.

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