How to Replace the Rear Hub Bearing on a Ford Explorer

Automotive wheel bearings are a very important component on a vehicle. They are responsible for allowing the vehicle’s wheels to roll on the ground with as little friction as possible. They hold the entire weight of the vehicle and are subject to the harsh conditions of the road, as well as exertion from the torque of the engine.

When they fail, they will begin to make a howling noise, which will progress into a grinding, and when completely failed may seize, rendering the vehicle undriveable. In this step by step guide we will go over how to replace a wheel bearing and hub on a 2002 - 2010 Ford Explorer.

Part 1 of 1: Replacing the hub bearing

Materials Needed

  • Axle nut socket set
  • Basic set of hand tools
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Jack and jack stands
  • Long handle breaker bar
  • Mechanic’s wire
  • Pry bar
  • Wheel hub puller
  • Penetrating oil
  • Torque wrench
  • Wood blocks

Step 1: Loosen the nuts. Loosen the lug nuts from the wheel which the bearing is going to be replaced.

Step 2: Raise and secure the vehicle. Raise the vehicle and secure it on jack stands, and then remove the wheel.

Place blocks of wood underneath the front and rear of the wheel diagonally opposed from the one you will be working on.

person removing caliper bolts with ratchet socket

Step 3: Remove the caliper and its bolts. Once the wheel is removed, proceed to remove the caliper bolts, and then remove the caliper.

If the caliper is still tight once the bolts are removed, wedge a flathead screwdriver between the pad and the caliper and gently pry until the caliper can come loose.

Once the caliper is free, secure it somewhere on the vehicle, out of the way, using mechanic’s wire. Also take this time to disconnect the parking brake cables.

picture of brake hub assembly with caliper removed

Step 4: Remove the rotor. Once the caliper is removed, remove the rotor to expose the hub.

If the rotor appears to be stuck, make sure that the parking brake is disengaged, or try striking the rotor hub face with a hammer until it breaks free.

Step 5: Remove the axle nut. Remove the axle nut using your long handle breaker bar and the appropriate axle nut socket.

one of the pinch bolts that secures the spindle to the vehicle

Step 6: Remove the upper control arm. Remove the two pinch bolts that secure the upper control arm and the toe link ball joint ends to the spindle.

upper control arm ball joint being removed from pinch bracket of spindle

Step 7: Separate the control arm and toe link ball joints. They should be separated from the pinch brackets on the spindle.

Spray them liberally with penetrating fluid, as they will probably be rusted, and then use the pry bar to pry them loose. If they will not separate, wedge the chisel in-between the pinch brackets and pry them apart until the joint loosens.

Step 8: Remove the lower control arm bolt. Once both joints are separated, remove the lower control arm bolt from the spindle.

removing hub and spindle

Step 9: Pull the hub from the vehicle. The spindle should now be completely unbolted from the vehicle and ready to remove using the wheel hub puller.

Install the wheel hub puller using a few lug nuts, and then tighten the puller center bolt until the hub is pulled free.

Step 10: Install new hub components. At this point the spindle should be removed and ready for the new parts.

As the hub and bearing are pressed into the spindle a shop press will be required to remove the old bearing and hub, and install the new components. If a shop press is not available, you can a have professional do this for you.

reassembled brake hub assembly

Step 11: Reinstall hub on vehicle. Once the new components have been installed into the hub, reinstall it onto the vehicle in the reverse of the removal procedure.

Torque the axle nut to the manufacturer's specified value and then reinstall the wheel on the vehicle.

In most cases replacing a rear hub bearing on a Ford Explorer is a straightforward task, however there can be instances where it may become difficult, such as when the ball joints are rusted to the spindle or when the axle nut is extremely tight and difficult to remove. In these instances, it may be a good idea to contact a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to replace your wheel hub assembly to ensure that the job is completed properly.

Next Step

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27 years of experience
184 reviews
27 years of experience
Kia Optima L4-2.4L - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - Nashville, Tennessee
Saw that you folks have many good mechanics but I wanted James because he is really old (just kidding). I wanted him because he has worked on cars for many years and I knew that he would be good and I was not let down. I really liked the fact that I knew that I could trust him after a very short amount of time. I see right through BS and there was none of that. He knew his stuff but did not try to throw smoke and mirrors at me. Did not try to be a know it all and if either of us had a bit of question or doubt about something he was very open and did not try to come off as superior or try to snow me. I am three months into a relearn about modern automobiles (I'm 76) and I bought a $450 scan tool. I completely replaced all vacuum hoses on this 2013 Kia, replaced the throttle body, removed the intake manifold and manually cleaned the intake valves. Also replaced the catalytic converter. Car runs like new. I discussed what I did with James and he approved of the stuff I did and gave me free and honest additional advice. When I go to the Kia dealership they act very "cagey" and distant. They deliberatly try to keep a wall between us. However the parts perople are a husband and wife team that are so sweet that it seems like I am in an old general store. That is the same vibe I get from James. I am much older than my wife and I will pass long before her. I have told her that she should stick with "Your Mechanic" when I am gone. I will also be using your fine tuned company in the near and distant future. I hope your other mechanics around middle Tn. are as good. Chris Harris, Nashville. Feel free to use my full name.
BMW 320i xDrive - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - Antioch, Tennessee
James is excellent. Was very quick about getting the job done and knowledgeable about my car and answered a lot of questions.


42 years of experience
1589 reviews
42 years of experience
Honda Accord L4-2.4L - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Rear) - Houston, Texas
Ben was very kind, helpful and fast! I did not have to miss work or anything because he showed up on time and got the job done! Thanks Ben!
Chevrolet Equinox - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - Houston, Texas
Ben was timely, courteous and very professional. He arrived on time and went above and beyond customer service. He was efficient and did the job in a timely manner. I would highly recommend!


18 years of experience
575 reviews
18 years of experience
Chrysler PT Cruiser L4-2.4L - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - San Antonio, Texas
Arrived ahead of schedule, and finished early. Gustavo also checked an issue that resulted from an alignment shop - issue still pending.


13 years of experience
227 reviews
13 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.0L - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front, Passenger Side Front) - Arlington, Texas
Attention to detail. Excellent mechanic, knowledgeable and informative. I would use Thomas and your service again.

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