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Q: I removed the front passenger axle and I noticed there are little balls in the hole where the axle was. What are they called?

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I don't know know what the little balls called are called. Is there a certain part name its. what should I ask for when going to the auto part store. I am doing the work myself

My car has 201000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: You may be referring to the wheel bearing t...

You may be referring to the wheel bearing that is pressed into the steering knuckle. The splined end of the axle, of course, goes through the bearing that is in that knuckle. If so, what you are seeing are simply "ball bearings".

However, for the ball bearings to be visible to you, you must have removed the "inner race" of the bearing assembly on which the ball bearings circulate. The ball bearings are not sold separately in auto parts stores because the whole bearing assembly is machined (manufactured) as a matching unit. Once the bearing assembly is put in service on your car, if you later start changing the balls or races around, which have already set themselves into a "wear pattern", the bearing could fail.

So, basically, if balls are lost or damaged, or if the bearing races (inner or outer) have detectable (visible) wear or damage, the WHOLE bearing has to be replaced as one integral unit and that, indeed, is the only way the bearing is sold to consumers and mechanics.

On your vehicle, the bearing is probably pressed in, using a hydraulic press, to the steering knuckle which means that if you are electing to replace the whole wheel bearing assembly, the steering knuckle has to be carefully removed from the car (the knuckle has to go in the press).

If you are seeing damage on the wheel bearing, for example, if the race has pits of ANY size, or scores of ANY extent, YourMechanic can remove the knuckle from the car and press the old bearing out and a put new one in for you. (The races on your existing bearing, if good, should have a highly polished, mirror like appearance and look "flawless"). Such is a fairly standard and common operation. Please let us know if you need assistance as you move forward on this.

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