Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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?

asked by on

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.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Is my mechanic giving me a good deal?

The prices you have listed sound like very good deals you will find a very hard time finding anywhere else especially if the parts are high quality or near OEM quality. IF you are unsure, you can request quotes from...

Q: The car had to be jump-started, engine unresponsive, ABS light on

Hello. It sounds like you are continuing to have a voltage issue. I would start by having the battery cable connections inspected. If the battery or body connections are loose, then this will occur. If they are fine, then the...

Q: Car parts that get damaged while driving through water

When you drive through water, the electronic parts should really never get wet because it can damage them. But, with that said, the electronic power-steering systems are sealed pretty well from water. They have got seals all over. Unless, it's...

Related articles

How to Renew Your Car Registration in Oklahoma(DELETED)
Having your car registered with the Oklahoma Tax Commission is an important part of driving legally in this state. You will need to do this within 30 days of moving to Oklahoma...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...