Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Replacing a hub bearing

asked by on

How to replace a hub bearing on a 94 buick regal
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Each front wheel has a unitized hub/bearing...

Each front wheel has a unitized hub/bearing assembly that is bolted onto the steering knuckle. To get to it you have to remove the brake caliper, torque plate, and drive axle. Unless you have a high capacity (250 foot pounds) torque wrench and a front hub spindle removing tool (designated J-28733-A or equivalent), this is not a recommended DIY job. In particular, the new axle nut has to be torqued to 184 ft. lbs, no more, no less.

One of the most common problems we see with post installation DIY failures involving these unitized hub/bearing assemblies is the bearings are destroyed after a few thousand miles because the installer fails to properly and accurately torque that axle nut. The nut is critical because it establishes the pre-load on the new bearings and we are talking about clearances measured in less than thousandths of inch. With too much preload you basically destroy the new bearing by grinding the balls into the race. With tool little torque, the bearing will cock and you will have looseness. On a car of this age, it is likely the unitized assembly is rusted shut to the steering knuckle so you don't want to get stuck at that point (there are techniques to free it without destroying the knuckle).

YourMechanic performs hundreds of these replacements and can do it more economically than you can once you add up the cost of the tools. We would be pleased to first confirm that you do indeed have a bad bearing and then if so, replace the wheel bearing for you. If you still elect to do it yourself, remember that the vehicle must be supported on sturdy jack stands (hydraulic jacks alone can fail with NO warning) and you must wear safety glasses.

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: Rattling sound in 2004 F-150 Lariat when starting the engine on cold weather

Unfortunately for you, that is almost always a testing slap. It means that the bearings are worn and that the pistons around are slapping back and forth. If it makes that much noise, have a mechanic listen to and diagnose...

Q: Car belts making noise.

There are several bearings in the pulley system that is driven by your serpentine belt. It is not uncommon for them to go bad occasionally and make noise. However it is also possible that your belt may be worn, or...

Q: Car losing water, but I don't see the leak.

Hi and thanks for the question - it is a good one. Modern cooling systems work under different pressures and with so many hoses and auxiliary water pumps it can be hard to find a coolant leak. Factor in that...

Related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.