Written By Lisa Conant
Published Oct. 14, 2021

Have you ever been driving down the road, business as usual, when you start to notice a strange grating or humming sound coming from one of your wheels? Of course, it doesn’t go away on its own and continues to worsen over time. While the culprit can be a few things, chances are you have a bad wheel bearing. These tiny components support the entire weight of your vehicle while you’re driving, so it’s important to replace them quickly when they wear out. If you’re in the market for new wheel bearings, we’ve got you covered with our list of top-quality picks and our handy buying guide that will help you determine what to look for to ensure you’re getting the right ones to keep your vehicle driving safely.

Best Wheel Bearing Reviews & Recommendations

The Timken SP500300 Axle Bearing is our top pick for the best overall wheel bearing as it’s tough to beat in terms of reliability, construction, and durability. It’s constructed from a high-quality steel alloy that provides you with increased durability and strength over much of the competition, and a heavy-duty seal and shield configuration protects the inner bearing components from unwanted dust and water. This particular model also reduces weight by up to 20 percent per unit compared with some other options.

The self-clamped design cuts down on high stress in the spindle and CV joint, which makes this model a long-lasting and durable option. It features a passive sensor, which isn’t top-of-the-line, but for this price point, we’re willing to overlook it. Just be sure your vehicle is compatible with a passive sensor prior to purchase. This unit comes backed by a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, which is a nice added peace of mind.

Specs
  • Brand Timken
  • Model SP500300
  • Weight 13.2 pounds
PROS

Lightweight and reliable option

High-quality

Works on multiple driving systems

CONS

Not universally compatible

Passive sensor technology

Somewhat pricey compared to other options

The Motorman wheel hub provides two wheel bearings for your vehicle, getting you back on the road for an affordable fee. It is one of the many wheel bearing systems produced by a leading manufacturer in the vehicle industry and can replace the bearings of two-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles. These bearings and hubs are durably constructed and designed to meet all OEM standards. They are, however, set up for a five-lug replacement, so be sure to double-check your specs prior to purchase.

These replacement hubs mount directly to your vehicle without any modifications needed and installation is quick and relatively straightforward. You also get a one-year, unlimited mileage warranty for added peace of mind. Be forewarned that this model includes ABS wiring, so if your vehicle has certain drive systems or trim levels, these wheel bearings may also be incompatible.

Specs
  • Brand Motorman
  • Model WHB02-513121
  • Weight 17.45 pounds
PROS

Very affordable

Compatible with 2WD and 4WD vehicles

One-year, unlimited mile warranty

CONS

Only compatible with ABS brake systems

May not work with certain trim levels or drive systems

Only compatible with five-lug wheel assemblies

The Timken SP580310 Wheel Bearing and Hub Assembly System is a premium quality option that’s offered at a decent price point. It’s a self-retained, integrated package bearing equipped with active sensor technology that makes it a versatile and reliable choice. The integrated raceway and hub provide up to 30 percent increased stiffness over some other choices and it also offers a reduced weight that helps reduce strain on surrounding components.

That improved function parlays into a longer-lasting hub assembly, which makes this choice an even better investment. Reduced radial section thickness and a narrow overall package width help to improve fuel efficiency and vehicle maneuverability, and this model also comes equipped with an ABS sensor cable, so it won’t work on many older vehicles that don’t have ABS brakes. There is some concern over the reliability and durability of the sensor on this unit, but with a 12-month limited warranty, you should be fine.

Specs
  • Brand Timken
  • Model SP580310
  • Weight 17.7 pounds
PROS

High-quality, durable construction

30 percent increased stiffness and brake performance

Can help improve car’s fuel efficiency and maneuverability

CONS

Somewhat pricey

Requires ABS brake setup

Concern over long-term reliability of sensors

The Detroit Axle Hub Bearing Assembly is a great option for your 4WD vehicle as this kit includes the front wheel bearing and hub assembly for a refreshingly affordable price. More impressively, the unit is backed by an industry-leading 10-year warranty, making it one of the best buys on our list. It features an ABS sensor cable and is proudly made in the USA and this 6-lug hub replacement is suitable for select Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Avalanche, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Sierra, Yukon, and Savana models. Double-check compatibility prior to purchase.

This bearing and hub assembly are engineered to meet stringent fatigue requirements in order to reduce the risk of premature failure, and the seals are constructed from premium materials and optimized to perform reliably in harsh environments. The hub is pre-coated with corrosion-resistant lubricant, making this a long-lasting choice. There is some concern over questionable customer service, however.

Specs
  • Brand Detroit Axle
  • Model 515036DA
  • Weight 24 pounds
PROS

High-quality, durable construction

Heavy-duty seal keeps out dust and water

10-year warranty

CONS

Vehicle specific

Questionable customer service

Only meant for 4WD vehicles

Honorable Mention

The Moog 515058 Wheel Bearing and Hub Assembly is another high-quality, ruggedly built option that won’t disappoint. This model is engineered to be quickly and easily installed without any hassles, and an application-specific advanced raceway design extends service life by reducing stress, heat, and rotation on surrounding components. Wheel studs feature anti-corrosion coating for added longevity and easier removal.

This model is equipped with a tough, abrasion-resistant ABS cord that holds up against vibration, contamination, and premature wear. This particular model is an eight-lug replacement part and is backed by a one-year warranty. This is one of the priciest options on our list. Also, there have been reports of this unit prompting false dashboard alerts for ABS failure in some vehicles.

Specs
  • Brand Moog
  • Model 515058
  • Weight 18.67 pounds
PROS

Provides improved torque during driving

Subjected to rigorous testing standards for added longevity

Rugged and durable ABS cord

CONS

Pricey

Can trip the ABS dashboard sensor in some vehicles

Only compatible with eight-lug wheel setups

How We Selected Wheel Bearings 

When it comes to choosing top-quality wheel-bearing assemblies, the options are vast and varied. Because they’re all vehicle-specific, we decided to go with a range of choices designed for a number of different makes and models. We also tried to include a wide range of pricing options to suit any budget. Lastly, we selected only those products made by well-respected, industry-leading manufacturers that each offer a warrantied product to give your investment extra protection.

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

Buying Guide/What to Look For 

When you’re choosing the best wheel bearing and hub assembly replacement, there are several things to consider that will help you get the most for your money and ensure you’re not getting a cheaply made product that will break the first time out and leave you stranded in the middle of the road.

What to Consider When Buying Wheel Bearings

Compatibility

This is probably the most important thing to consider when selecting the proper wheel bearings. All wheel bearings and hub assemblies are vehicle-specific, so you need to double and even triple-check that you’re ordering the right part before you click “Buy.”

Manufacturer

We recommend going with a well-known, long-standing, and reputable manufacturer of automotive parts. Many times, these companies will have been in business for decades and will have a history of providing high-quality, reliable parts that stand the test of time. Even better if you can find a U.S.-based manufacturer and one that backs their products with a good warranty and stellar customer service.

Material quality

The standard material used for wheel bearings is steel, but it is important to note that not all steel is the same. There are different grades available, some more durable than others. Look for wheel bearings made from strong and corrosion-resistant steel alloy. They will offer a longer lifespan than some other more cheaply made products.

Price

Nothing is purchased without prior knowledge of how much it costs. Look out for wheel bearings which are very functional but are within your budget. To find your best bet economically, study a range of products, note their specifications, and compare these to their prices and your budget. This will save you from overinvesting in extra features you might not need.

Tips and Tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and wheel bearings. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • When installing your new wheel bearing and hub assembly, turn the hub a few times while tightening down the nut in order to ensure the bearings are even.
  • Torque procedures vary greatly between wheel bearing assemblies, so be sure to double check your specific manufacturer’s recommendations prior to completing the install.
  • Also check to see if your wheel bearing assembly is supposed to be torqued with the wheel on the ground or off it.
  • If you have a wheel hub that is stuck to the steering knuckle, try using an induction heater to break the corrosive bond; it’s safer and gentler than using a hammer or brute force.

FAQs

Q: How often should I replace my wheel bearings?

Wheel bearings can be used for an extended period, depending on the requirements and advice from the manufacturers. Despite their long lifespan, these units need to be maintained regularly, and this is done via lubrication. When lubricating wheel bearings, users are advised to use synthetic oils.

Q: What are the signs of a bad wheel bearing?

Usually one of the hallmark signs of a bad wheel bearing is an audible sound like a grating, clunking or knocking that may get worse with acceleration. Other symptoms include vibrations at constant speeds, uneven rotor or brake pad wear, and pulling of your vehicle to one side when braking.

Q: How much will it cost to replace the wheel bearing?

Replacing a wheel bearing might cost you, depending on your vehicle and the brand you buy. There are countless brands on the market which can be attached to your car with ease.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a high-quality, reliable, and long-lasting wheel bearing assembly, our top pick is the Timken SP500300 Wheel Bearing. This bearing is constructed from high-quality steel alloy that provides you with increased durability and strength over much of the competition.

If you want a top-notch, budget-friendly option, consider the Motorman Wheel Bearing. This huge bargain provides two distinctly designed wheel bearings for your vehicle, getting you back on the road for an affordable fee.

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