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Rear wheel bearing '03 Corolla

My daughter’s '03 Corolla has been making a low howling sound when driven at speeds > 35 mph. The sound is distinctly louder when turning the car to the right.

The sound does not change with engine speed, but does change with car speed. I drove up to 65 MPH on highway, then put car in neutral… sound did not change with RPM changes, but did change somewhat as speed decreased.

I believe it to be the right rear wheel bearing. Thoughts?

is this common? Is it expensive? is it hard for a DIY to replace?

Thanks in advance.

Sounds exactly like a wheel bearing going out. Providing this car is just front wheel drive, and not AWD, you might be able to jack up one wheel at at time and feel or hear the noise with just spinning the tire by hand. If it were me, I’d change both, since you have the tools out, and the other probably isn’t far behind from going out. Plus with the experience you get changing the noisy one, you’ll be able to knock out the other one in half the time.

It does sound like a wheel bearing going out. You don’t mention if the noise is localized in the front or back. However, if the howling sound gets louder when you turn to the right, the failing bearing will probably be on the left side.

Do as ‘benny…’ said, jack up each wheel and spin it. You probably will hear the noisy one.

Hope that helps.

Replacement is easy for the rear bearing hub assembly. Unplug the wheel speed sensor and remove the four bolts that retain the hub aasembly to the backing plate.

Is it expensive? The new hub assembly comes with a new wheel speed sensor. So the replacement hub assembly can get expensive.


Not all 03 Corolla’s have ABS, but otherwise, right on. About $85 w/o ABS

Thanks to all who have posted back so far.

The noise is localized to the rear, and I jacked up the two rear tired, gave 'em a spin, and guess what… growl-growl on the left… nice and quiet on the right.

No-ABS on this one, so it should be more straightforward.

I have priced the rear bearings, and they seem to be pretty inexpensive from ~$80 per side. So, I’ll do both.

A couple questions though:

What is the process for removal of the rear-brake drum? (Assuming it is required to be removed)
What is the proper torque for tightening the hub-assembly bolts?

I don’t have access to the manual. If there is one on-line, I would appreciate a link.

Again, thanks in advance.
Dave - OP

OK, I am doing some research on the internet, and found out a couple things…

Here is a copy of the Manual (in case you are looking):

I have the torque setting, and it looks like I can remove the hub assembly without messing with the brake assembly. Once free, I can detach the drum from the old hub, reattach to the new hub and reassemble. Pretty straight forward…

How does that sound?


Thats about it, but once the bolts are removed, you may find that the old hub assembly will not come out easily. In fact it can be a real bear.

Once out, the new one will go in easy.

Full agreement with the comment that the bolts can be tight. When i did this, 2 of the 4 bolts broke in removal. Recommend spraying them with some lubricant a day or two ahead of time and let them soak, just to loosen them up!

Please stop reviving ancient threads, for the sole purpose of promoting your personal website

What you’re doing is actually not permitted


This guy’s promoting his personal website, as far as I can tell


@cdaquila rtomlinsen is not only spamming his site but seems to be shilling for Amazon (did not know they needed help).