What the heck!?

Does anyone know what could make a car go through bearing/hub assemblies on a regular basis? I have replaced the front bearings seven times in 18 months (4 on the driver’s side, 3 passenger side. The car is aligned, tires are new, new lower control arms, new drive shafts, new struts. But the problem persists. Works fine for a couple months, then the ABS light comes on, and shortly afterward the bearing begins to fail. I do all the work myself. Not sure of the problem. It next time I fix it, it will be with a match and gasoline!

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Are you torquing the axle nut to spec?


Not all bearings are created equal. OEM quality is the best along with Timken and SKF. I also agree that the axle nut should be torqued at the manufacturer specs.Never use an air tool to tighten the axle nut.


GM nor does any other auto maker make wheel bearings.

They purchase them from a vendor/supplier.

For all you know, the bearing assemblies are supplied by SKF, Timken, or FAG.

Depends on who provides the lowest bid for the bearings.


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I had 2 bearing hub assemblies on on front left side, 125k and 160k , one on front right at 140k, just got to deal with it i guess, no real rationalization. All were napa. I am not sure of good better or best,

Does your car have after market wheels? Wheels with the wrong offset can eat up bearings

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What exactly are the symptoms which lead you to believe the bearings are failing? Looseness, grinding, etc?

As Twin Turbo mentions; are you tightening the axle nut properly? Which means TIGHT.

I have seen several instances of people tightening halfshaft axle nuts in a manner similar to barely snug much like old style tapered front wheel bearings. Doing this means they will soon fail. I assume this is not the case here but just wonderin’…

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Thanks for your responses. Yes, I am tightening the axle nuts to the proper torque spec. I also use a new nut every time. Cheap insurance. Can’t remember the torque value, either 118 or 122 ft/lbs. I have the manual. As for the symptoms, it starts with a low moan which increases or decreases in intensity depending on direction of turn, and gradually gives way to a shake and vibration akin to loose lug nuts, also varying on intensity with turn direction. Sometimes the bearings come out in pieces, or with flat ball bearings. I do know the symptoms of failing bearings. I am not a certified mechanic but I have done my own repairs my entire life until it comes to internal engine or transmission issues, which I leave to you pros. I have tried many brands, never repeating one which failed. Time for a new car I think, at least after I com0lete this fuel pump replacement.

Also, stock wheels.

My guess is that the bearings are getting wet somehow. Do you ever drive through water deep enough to come up to the hub? Even doing that once can ruin a bearing. It doesn’t fail immediately but the water gets into the bearing parts, rusts, and eventually fails. I have a 4WD truck with hubs that engage with a little manual lever at the wheel. If I drive in water over the hub I have to remove the wheel, hub, and bearings and clean them of all water each time that happens. On camping trips I’ve had to do that at the campsite nearly every evening of the trip. The way it is configured on my truck, no special tooling (i.e. no press) is required to remove the bearings, so other than I have to remove the brake drum, it isn’t that big of a job.

Double check the specs across multiple resources. Those numbers seem low to me. As you know, that is probably THE most critical aspect of the job. Aside from buying good hub assemblies. Have you checked which manufacturer bearings are loaded in the hubs? I will always spring for the best bearing I can get regardless of hub assembly price- for this kind of reason.

Do the axles slide into the hub nice or do they need some coercion? Check the splines for damage or debris. Sounds like you already know this stuff but worth mentioning. Not much else can go wrong…

I have to put in a plug for Rock Auto for Wheel Bearing / Hub Assemblies.

Lots of “flavors” to choose from and price range. Super prices. Fast shipping & delivery. I recently got a front WJB bearing/hub assy delivered in a couple days for about forty bucks, including ABS speed sensor, shipping, and all.

Look up the torque specs and use that if you’re not already.


I’m not going to say what came to mind seeing those links.

Torque wrench bad and over-tightening? Oiling threads?

Thanks for all the great input guys. Looks like it will not be a problem any more. I’m giving up on the car, or rather the car is giving up on me. Now it’s an ignition issue. Recently put in new coils, plugs and wires. A week ago the car began refusing to start with a warm engine so I kept it running til at work or home. It would usually start again in 3 hours. So I replaced the fuel pump which fixed it for a couple of days. Problem returned but restart time was up to 4 hours. Replaced the relay and ignition control module. Didn’t help. I’m working 10 hours from home and now it refuses to start at all. Turns over, has spark. Too much money going into a car with only 125,000 miles on it. Hope I can at least get it running to sell it.