Your Toyota Avalon’s wheel bearings allow the wheels to spin smoothly and quietly. Over time, these bearings can wear out and need replacing. Toyota Avalon Wheel Bearing Replacement of worn bearing ensures smooth and safe driving. This guide will walk you through everything involved in replacing your Avalon’s wheel bearing.
Table of Contents
- Understanding Wheel Bearings and Their Importance
- Warning Signs Your Avalon’s Wheel Bearing Needs Replacement
- Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost
- Items Needed for DIY Replacement
- Step-by-Step Wheel Bearing Replacement Instructions
- 1. Safety First
- 2. Removing the Wheel, Brake Caliper and Rotor
- 3. Detaching the Steering Components
- 4. Removing the Bearing Assembly
- 5. Pressing Out the Old Bearing
- 6. Pressing in the New Bearing
- 7. Reinstalling the Bearing Assembly
- 8. Reattaching the Steering Components
- 9. Refitting the Brakes and Wheel
- 10. Testing Your Work
- Finding a Repair Shop You Can Trust
Understanding Wheel Bearings and Their Importance
The wheel bearings in your Avalon are located inside the wheel hubs. Their job is to allow the wheels to spin freely while supporting the weight of the vehicle. There are generally two bearings per wheel: an inner and an outer bearing.
These bearings must be properly lubricated and free of wear and damage. Otherwise, you’ll hear loud noises when driving and experience sluggish handling. Worn bearings can also lead to excessive wheel wobbling and uneven tire wear. That’s why timely wheel bearing replacement is essential.
Warning Signs Your Avalon’s Wheel Bearing Needs Replacement
How do you know it’s time to replace your Avalon’s wheel bearing? Here are some telltale signs:
- Grinding, rumbling or whirring noises when driving, especially at higher speeds
- Clicking or popping sounds when turning the front wheels
- Uneven tire wear, such as excessive wear on the inner or outer tread
- Excessive vibration in the steering wheel, especially when braking
- The car pulls to one side when driving straight
Don’t ignore these symptoms. Have the wheel bearings inspected and replaced if worn. Delaying replacement will lead to further damage.
Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost
Wheel bearing replacement costs for a Toyota Avalon typically range from $150 to $350 per bearing. So you can expect to pay $300 to $700 or more for replacing both front wheel bearings.
Labor accounts for a large chunk of this cost. The estimated time for replacing one front wheel bearing is around 2 hours. And you’ll pay around $100 per hour for mechanical labor at a dealership or reputable shop.
The parts themselves range from $50 to $150 per bearing. Opt for premium-quality OE or OEM bearings for optimal performance and longevity.
Rear wheel bearings may cost slightly less—$120 to $250 per side. Overall, factoring in labor, expect to spend $500 or more on replacing all four wheel bearings.
Items Needed for DIY Replacement
With some mechanical skill, you can replace your Avalon’s wheel bearings at home and save on labor costs. Here are the main items needed:
- Wheel bearing kit – Comes with inner and outer bearings, seals, washers, lock nut and snap ring. Purchase premium quality parts made specifically for your Avalon’s make, model and year.
- Axle nut socket – For removing the axle nut securing the wheel bearing assembly. Must fit your Avalon’s nut size.
- Ball joint separator – Used for detaching the upper ball joint to allow access to the bearing.
- Hub puller – For pulling the hub and bearing assembly off the knuckle.
- Torque wrench – To tighten bolts and nuts to the specified torques.
- Jack and jack stands – For safely raising and supporting the Avalon off the ground.
- Wheel lug wrench – For removing the wheels.
- Brake cleaner – For cleaning components.
- Grease – To repack the new bearings.
- Shop manual – For reference to your Avalon’s specifications.
Step-by-Step Wheel Bearing Replacement Instructions
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty of replacing your Toyota Avalon’s wheel bearing:
1. Safety First
- The Avalon must be on a level surface with the parking brake engaged and wheels chocked.
- Wear protective gloves and eyewear.
- Never work under an unsupported vehicle. Secure it on jack stands.
- Avoid breathing brake dust. Use an approved mask if needed.
2. Removing the Wheel, Brake Caliper and Rotor
- Loosen the wheel lug nuts with the lug wrench.
- Jack up the front and position a jack stand beneath the frame rail.
- Remove the lug nuts and wheel. Set them aside.
- Unbolt and detach the caliper from its mount. Hang it securely using a bungee cord or wire. Don’t let it hang by the brake hose.
- Slide off the brake rotor and set it aside.
3. Detaching the Steering Components
- Remove the cotter pin and loosen the nut securing the outer tie rod end to the steering knuckle. Use proper tools to avoid damage.
- Detach the outer tie rod end using a tie rod separator. Swing it down and out of the way.
- Loosen and remove the upper ball joint nut.
- Use a ball joint separator to detach the upper ball joint stud from the knuckle. Take care not to damage the stud boots.
4. Removing the Bearing Assembly
- Remove the axle nut dust cap to access the axle nut.
- Place the axle nut socket over the nut and turn it counter-clockwise to loosen.
- Attach the hub puller and use it to pull the wheel hub and bearing assembly off the knuckle.
- Rest the assembly on a clean surface.
5. Pressing Out the Old Bearing
- Secure the bearing assembly in a vise with soft jaws.
- Use a bearing puller to press the inner and outer bearings out of the hub. Discard the old bearings, seals and small parts.
- Thoroughly clean the wheel hub bore and knuckle.
6. Pressing in the New Bearing
- Pack the new inner and outer bearings thoroughly with fresh high-temp bearing grease.
- First press in the new inner bearing followed by the outer into the wheel hub. Use an appropriate sleeve and press.
- Install new seals, washers, snap ring, etc. Refer to the shop manual torque specs.
7. Reinstalling the Bearing Assembly
- Slide the assembly onto the wheel knuckle and hand tighten the axle nut to hold it in place.
- Torque the axle nut to Toyota’s spec using the axle nut socket and torque wrench.
- Refit the axle nut dust cap.
8. Reattaching the Steering Components
- Clean the upper ball joint stud boot and knuckle mating surfaces.
- Position the upper ball joint into the knuckle and tighten the nut to spec. Install new cotter pin.
- Attach the outer tie rod end. Tighten the nut and insert a new cotter pin.
9. Refitting the Brakes and Wheel
- Install the brake rotor and caliper. Apply thread locker and torque the caliper bolts to spec.
- Remount the wheel and hand tighten the lug nuts.
- Lower the Avalon and torque the lug nuts in sequence to the specified setting.
10. Testing Your Work
- With the wheels safely on the ground, spin each wheel by hand to ensure smooth rotation.
- Take the Avalon for a test drive. Listen carefully for any noises when accelerating or braking.
- If any vibration or odd sounds are noticed, have a professional inspect your work.
With properly replaced wheel bearings, your Avalon will drive nice and quiet again. Just be diligent with scheduled maintenance, and the new bearings should last tens of thousands of miles.
Finding a Repair Shop You Can Trust
If you prefer leaving the wheel bearing job to the experts, finding a quality repair shop is key. Here are some tips:
- Look for an ASE-certified shop with trained technicians experienced in Toyota repairs.
- Check reviews and get referrals from satisfied Toyota owners.
- Ask if they use OE or OEM parts for wheel bearings. Avoid cheap counterfeits.
- Inquire about their warranty. Many shops provide a 12 month or 12,000 mile guarantee on parts and labor.
- Request a written repair quote before committing to the work.
- Ask to see old bearing parts. Comparing to new verifies the job was done.
- Test drive your Avalon after to ensure the fix resolved any symptoms.
Take the time to find a shop that knows Toyotas and does the job right the first time. Proper wheel bearing replacement keeps your ride running smoothly for miles to come.