How To Pack A Wheel Bearing The Old Fashion Way

Learning how to pack a wheel bearing may not seem worth a blog post, but is it? There are tools for packing wheel bearings and I will go over those. However, in this post, I want to look at the old fashion way of packing a wheel bearing.

How To Pack A Wheel Bearing

When you pack a wheel bearing the old fashion way, you actually can ensure it is done correctly. The key on how to pack a wheel bearing, is to ensure no roller is missed getting greased. By hand, you can see where the grease is going. With a tool, not so much.

What is a Wheel Bearing

A wheel bearing is a set of precision-engineered rollers or balls enclosed within a metal ring, known as the race.

There are several types of wheel bearings today. This article is only covering a tapered wheel bearing a race type. For roller bearings, needle bearings or hub assemblies, this doesn’t apply.

Tapered wheel bearings and race are more common in older cars, before hub assemblies came out. However, they are still in use on many cars today, like on rear drum brakes.

They are most commonly found in various types of automotive wheel hubs, transmissions, differentials, trailer axles, and heavy machinery.

What distinguishes tapered wheel bearings and races is their conical shape. The inner and outer surfaces of both the bearing and race are tapered, allowing them to withstand both radial and axial loads efficiently.

This design enables the bearing to handle the lateral forces experienced during cornering, acceleration, and braking in vehicles.

For wheel bearings, regular inspection and lubrication are necessary to prolong their lifespan and maintain correct lubrication.

What is the Best Wheel Bearing Grease to Use

How To Pack A Wheel Bearing

When others are learning how to pack a wheel bearing on their own. I often get asked what is the best wheel bearing grease to use? I have used a lot of greases and most of them have done just fine.

However, my two favorite wheel bearing greases to use are Timken and Lucas. Both the Timken and the Lucas Red “N” Tacky just seem to hold up and last longer.

When it comes to packing a wheel bearing, you don’t want a grease that is thin and doesn’t adhere. Learning how to pack a wheel bearing, is understanding how grease works.

The primary function of wheel bearing grease is to lubricate the moving parts within the bearing assembly. This reduces friction between the rollers and the bearing races, minimizing wear and heat generation.

By maintaining a thin film of grease between these components, the grease effectively reduces friction, allowing the bearings to rotate smoothly.

Using a thinner cheap grade grease, the heat will break down the lubricating quality and cause the bearing to wear excessively.

The goal is to buy a grease that is designed for higher heats and will stick to the rollers. Low grade grease, will stop adhering to the rollers when they get hot.

Identifying Types of Bearings

As mentioned from above, there are different types of wheel bearings. Ensure that you have a tapered wheel bearing and race type before trying to pack it.

This is the type of wheel bearing you want to pack. NOTE: The bearing is on the left and the race in on the right..

How To Pack a Wheel Bearing

The following are not the type you pack with this method.

Wheel Bearings

How To Pack a Wheel Bearing

I am going to try my best to explain this, but I will say images and the video below will help you best.

Take a medium amount of grease and place it in the palm of your hand. You can use the wheel bearing to scoop some from the tub of grease.

Look at this image to help understand what the goal is.

You will want to take the bearing and scrape the grease into the roller cage a little at a time. Notice how the bearing is tapered. With the narrow side facing up and the wider side facing down. Scrape the grease with the wider side and watch it ooze up through and between the sleeve and roller cage.

How To Pack a Wheel Bearing

You will rotate the bearing while scraping until you see grease secreting up and out of the top gap. Once the grease is completely oozed through the gap, all the way around, you’re done.

Do not leave any parts of the gap, missing any grease, it has to be even all the way around.

Watch – How To Pack a Wheel Bearing

Wheel Bearing Packing Tools

For every type of vehicle, there are always many different type of tools you will need. Be sure to check out my page, Automotive Tools and Supplies.

Browse my Amazon Store for Wheel Bearing Essentials. Everything you would need to pack a wheel bearing with.