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Guide to Replacing Trailer Wheel Bearings

Guide to Replacing Trailer Wheel Bearings

Trailer wheel bearings can become damaged and worn out through general wear and tear, just like any other vehicle, so it’s important to ensure you check them frequently, especially before any long journeys. The wear and tear on a trailer wheel bearing is a gradual process, but additional damage can be easily inflicted by poor driving and maintenance habits.

Give your wheel bearings the longest life possible by avoiding these mistakes

One poor driving habit is overloading the trailer; adding more than the recommended weight puts additional stress on the wheels, tyres and axles. Whilst the wheels themselves aren’t likely to break (depending on just how much you’ve overloaded by!) the wheel bearings are much smaller and can experience a lot of damage from this. If you do not know the weight bearing of your trailer, then you should investigate this. The easiest was would be to look at the trailer axle, or you can call us with the information of the trailer and we would be able to help.

Loading the trailer unevenly also leaves your wheel bearings at risk of extra damage. This causes major stability issues. Also, the uneven pressure an incorrectly weighted trailer puts on the wheel bearings causes incongruous wear on the side of the extra weight. For example, a trailer loaded heavily to the right hand side will cause the right hand side wheel bearings to work much harder than those on the left and will therefore shorten the right hand side bearings lifespan significantly compared to their left hand counter parts.

How to change your wheel bearings

  • Check the condition of the shaft on the suspension unit. This should be free of rust and debris.
  • If it requires cleaning, use sandpaper to rub the unwanted matter off.
  • Identify which bearing is the front and which is the rear.
  • The new bearings need to be thoroughly greased and prepared for fitting, for best results be sure to grease new bearings by hand.
  • Slide the rear bearing onto the shaft, ensuring it is pushed all the way back.
  • Grease the inside of the hub and insert the front bearing with the tapered edge facing in.
  • Slide the hub onto the shaft remembering that the wheel nuts face out.
  • Grease the front bearing again now it is in the hub and place a washer on top of it.
  • Tighten up the axle nut to the correct torque setting then rotate the hub by hand to settle the bearings. Continue to loosen and re tighten the nut by hand until there is no or very little play in the bearing. Make sure you don’t over tighten because this will result in premature bearing failure.
  • Turn the castle nut back a little bit until you can see the small hole that the split-pin passes through.
  • Push the split-pin through the hole and open it out with a screwdriver and small hammer.

Once you reach this point, all that needs to be done is to refit the hub cap to ensure you keep the bearings protected from as much dirt, water and rust as possible to ensure the longest lifespan.

New Trailer Wheel bearings are available from ATE UK, if you are unsure on which type that you need, please do feel free to speak with our TechTalk team on 01206 585439.