3 Tips for Reducing Wheel Hub Bearing & Hub Assembly Repair Comebacks
Of all the components that keep the wheels rolling, the wheel hub bearing and hub assembly endure the majority of the stress. Because faulty wheel bearings can cause dangerous situations, a customer whose vehicle’s bearings fail after replacement will generally be extremely concerned and upset.
Therefore, it’s vital to avoid comebacks related to wheel hub bearings and hub assemblies. Not only because these comebacks can harm the shop’s reputation and profitability, but also because the consumer’s safety is at stake.
Here are three things that can be done to reduce or eliminate comebacks, and keep the customer safe.
1. Proper Installation
It seems obvious, but taking the time to ensure proper installation is the best way to avoid comebacks for any repair work. With wheel hub bearings and assemblies, this is critical.
The most common causes of improper installation are:
- Misalignment of the bearings
- Improper use of tools during removal of the old bearings
- Improper use of tools when installing the new bearings
- Improper axle nut torque (where applicable)
With standard wheel bearings, correct alignment is essential. They must be properly packed and installed in line to avoid failure later. With pressed-in bearings, which are much more common today, the proper tools must be used to remove and replace the bearings or damage to the wheel hub can happen. Also, manufacturer’s torque specifications must be adhered too.
Likewise, replacement of the hub and the proper installation of the parts that hold it in place is also critical.
2. Ensure the Problem Is Repaired
Sometimes, the wheel hub bearings are merely a symptom of a larger problem. In these cases, replacing the bearings won’t repair the problem but rather allay the symptoms until the new bearings also fail.
Common problems leading to wheel hub bearings or hub assembly failure include steering misalignment, tire/wheel imbalance, or damage to related components. The latter is important as a primary reason for bearing failure is impact that’s caused them to make contact with the hub. If a bearing replacement is needed, check for these issues before completing the repair.
3. Thoroughly Test
Finally, thoroughly testing the vehicle after repair is key to any shop’s quality assurance. With wheel hubs, the testing may not come up with a problem, as those tend to develop over time. The testing should focus not only on the hub and bearings but on finding other issues that could be causing the failure. It’s best to have a mechanic other than the one performing the work do the after-repair testing. This puts another pair of eyes on the install, which can help spot issues and reduce the likelihood of a comeback.