DIY Trailer Wheel Bearing Replacement

A trailer is super handy for hauling your toys, tools, and trinkets. However, more than one trailer owner has made the mistake of neglecting trailer maintenance, only to experience a major breakdown on the road. Don't add your picture to the roadside assistance hall of shame. One of the simplest and safest maintenance tasks you can do is repack your wheel bearings. Here's how.

Get the Right Tools

It might be a messy job but it's not a complex one. Don't start the job without having the right tools: a jack, a couple of jack stands, a large screwdriver with a flat tip, an adjustable wrench, a socket wrench, needle nose pliers, a bearing packing tool, and a hammer. You're also going to need brake cleaner, bearing grease, and some rags and shop towels.

Jack it Up

Your first step is loosening the lug nuts then jacking up the trailer and securing it on the jack stands. Make sure the other wheel has a block next to it so it won't move. Next, remove the nuts and take off the wheel. Use the screwdriver to pry the dust cap off the end of the axle. Now you just need to remove the castle nut, washer, and cotter pin and pry the hub off the axle. The bearing assembly will come out with the hub. Set those somewhere clean and safe, inner side down.

Hammer Time

The next step is to remove the bearing and seal. To do this you'll need a small block of wood or your screwdriver and your hammer. Tap along the inner bearing to pop the grease seal out. Now remove the inner wheel bearings, the washer, and outer bearings. Keep everything clean by setting it on a clean towel or newspaper. Any dirt that gets in will cause problems later.


Now it's time to get dirty. Put on a pair of latex gloves and wipe the bulk of the old grease with a clean shop towel and clean off the remaining grease with non-chlorinated brake cleaner. Make sure that it dries before continuing then use a bearing packing tool to repack the hub with grease. Don't be afraid to use a lot. Put a bit more on the rollers. Return the clean bearing to the hub. Put the new seal on, rubber side in. Tap it in place. Add some lubricant to the seal lip.

Pack It Up and Pack it Out

Return the freshly assembled hub onto the spindle. Put the washer and castle nut back on and tighten firmly then loosen just a little so it spins freely but doesn't wobble. Replace the cotter pin with a new one. Put everything else back in the order you took it off. Put the cab back on the hub and the wheel back on the axle and replace the lug nuts.

For professional help, get in touch with a trailer repair service.