Repacking Trailer Wheel Bearings

This task only takes and hour and will avoid a costly trailer repair.

Repacking the wheel bearings on your utility or boat trailer is quick and easy, and you'll avoid the breakdown that'll leaves you stranded along the road. How many trailers have you seen on the side of the road this year with one wheel propped up? Don't let it happen to you. If you haven't checked your wheel bearings lately, read this article. You can complete this simple task in about an hour and save yourself a big repair bill.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

TIME

One day

COMPLEXITY

Simple

COST

Under $20

Project overview

Many trailer manufacturers recommend this maintenance every year if your trailer gets normal use, or at least every 20,000 miles. To do this job, you'll need a jack, a pair of jack stands, a large screwdriver, a hammer and a needle-nose pliers, clean rags, a small pan, about a quart of kerosene and a spray can of brake cleaner.

First, loosen the lug nuts on one wheel and raise the side of the trailer with a jack. Support the trailer with jack stands and then spin the wheel and listen to the bearings. If the wheel spins freely and quietly, proceed with repacking the bearings. If you hear friction or a growling sound, you most likely have a bad bearing or spindle. If this is the case, take the trailer to a service center to get the bearings replaced.

Figure A: Typical trailer hub assembly

Note: You can download and print Figure A from the Additional Information section below.

Tech art hub parts Bearings and hub parts
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Bearing repacking – start to finish

Simply follow the photo series for the complete project.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Hammer
  • Needle-nose pliers

Jack, Wrench for lug nuts, Jack stands (2), Large screwdriver (flat tip), Adjustable wrench (large)

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Penetrating fluid
  • Brake cleaner (spray can)
  • Kerosene
  • Small pan
  • Clean rags
  • Bearing grease