Everything About RV Wheel Bearings

Everything About RV Wheel Bearings

The general rule of thumb when changing out wheel bearings for the first time would be every 20,000 miles or so depending on your driving habits and terrain where vehicle travels.

How often to repack wheel bearings

The general rule of thumb when changing out wheel bearings for the first time would be every 20,000 miles or so depending on your driving habits and terrain where vehicle travels.

If a bearing starts to make noise, it’s time to repack the bearings. The more often you repack the bearings, the longer they should last. If however, you do not repack them often enough and wait for them to become noisy “the damage will already be done”.

Once this happens [bearing noise], there is no reason in waiting any longer. It may take a few takes before they are quiet again.

How To Check And Replace RV Bearings

If you have limited experience with how to check camper wheel bearings, the first thing to do is to prepare all of the necessary tools and materials that are needed for the inspection. You will need a safety toolkit, wheel alignment tools and an air compressor.


After you have prepared everything, take note of the designations on the axle caps. Then review your vehicle service manual to find out which way each axle should be turned for removal or installation purposes.

Disconnect any of the brake lines that need to be disconnected, then remove any cotter pins or clips that might be in place. Remove the nuts or bolts holding each wheel in place and safely set aside in a clean location for re-installation when finished with the inspection.


Next, you will need to determine if there is a locking nut holding the wheel bearing in place, which can be found behind the outer race of the bearing on one end.

This locknut must be removed with a wheel bearing puller for inspection purposes. If no threads are visible where the outer race meets the axle housing, skip this step and remove the outer race next (you might want to take a photo first to make sure everything goes back into its original position).


Then use your fingers or an open faced wrench to turn the inner part of each wheel bearing counter-clockwise until it’s loose enough that it moves freely when turned by hand. Most camper wheel bearings have tiny notches and grooves that allow you to see when it’s tight enough that you can’t turn the inner race by hand anymore.

After you have worked each bearing off, inspect them for excessive play and/or damage. Also check the races of the outer bearings for flat spots or other signs that indicate damage has been done due to corrosion from exposure to water and dirt.


Replace any wheel bearings with damaged components immediately to avoid further potential problems down the road with your camper wheel bearings. The next step in how to check camper wheel bearings is changing out old parts from worn out assemblies while installing new ones in their place.

Before installing a new wheel bearing, rub some clean engine oil on both sides of ALL metal grease caps and dust shields (if present) and on the OUTSIDE (not the inside) of each new wheel bearing. This will help protect them from further damage due to exposure to water and dust when they are installed in your vehicle.


After you have put clean grease caps with new bearings, hold them against the axle housing while using an open face or regular wrench to screw on a locking nut to keep everything in place.

Make sure that the notches and grooves line up correctly as well before tightening it down all the way! You don’t want your camper wheel bearings shifting around after installation either! Make use of a torque wrench if you have one for added security with these first steps in how to check camper wheel bearings.

Once you are sure that the new wheel bearing is properly installed, begin the inspection process once again with either an open faced or regular wrench to turn the inner part of each wheel bearing clockwise until it stops at its tightest point. This should only take a small amount of force.


DO NOT use excessive force when installing your new camper wheel bearings! You don’t want to risk damaging them and compromising their effectiveness due to over tightening.

Now that all four of your new wheel bearings are back in place, you can test your work by spinning each axle in both directions (NOT while turning on the vehicle because this could cause damage).

If everything feels solid with no play that wasn’t there before during both rotations, then you have successfully completed how to check camper wheel bearings! If there is abnormal play, you might have a problem that requires further inspection. Go back through the process and make sure everything is tight enough without compromising the integrity of your camper wheel bearings.


After confirming that there are no other issues with how to check camper wheel bearings, reinstall each axle and all cotter pins or clips that were removed during the process for additional safety.

This is also another good time to replace worn parts such as brake drum linings and shoes if they need to be replaced. Then test drive your vehicle and enjoy a smoother ride because you took care of your camper wheel bearings BEFORE it was too late!

How do I know if my trailer wheel bearings are bad?

You may notice pulling to one side when you go over a bump in your car or truck. You might hear a knocking sound as you drive over bumps, or feel the steering wheel vibrate.

There’s a good chance that it’s your trailer wheel bearings that are bad. Many people don’t realize that there are four wheels on their boat trailer (two at each end, one ahead of the axle and one behind).

The front two wheels each have two bearings: an inner and an outer bearing.  The rear two wheels only have an outer bearing. If this is hard for you to understand, think about how bicycles with two wheels work: those also have a front wheel and a back wheel.

How much does it cost to replace trailer bearings?

Some RV owners has reported it cost from $200 to $600 to replace RV wheel bearings if you let a professional do it.

But to do it yourself is simple to replace trailer bearings. And it’s a job you can easily undertake yourself to save money. The important thing is to find the right parts and do the job safely.

First, check that you need new bearings. If possible remove one of the old ones and take it with you when shopping for replacements.

A good bearing shop or Amazon should be able to check the bearings fairly accurately using a micrometer on the outside diameter of each ball in turn  and comparing them both against an industry-standard tolerance set . Bearings are sorted by size and usually sold as matched pairs.

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