Removing Wheel Bearing Dust Cap to Maintain Bearings
Dust caps play an important role in keeping the wheel bearings working properly. It keeps out water, dirt, and grime that would otherwise shorten the life of a wheel bearing. It also effectively keeps the wheel bearing grease inside the wheel hub. However, in order to maintain a properly working wheel bearing, you have to remove to the dust cap protecting it. Below is a guide to help you safely remove a wheel bearing dust cap.
Things You'll Need
- Jack Stands
- Wheel Chocks
- Channel locks
- Flathead screwdriver
- Grease solvent
- Shop rag
- Rubber Mallet (Optional)
Step 1: Place your car on level ground and engage the parking brake before working on the car.
Step 2: Secure either the front wheels or the back with wheel chocks. Place the chucks on the pair of wheels that you would not be working on.
Step 3: With a lug wrench, loosen the lug nuts on the wheel you plan to work on. Remember not to completely remove the lug nuts yet.
Step 4: Once you've loosen the nuts, use the jack to raise the car where the wheel you are about to work on is located. Once raised, place jack stands either under the frame of the car or under the axle housing to support the vehicle.
Step 5: Continue by removing the lug nuts on the wheels and complete the process by removing the wheel assembly.
Step 6: Look for the dust cap located on top of the wheel bearing.
Quick tip: Wheel bearing dust caps are small derby-hat-shaped components with a bubble on top. It also has a small rim around it.
Step 7: Hold on to the dust cap with the use of your pliers and try to remove it with a twisting motion. However, sometimes the dust cap can get stuck due to the build of grease around it.
Step 8: If the dust cap can't be removed with the use of pliers, then try using a pair of channel locks. Use the channel lock to rock the wheel bearing dust cap back and forth in order to loosen it.
Quick Tip: Due to the intense build-up of grease, it can be awfully hard to remove the dust cap even if you are going to use pliers or channel locks. You can use a rubber mallet in order to break down the grease deposit. Lightly tap the mallet on to the surrounding grease in order to break it up. Also, you could try spraying solvent at the base of the cap. Let the solvent set in for a few minutes before trying to loosen the dust cap with your pliers or channel locks.
If you are planning to replace or repack the wheel bearings of your vehicle be cautious about the amount of solvent you spray on the dust cap. Remember to only use a bit of solvent to break the surrounding grease since spraying too much can also dissolve the grease surrounding the wheel ball bearings. This reduction of grease will create friction between the ball bearings which will eventually cause further problems.
Step 9: After doing step 7 and step 8 but the dust cap still would not budge then get your flathead screwdriver to help you pry the dust cap off the wheel bearing. However, it is good to remember that using a screwdriver for threaded dust caps should be only be reserved as last resort.