Which Wheel Bearing Brands to Avoid and Why? Explained

The wheel bearings maintain the position of the wheels. These are important for the safety of the vehicle. With bad bearings, bad accidents can easily occur. Wheel bearings also ensure smooth rotation of the wheels for quiet functioning.

There are many bad wheel bearings in the market that you should avoid. Similarly, there are better alternatives for those. But which one to pick and which one to avoid?

In this article, I have done the research for you. So read till the end to find out about some of the worst wheel-bearing brands to avoid a lost investment.

Do Wheel Bearing Brands Matter?

There are two ways to approach this question. The first, is a well-known brand necessary? Second, is a brand important over an unnamed brand?

To answer the second question, simply ‘yes’. You will see that the unnamed bearings usually bend easily. Or make popping noises at a few miles over 30K.

Some opine that it’s not the brand that matters, but the installation. Moreover, specific bearing brands go with specific cars. For example, OEM bearings for VW, and FAG for Audi.

Which Wheel Bearing Brands to Avoid?

Look out for poor manufacturers. Low-cost bearings reek of poor production. These are usually fake ones too!

The list below states some poor-quality wheel-bearing brands. These are stated below:

  1. Timken: This brand has been called one of the bests of all time. But in reality, it is not! It is sad to see so many websites ranking it under the best brands. Don’t get me wrong, they do produce some high-quality products. But they can sometimes produce the worst items. Specifically, the Timken HA590036 is the worst product by them. It has a bad heating problem. This causes problems in the ABS sensor.
  2. Rolltec: The bearings go bad very fast, at extremely low mileages. This is because it is currently owned by Chinese inventors. So the quality is compromised. The brand was originally founded in Sweden. They have warranty problems as well. You will also spend more money replacing the bearings. Because they are not lasting at all.
  3. MOOG: This one too like Timken, has a good reputation. Mostly due to being in business for more than a century now. They are proud to be one of the biggest suppliers of wheel bearings all over the world. But similar to Timken, a few of their bearings are bad. For example, the MOOG 513179 or the MOOG 512518  bearings. I suggest you read a few customer reviews from any online website you buy their bearings from. They cannot deliver performance against high temperatures, and nor do they last longer than five months.
  4. Dorman: Like MOOG, they have been making wheel bearings for 100 years now. The model Dorman 950-001 is a major failure in the business. It has a below-average build. It starts to give out a little after 8 months.
  5. WJB: Although they are made in the USA, they have poor quality. Their poor-quality results in bearings that give out too soon. Spinning the wheel, you will find that clanking occurs when you change the car’s pace or direction. They are costly.Moreover, their rare-wheel hub-bearing assemblies are extra worse. One particular model, the WJB WA512326 seems
  6. EGT: They produce automobile components for buses, trucks etc. The bearings are frequently faulty. The build is either quite thin, or thick.
  7. GSP: They are one of the brands made in China. They produce cheap, low-quality wheel bearings. They are short-lasting.
  8. Detroit Axle: They are cheap quality and tear very fast. They will give up within four months. Although they are compatible with many vehicles, they are not reliable.

Best Alternatives to the Avoidable Wheel Bearing Brands

Here are some better alternatives to the brands mentioned above:

  1. Good Quality, Good Price Brands: FAG, NTN, SKF, NSK, SNR Ruville, BTA, etc. They are reliable and deliver good performance in high temperatures. They do not wear easily and are long-lasting.
  2. AM Autoparts: They are reasonably-priced auto accessories. They are as safe as they are reliable. The kit has a 10-year warranty. 
  3. MAC Auto Parts: The company makes more than just ball bearings. They make other automotive parts as well. The discounted price is a cherry on top. They make high-quality, reliable products. The installation is also easy.

There are a few more brands that are quite good. These are Optimal, PEX, OE VW etc. FAG uses the same materials that OE uses in their wheel bearings. Optimals go great with MKIVs.

Which One is the Best?

FAG is the best industrial bearing manufacturer. Their bearings are the best out there. They can go as much as 50K kilometers and more without an issue. If you buy Timken bearings (good ones), they will last you 1,00,000kms without an issue.

Are Chinese Wheel Bearings Any Good?

You may have heard rants on the blogs and the web about Chinese wheel bearings. What is the deal?

Chinese fakes are widely available in the markets at cheap prices. Not just fakes, most Chinese products are really bad.

If you see FHRC KOR markings, you should stay away from those. They are made of cheap metal The needle roller holders break pretty soon as well. They go out within a few miles.

Try to avoid the brands such as ABS, AIC, EGT, GSP, Rolltec, Vaico, Febi Bilstein, Topran etc.

When Should You Change the Wheel Bearings?

Usually, regular quality wheel bearings need to be changed between 25K to 30K miles. But for sealed wheel bearings and hub assemblies, 85K to 100K miles is the average duration when you should change the bearings.

Final Words

Although it seems like there are more bad brands than there are good brands in the market, it is better that way! That’s because it is easy for you now to pick within these few brands.

If you search these brands on any search engine, specific models will come up. They are the ones with the highest rating.

My last advice is not to be frugal on bearings. Don’t compromise quality.

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