Properly adjusted bearings have a slightly loose feeling. Wheel bearings must never be preloaded. Preloading will damage the bearings and eventually the spindles. If the bearings are too loose, they should be cleaned, inspected, and then adjusted.
Hold the tire at the top and bottom and move the wheel in and out of the spindle. If the movement is greater than 0.005 in., the bearings are too loose.
- Raise and support the car by the lower control arm.
- Remove the hub cap, then remove the dust cap from the hub.
- Remove the cotter pin and spindle nut.
- Spin the wheel forward by hand. Tighten the nut until snug to fully seat the bearings.
- Back off the nut 1 / 4 - 1 / 2 turn until it is just loose, then tighten it finger-tight.
- Loosen the nut until either hole in the spindle lines up with a slot in the nut and then insert the cotter pin. This may appear to be too loose, but it is the correct adjustment. The spindle nut should not be even finger-tight.
- Proper adjustment creates 0.001-0.005 in. of end-play.