VW Passat & Audi A4 1990-2000

Wheel Bearings



On all vehicles covered by this guide, the front wheel bearings are sealed units, and lubrication is not possible.


On 1996 and earlier front wheel drive vehicles covered by this guide, the rear wheel bearings are of the standard tapered-roller design. Periodic lubrication and adjustment is necessary to prevent premature bearing failure.

Although the manufacturer does not have a recommended lubrication interval, any time the rear brakes are replaced the wheel bearing grease and adjustment should be checked and repacked or adjusted as necessary.

On all vehicles equipped with All Wheel Drive (AWD) and 1997 and later vehicles equipped with sealed rear wheel bearings pressed into the hub, the wheel bearings are sealed units, and lubrication is not possible.

Removal, Packing & Installation
  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle, and remove the rear wheels.
  3. On vehicles with rear drum brakes, insert a small pry tool through a wheel bolt hole and push up on the spring tensioned adjusting wedge to slacken the rear brake adjustment.
  5. On vehicles with rear disc brakes, remove the two 8mm Allen® bolts that secure the caliper to the axle. Hang the caliper from the spring with wire; Do NOT let it hang by the hydraulic hose.
  7. Pry off the grease cap, then remove the cotter pin, locking ring, axle nut and thrust washer. Carefully remove the bearing without dropping it.
  9. Remove the brake drum or rotor and pry the bearing seal out of the hub. The seal will be destroyed, but be careful not to pry on the bearing.
  11. Clean the bearings in solvent, and wipe the inside of the drum/rotor. Examine the bearings and inner races for discoloration, wear or damage.
  13. Pack the bearings with new wheel bearing grease. Coat the bearing races in the hub with grease and partially fill the inside of the drum/rotor with bearing grease as well. Keep in mind that the grease not only lubricates the bearings, but also provides a means of cooling.
  15. Place the freshly packed inner wheel bearing in the drum/rotor. Before installing the seal, make sure the seal and the seal's mating surface in the drum or rotor are clean, dry and free of any grease or debris. Using a flat block of wood or other suitable seal driver, install the wheel bearing grease seal into the drum/rotor.

Do NOT attempt to drive the seal in place with a hammer, it will be damaged.

  1. Pack about 1 oz. of grease into the hub and fit the drum or disc onto the axle.
  3. Pack the outer bearing with grease and fit the bearing, thrust washer and nut onto the axle. Adjust as outlined, the bearing pre-load and install the locking ring, cotter pin and grease cap.
  5. Install the brake caliper, if removed.

  1. Tighten the bearing nut while turning the drum or disc. Torque the nut to 88 inch lbs. (10 Nm) to seat the bearing, and then loosen it again.
  3. When tightening adjusting the nut again, move the thrust washer side to side with a screwdriver. The thrust washer must still be movable with light effort when adjustment is complete.
  5. When installing the locking ring, keep trying different positions of the ring on the nut until the cotter pin goes through it and into the hole. Don't turn the nut to align the locking ring with the hole in the axle. Use a new cotter pin.

Do NOT tighten the wheel bearing such that the bearing is preloaded. If the bearing is preloaded it will wear prematurely because the bearing expands from the heat generated when it is in use.