It’s DIY repair time again on Project GTI! Over the past few months there’s been a whining noise coming from the rear of the car that gets louder the faster you go and it’s been getting progressively worse. Initially we though it might just have been the Nankang ns2R tyres which do produce a fair bit of road noise but it soon became apparent that one of the rear wheel bearings was at fault. We jacked the rear of the car up, supported it on axle stands and checked both rear wheels for side to side play. Sure enough the right rear was the culprit.

Check out the video to see what’s involved in replacing your rear wheel bearing:

…or if you prefer to take your time, read our step-by-step guide:

What You’ll Need (for the mk5 Golf GTI):

How long will it take?

As always this will depend on your level of experience and ability, also whether you have all the tools you need to hand. The first time might take an hour or 2 from start to finish but once you’ve done the job a couple of times you’ll probably cut that in half, so it’s by no means a huge job.


As always, when working on safety critical components such as your car’s brakes or suspension it’s essential that you know what you’re doing! If in doubt consult a qualified mechanic and if you’re learning, always try and work with a more experienced mate. To change the wheel bearings on your car you need access to the underside of the car so it’s essential to use axle stands that are rated to the weight of your car. You can check out our video guide to supporting your car on axle stands here

Getting started:

With the car in gear and supported on axle stands, remove the road wheel. The first job is to remove the caliper from the caliper carrier. To remove the caliper use a 15mm spanner to hold the guide pins while undoing the 13mm bolts.

How to Replace Your Rear Wheel Bearing

The caliper should slide off without too much fuss but may still need some gentle persuasion with a pry bar or flat blade screw driver placed between the caliper and the carrier. Be extremely careful to stay clear of the rubber seal around the caliper piston.

How to Replace Your Rear Wheel Bearing

Once you’ve got the caliper free from the carrier don’t let it dangle from the brake hose, support it with cable ties or a bungee cord so the hose isn’t under tension.

The caliper carrier must be removed or pivoted out of the way before you can remove the brake discs. The photo below shows the 14 mm triple square (XZN socket) and long extension that are required to undo the carrier mounting bolts.

How to Replace Your Rear Wheel Bearing How to Replace Your Rear Wheel Bearing

There’s no point sugar coating this, they’re a right bas***d to remove. Removing these two bolts is probably the toughest part of the job as they are extremely tight and extremely awkward to get to. We had to use 3 extensions, a universal joint and a 600mm long breaker bar, threaded in between the upright, shock and anti-roll bar. You’ll also need a LOT of force to get them undone. We got away with removing the top bolt and just loosening the bottom bolt and pivoting the carrier out of the way. Remove the brake disc locating screw and take off the disc.

How to Replace Your Rear Wheel Bearing

With a hammer and flat screwdriver/chisel prize off the hub cap. Next you’ll need your M18 XZN spline socket to undo the hub retaining bolt. This is likely to be very tight so you’ll need a long breaker bar or and impact gun. Use a hub puller to remove the hub and bearing assembly if needed,  ours just slid off without any force at all.

hub cap hub off hub nut new hub

Check the condition of the stub axle and fit the new hub assembly. It’s worth pointing out that on the mk5 Golf GTI there are 2 different size bearings that could be fitted to your car. There’s one with a 30mm internal diameter bearing and one with a 32mm internal diameter bearing. Ours was the larger 32mm version.

tighten up the new hub bolt (which should come in the kit) to the specified torque setting, in this case 180nm plus 180 degrees. Fit the new hub cap (also included in the kit) then refit the disc and disc locating screw. Tighten up the carrier mounting bolts and re torque 90 Nm plus 90 degrees.

How to Replace Your Rear Wheel Bearing

Re fit the pads and the caliper and torque up the caliper guide bolts to 35nm. Re fit your road wheel and once the car is back on the ground don’t forget to torque the wheel bolts as well. 120nm is what you need for these. Take the car for a test drive to make sure everything is ok. Assuming you changed the correct bearing, the noise will be completely gone!

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  • TangoforOne

    Are you supposed to grease the bearing prior to installing or is it prepacked? I just did my rear bearings a month ago and it already sounds bad after probably 1400 miles. I purchased MOOG ‘aftermarket’ bearings and they looked pre-packed, so I didn’t put any in there. I can’t tell if it is the front bearings or the rear, but one of the rear ones I originally replaced was toast.