Are you hearing a humming sound when you drive your SAAB 9-5? Does that sound get louder with speed? This is probably because of your wheel bearings, and it’s definitely not something to ignore. Depending on how you drive and what the roads look like where you live, there’s a chance your bearings might wear out prematurely. Don’t worry we are here to help by showing you how to perform a SAAB 9-5 wheel bearing replacement at home!
You can also use this guide on a SAAB 9-3 since they have very similar wheel-bearing assemblies.
Article updated on 09/06/21. Original publishing date 10/02/16
What Causes SAAB 9-5 Wheel Bearings to Fail?
The wheel bearings have a service life just like every other part of the car. They usually last around 200,000 miles. Road conditions, your driving style, and the quality of your wheel bearings decide how long or short this lifespan can be.
Passing through potholes and bumps at speed is the worst enemy of your SAAB 9-5’s wheel bearings. Pushing the gas hard with the steering wheel at half lock is another reason for them to fail.
That being said, poor-quality wheel bearings will last for a short time even if you drive carefully. Those who decide to cut corners with their wheel bearings often tend to find out just how short some of these cheap products last. Also, improper installation of bearings can cause premature wear. For example, if your axle nut is not torqued properly, your wheel bearing hub will get damaged.
Symptoms of SAAB 9-5 Wheel Bearing Failure
The wheel bearing is the key bridge between your wheel and the rest of your car. When it goes, you’ll most definitely feel it. A failed wheel bearing is also a major safety risk as it can compromise the structural integrity of your wheel hub.
The bearing in the hub consists of small metal balls sandwiched between two metal races. The metal balls allow the inner race to rotate independently of the outer race. This entire system is packed with bearing grease that keeps the friction within the system to a minimum.
Mind you, the entire wheel bearing assembly is sealed from the outside to prevent any debris from coming in and to prevent the bearing lubricant from leaking out. Once debris finds its way inside, you’ll get a spike in friction, which causes physical damage to the bearings. We’ve done an in-depth guide on wheel bearings that will shed more light on why and how this component tends to fail.
As this bearing begins to fail, it makes noise by creating resistance to the rotational response. In case of complete failure, it stops spinning. Once that happens, the wheel won’t be able to spin.
To give you an example; let’s assume that the right front wheel bearing is disintegrated while driving at 65 miles on a highway, the affected wheel will lock up and pull the vehicle to the right. The result is similar to what happens when you lose a tire at speed. This can cause drivers to lose control of the vehicle and potentially get into an accident.
If the wheel bearing is seized on your vehicle, the vehicle becomes immovable. It cannot be pulled, and you will need to call a tow truck. If you try to move it with force, it will damage other components. Wheel bearing replacement is not an expensive fix.
Fortunately, it is easy to tell if your SAAB 9-5’s wheel bearings are failing because the signs and the symptoms will be very noticeable.
Here are the symptoms:
Noise From the Wheels
If you are hearing a humming, a growling, or a rumbling noise from your wheels it is time to change the wheel bearings. The noise should be getting louder with acceleration and speedy turns.
If your wheel bearings fail, there will be a vibration you can feel on your steering wheel. This should also increase with speed and hard cornering.
A loose steering wheel with excessive play is a good sign of your wheel bearings failure. This can also mean other things, so you should check your steering system.
Uneven Tire Wear
If your tires wear out unevenly you should check out your wheel bearings. Check the inside and outside corners of your wheels for signs.
How to Replace Wheel Bearings on SAAB 9-5
Wheel bearings can’t be refurbished or repaired. In case of a wheel bearing failure, your only option is to replace them. Wheel bearings used to be an independent replacement part, but nowadays, they’re integrated into wheel hubs. Here’s how you can replace a wheel bearing on your SAAB 9-5 at home!
Step 1 — Jack up Your Car
Make sure your car is on a level ground and jack the wheel you want to replace. Place your car on a jack stand and chock the tires. Make sure that the car is secure before proceeding to work on it.
Step 2 — Remove the Wheel & Brake Caliper
Remove your wheel nuts and slide your tire under your car halfway as a safety measure. Then, remove E20 Torx bolts that hold the brake caliper at the top and the bottom. You should hang it safely out of the way. Be careful not to damage or load the brake line.
Step 3 — Remove the Brake Disc
Unscrew the brake disc’s fastening screw. You can use a ratchet wrench with Torx T30. You should be able to remove the rotor itself afterward, you can use a rubber mallet if it is stuck.
Step 4 — Remove the Axle Nut
Unscrew the axle nut using a 36 mm socket, disconnect the lower ball joint and pull the axle out of the hub, so you can reach the bolts you need to unscrew.
Step 5 — Remove the Wheel Bearing Hub
You should find 3 E18 inverted Torx bolts behind the hub. You can easily pop the hub out of the spindle after you unscrew them. If it is stuck, you can again use a rubber mallet gently.
Step 6 — Install the New Wheel Bearing Hub
Reversing the process, install the 3 E18 hub bolts and torque them up to 66 ft-lbs + 45° (90Nm + 45°). Do not use your old hub bolts, install new ones every time. Apply a small amount of high-temperature anti-seize to all the surfaces that will see metal to metal contact as you install them, this will make your wheel’s whole operation smoother.
Step 7 — Install the Brake Disc
Push the axle back into the hub and connect the lower ball joint back. Use a Torx T30 wrench and fasten the brake rotor back in its place. You should clean your disc carefully and make sure there aren’t any oily, greasy substances on it.
Step 8 — Install the Brake Caliper
Screw 2 E20 bolts on top and the bottom to install the brake caliper. Make sure the hydraulic hose is attached and not twisted. The torque value of the caliper bolts for the SAAB 9-5 is 103 ft-lbs + 45° (140 Nm + 45°) and for the SAAB 9-3 is 155 ft-lbs + 30° (210 NM + 30°).
Step 9 — Install the Axle Nut
Don’t use your old axle nut, get a new one. In fact, you should install a new one every time you remove the axle. Don’t torque down the nut until the car is lowered. The torque value you will need is 170 ft-lbs (230 Nm).
Step 10 — Install the Wheel and Lower Your Car
Install the lug bolts and torque them to 81 ft-lbs(110 Nm). Lower your car to the ground and don’t forget to torque down your axle nut before you install your center wheel caps.
Your car shouldn’t need any tire alignment after this replacement. Test your new wheel bearings and if you can’t hear that awful humming sound, you are good to go! Enjoy your refreshed, smooth, and quiet ride. Check this video tutorial for reference!
Where to Find Quality SAAB 9-5 Wheel Bearing?
The quality of your wheel bearings has a direct effect on your safety, so you should always choose original or OEM quality parts. We know sometimes it can be hard to find quality parts for your SAAB 9-5, but we are here to help you out.
Just choose your car’s make and model from the drop-down menu at the top and we’ll set you up with a list of parts that are guaranteed to fit your vehicle. You can choose the parts you need from the list and make sure your SAAB 9-5 has a healthy and safe future.