How to Grease Bike Wheel Bearings

Taking apart and greasing your wheel bearings is a good project for the intermediate bike repair hobbyist.


Up next in Bike Repair & Equipment (32 videos)

Every avid cyclist should know how to fix his bike; learn the basics in this video series.

You Will Need

  • An old cloth
  • A bicycle wheel
  • 15 mm cone wrench
  • 17 mm wrench
  • Bike grease
  • Soap and water
  • A Socket tool (optional)
  • An adjustable wrench (optional)
  • A magnet (optional)
  • A box of new ball bearings (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Remove wheel

    Take the wheel off of your bicycle and lay it on a hard surface covered with an old cloth.

  2. Start with the front wheel, which is easier to disassemble. Taking apart the rear wheel requires additional bike-specific tools such as a socket tool to remove the gear cluster.

  3. Step 2

    Remove locknut

    Loosen the locknut with a wrench while holding the cone-shaped piece still with a cone wrench. Then remove the nut.

  4. If you don't have a crescent wrench in the right size -- typically 17 millimeters -- then use an adjustable wrench.

  5. Step 3

    Remove cone

    Loosen the cone-shaped end piece with the 15 millimeter cone wrench. Then remove the cone.

  6. Step 4

    Remove axle

    Pull the axle out of the hub or cylinder and set it aside.

  7. Step 5

    Remove bearings

    Use your fingers or a magnet to extract the bearings from the well of the hub.

  8. Step 6

    Inspect and clean

    Wipe the bearings, hub, and cones free of grease and dirt. Inspect the parts for cracks or defects.

  9. If the bearings are rusty, damaged, or misshapen you can replace them with new bearings purchased from a bike shop.

  10. Step 7


    Pack a generous amount of grease into the well that holds the bearings. Then coat the bearings with grease and replace them in the well.

  11. Step 8

    Grease opposite side

    Repeat the process of cleaning and greasing the bearings on the opposite side of the hub.

  12. Step 9


    Reassemble the hub by reversing the process of taking it apart. Adjust the distance of the cones from the hub to make it fit securely.

  13. Step 10

    Clean up

    Wipe away any excess grease and wash your hands with soap and water.

  14. Ball bearing production facilities were major targets for Allied bomber forces during World War II.