Wheel Bearing & Wheel Speed Sensor

144,000 miles, 22nd May 2013

The ABS & ESP warning lights which prompted me to get my car's original brake disks and pads replaced only stayed off for about two weeks afterwards before returning. Obviously a bit of a clean was not sufficient.

Rear wheel bearing incorporated into hub
Rear wheel bearing incorporated into hub.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Rear wheel bearing
Wheel speed sensor
Click on photo to enlarge.

After doing some more internet research I learnt some more about the rear wheel bearing and speed sensor.

I found a great article online giving step-by-step instructions on how to replace a wheel bearing. I also found a great video on YouTube showing a faulty wheel speed sensor being diagnosed and replaced. This was on a US Jetta but the parts look identical to those on a UK Mk 5 Golf. The video is in two parts:

It is not really complicated how the wheel bearing and wheel speed sensor interact but I didn't want to tackle this job myself. Therefore I decided to let the VW dealer who replaced the brake discs and pads fix this problem for me. They ended up replacing both the bearing (part number V1K0 598 611) and sensor (part number WHT 003 858) for just short of £300 all inc.

I am not sure whether I brought this problem upon myself by leaving it so long before replacing the original brake discs and pads. As I mention above, it was the ABS & ESP warning lights coming on which first made me start paying attention to the state of my car's brakes. It was then that I discovered that the offside (driver's side) rear brake appeared to be binding a little. How long this had been happening I am not sure but I had begun to notice a slight increase in fuel consumption. It could well have been happening for a few weeks/months! Maybe the heat generated could have shortened the life of the bearing and/or speed sensor? Hard to know for sure but my advice is, don't leave it quite so long as I did to replace your car's brake discs and pads and save yourself £300!

Visitor comments
Posted by coconutsaregood, Thu 18 Sep 2014 10:40 am
I am puzzled as to why the calipers were not suspect. I am planning to renew mine (Golf Gti 110,000) soon because they are beginning to partially stay on, that is, do not retract fully causing them to bind. I guess it was too much to ask the technician to test the bearings for movement when getting your disc renewed. A standard check on new disc is to use a dial micrometer to look for wobble which maybe caused by bearings if not the fitting of a new disc. I know bearings wear with use, but do they wear because of normal brake wear? Sorry I am having a moan at VW dealers in general really.
Posted by StuartDalby, Thu 18 Sep 2014 11:02 am
I think bearings do wear through normal (brake) use. However I don't think this was the problem in my case. It was the splines (which the speed sensor detects) which are integral with the hub which appear to have failed and this was why the hub was replaced. I don't believe the VW dealers did anything wrong here.


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