My Kia failed its annual safety inspection so I'm going to be replacing the front wheel bearings (both front wheels have top-to-bottom play when up on the lift).

Some people say you should only use enough grease to thoroughly fill the bearings themselves. Others say things like "you can never have enough grease" and suggest packing the entire hub full of grease.

I have also read that too much grease can cause overheating and leakage issues. Others say that filling the entire cavity with grease means that there's "no room" for anything else in there...such as water (I've heard this is mostly important for boat trailers where the wheels get submerged though).

How much grease is the right amount when packing wheel bearings?

(For reference my car is a 2002 Kia Sportage rear-wheel-drive and it uses the tapered-roller style of bearings)

  • Aren't Sportages front wheel drive vehicles with four wheel being optional? Edmund's seems to think so, as well that was how it was when I was selling them in the late '90s. May 15, 2014 at 13:57
  • @Paulster2 Not sure about FWD for other model years, but my 2002 is definitely a RWD. I honestly was surprised too the first time I went to work on it after buying it a few years ago.
    – RSW
    May 15, 2014 at 16:37

2 Answers 2


You should not need any more grease than what it takes to pack the bearing itself. Packing the entire wheel hub assembly is not only a waste, it's also not wise. When you go to change bearings or repack them in the future, you'll need to clean all of that old grease out. This is not a good idea. As an aside, I pack new bearings which may or may not have been packed in grease from the factory.

To properly grease a bearing, put enough grease in your hand to cover your palm. Since you said it's a taper bearing, place your index finger down through the center of the bearing. Your bearing hand (as opposed to your grease hand) should be facing palm down. The wide end of the bearing should also be pointing down. Squeeze the bearing with your middle finger and thumb to hold it tight. Press the bearing down into the grease on your palm, using your index finger (holding the bearing) as a guide against the side of your palm. Use a motion in which you are scooping the grease off of your palm with the bearing. After two to three swipes, you should start seeing grease push up between the roller bearings. Keep pushing grease up through the same spot until you see fresh grease come through. When this happens, rotate the entire bearing so you can start working on the next portion of the bearing. Keep doing this until the entire bearing is packed. This process tends to use a lot more grease than what you think it would, so don't be surprised.


If you're greasing bearings, the rule of thumb you can fall back on is to apply as much grease as you would apply frosting on a cupcake (don't be silly, you know exactly what I mean). Excess grease will be expelled while you're tightening the retainer nut anyway.

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