Today CARspec had the opportunity to address a grinding noise from the rear of a 2007 Toyota Highlander. The guest was concerned over the noise as she went around right hand turns at speed over 30mph. After hearing the noise from the right rear of the vehicle, the technician pulled the vehicle in, lifted it and drove it in the air while listening to all 4 of the vehicle’s wheel bearings with a stethoscope. Lo and behold the right rear bearing was the cause of the noise – the guest then agreed replacement with an OEM Toyota replacement was the best option.
Above is the bearing removed from the vehicle, exposing the backing plate and parking brake assembly. Heavy rusting of the rear backing plate and parking brake assembly is common on these models here in MN. The technician is able to keep the parking brake assembly intact by removing the four securing bolts of the hub and bearing assembly, removing the backing plate (with bearing still attached), and then hammering out the old hub and bearing carefully.
Above is the new hub and bearing next to the old. It usually takes a sledgehammer to remove a heavily corroded bearing – this is common, as is heating the assembly with an acetylene torch. The vehicle was reassembled and test driven, the grinding noise now absent, and the vehicle returned to service.
Rear wheel bearing failure is a common problem on the Highlander, RX330 and RX350 (they all use the same rear hub and bearing assembly). This becomes more common as the suspension rusts. As Eden Prairie and Chanhassen’s Toyota and Lexus repair specialist we hope you enjoy these small insights in to life back in our shop.