How Much Does It Cost To Replace Pinion Bearing?

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Pinion bearing is a small and vital mechanism in a vehicle. It serves a reasonable number of purposes which include allowing you to ride comfortably. Drivers tend to ignore this little but powerful gear component.

Riding with a bad pinion bearing would eventually damage your vehicle. You can avoid such damages by being careful and replacing this device at the right time. 

In this guide, we will show you the signs to detect a bad pinion and the steps you can take to replace or repair it. Read on and learn!

What Is A Pinion Bearing?

Pinion bearing is the part of your gear system that helps to reduce friction while your vehicle is moving. In addition, it aids proper steering movement.

“The two bearings are the only thing that will actually make contact with the axle housing.”
Credit: MudMagnetYJ

Also, the smoothness from pinion bearings allows your vehicle wheels to turn easily, thanks to the smooth transmission of mechanical power. In short, a pinion bearing goes a long way in preserving your wheels and maintaining your steering system.

If your car’s pinion bearings aren’t functioning correctly or they’re worn out, it can cause problems with your car’s steering. You might notice that your car starts to pull to one side or that the steering feels loose. In some cases, you might even hear a grinding noise coming from the front of your car. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, it’s important to have your pinion bearings replaced as soon as possible.

What Is A Bad Pinion Bearing?

A bad pinion bearing has become worn out. Over time, the movement within the gears becomes less fluid, causing the metals to hack into each other constantly. When there is no longer sufficient lubrication between the gear teeth, it depreciates the quality of the pinion.

You can easily detect a bad pinion if you are observant. The sign you should look out for to diagnose a bad pinion bearing include:

  • Audible whirring noises from the wheels during acceleration and deceleration
  • Unusual steering vibrations

Can I Drive with a Bad Differential Pinion Seal?

Are you still driving with a bad differential pinion seal? If yes, stop doing it and read this guide.

No. It is a bad idea to drive a vehicle with a bad differential pinion seal. The pinion seal holds the lubrication fluid in place to avoid leakage. As you drive your vehicle often, the rubber of the pinion seal will get weak and fluid will start escaping. 

If the fluid level drops too low, friction will deal a lot of damage to your vehicle. Weighing the options, it is best to replace your faulty differential pinion seal before it gets worse. If you keep driving the car in such a defective condition, you will spend more on repairs.

How annoying the sounds made from a defective differential pinion bearing! – DrivelineMaster

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How Much Does It Cost to Replace Pinion Bearing?

The cost of pinion bearing varies depending on your vehicle. Averagely, replacing it will cost about $500. Note that you will also pay the amount required for the workmanship. The overall price may increase if the extent of the damage is very bad. If you will need to replace your gear set as well, you will pay up to $1,500.

To prevent your replacement expense from hitting as high as $1000, try to diagnose any problem as early as possible. Be sensitive to any strange sound or whirring noises coming from the wheels.

Some comments of owners about the pinion bearing replacement cost:

“$500.00 having it done today, all the bearings at once ay local shop. Good Luck”

01-RAM –

“I paid $425 to get the front pinion bearings replaced on mine. The rear axle should be a little cheaper, since its easier to take apart, so there should be less labor involved. However, a lot of shops charge fixed rates for repairs like this.”

Blue XJ


Get a mechanic to check out your differential pinion seals if you are unsure of the need for replacement. Book a session and get a diagnostic test on your vehicle.

When you discover a fault early enough, you can tackle it better and save yourself the cost of possible damages.


If you have spare time, you can replace your differential pinion seal on your own. You can only do such if you have the spare parts to perform the task. Before attempting to replace it, park your vehicle on a horizontal surface.

Since you will be under the vehicle, raise the axle by an axle puller to create enough room for yourself. First, using a torque wrench to unbolt the entire driveshaft till it is loose, then screw out the center holding bolt. You need to remove the pinion flange next, and it is only possible with a puller.

Then, you can pull out the seal and install the replacement. Ensure that you screw in every bolt in the appropriate manner to avoid complications when you are driving.

A guide for DIYers to replace the pinion bearing – BackCountry Wrenching

How a backyard mechanic talks about this task:

“I replaced mine a couple years back and I dont think I spent more than a hundred for both bearings seal kit and gear oil. Its a relatively simple but you need a ft lbs torque wrench and an inch pounds torque wrench and a dial indicator to set back lash. HAHA ok thats what chiltons says i didnt use any of them and so far so good. the inch lbs torque wrench is to put proper load on the bearing, basicly how tight you tighten the pinion nut. the backlash I just went by making sure I had some but not much. Im a back yard mechanic so my way isnt the right way but it has been fine ever since. I would replace your rear axel seals at the same time since you have to pull the axles anyway. I didnt do it and wish I had.”

d_sinsley –

How Often Do Differential Pinion Seals Need Replacement?

There is no need to fuss over how soon you need to replace your differential pinion seals. If you use your vehicle properly, you may only need to change it for preventive maintenance reasons.

Your primary concern should be the oil in the differential. Ensure that it doesn’t leak. Furthermore, you can change this fluid after every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. If you see any leakage, then you need to perform repairs and replace the oil promptly.

If you don’t know the right time to replace your differential pinion seal, you could see a mechanic. They will check, analyze and recommend the best moment for you to perform any replacement.

However, bear in mind that experts recommend that you replace your pinion seal just how often you replace your differential oil.

Should I Replace or Repair the Pinion Bearing?

If you discover a basic fault with your pinion bearing leakage, a repair is the best option. A simple leakage will not cost you much, about $200 – $400. The cost of replacement can be sometimes overwhelming.

Nevertheless, whether to go for repair or replacement depends on you. Assess the damage, count the cost and consider your financial capability as well. If it is more than a simple repair, the best option is to replace your pinion bearing. Meanwhile, the best option is to ask your mechanic for solid advice.


You should by no means downplay the function of pinion bearing in a vehicle. This small mechanism is just as important as any other gear part in your car. Proper maintenance of the mechanism would make your wheel system function better, and your tires will last longer. 

This write-up has enlightened you to the requirements of repairing or replacing the pinion seal as well. By now, you should tell if your pinion bearing is bad. Also, don’t ignore any strange sound coming from your wheels. If you can’t check it by yourself, consult a mechanic or auto expert.

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