How to Replace Bicycle Trailer Bearings

While top-end bicycle trailers like those made by Bob and Burley have replacement parts available, the commodity trailers from the local discount store, on the other hand, are almost impossible to find information on, let alone buy replacement axles or wheels for. Here's how to demystify and overhaul a common design of bicycle trailer wheel.


  1. Image titled IMGP1636.JPG
    Remove the hitch pin from the 1/2 inch (12.7mm) axle bolt.
  2. Image titled IMGP1638.JPG
    Remove the wheel from the trailer.
  3. Image titled IMGP1639.JPG
    Setting the retaining ring pliers to "external", remove the snap ring.
  4. Image titled IMGP1641.JPG
    Using a mallet or other heavy tool, tap out the axle bolt. If wheel is asymmetrical, note carefully which side the bolt head goes into. On this trailer, the bolt head goes on the flatter side of the wheel.
  5. Image titled IMGP1642.JPG
    Remove washers and set them aside where they won't get lost.
  6. Image titled IMGP1651.JPG
    Pry or push out the old bearing. See "Tips" for ideas on how to go about doing this.
  7. Image titled IMGP1652.JPG
    Clean any goop out of the wheel using a small screwdriver, solvents, rags, or whatever you have.
  8. Image titled IMGP1649.JPG
    Repeat the previous two steps on the other side, assuming there are bearing assemblies on each side of the wheel.
  9. Image titled IMGP1653.JPG
    Buy new bearings. This model uses US standard 1/2" (12.7mm) ID, 1-1/8" (28.5mm) OD radial bearing assemblies.
  10. Image titled IMGP1654.JPG
    Insert the new bearings into each side of the wheel. If you have a socket the same size as the outer diameter of the bearing, and a mallet, then position the socket onto the bearing and tap firmly with the mallet until it's seated. Otherwise use whatever you have.
  11. Image titled IMGP1657.JPG
    Reinsert the axle bolt into the wheel assembly.
  12. Image titled IMGP1659.JPG
    Replace the washers in the same order they were removed.
  13. Image titled IMGP1660.JPG
    Seat the snap ring. You may need to push it firmly onto the shaft using a screwdriver or other tool until it snaps into the groove.
  14. 14
    Lubricate it. Adding some lubricant will save you from having to do this again soon.
  15. 15
    Put the wheel assembly back into the trailer.
  16. Image titled IMGP1662.JPG
    Secure the axle with its hitch pin.


  • Two ways of forcing out the old bearing:
    • Image titled IMGP1647.JPG
      Drive it out from the opposite side using an old screwdriver and a mallet, hammer, or other heavy tool. The bearing ID should be slightly less than that of the wheel itself, giving you a small ledge you can catch with the edge of your tool.
    • Image titled IMGP1650.JPG
      Pry it out, tapping a small screwdriver or old wood chisel you don't care about ruining, under the edge all the way around, prying up or down until it comes out.
  • If the wheel binds, it is most likely because one or both bearings did not get seated properly. Take it apart again, if necessary, and tap around the edges of each bearing assembly to make sure it is evenly seated.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand tools; particularly, external snap (retaining) ring pliers

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Bicycles