Timken vs SKF vs Moog wheel bearings compared
Humming or squealing, an awful grinding noise coming from your wheels…Yeah, most probably it’s time for a new wheel bearing.
Three brands I especially respect when it comes to axle and wheel bearing replacements are Timken, Moog and SKF.
I had a friend who was pissed at Moog. He bought one of their bearings for his Silverado and it died after 11000 miles or so.
I found out he had literally bought the cheapest bearing they have…which was not ready for his off-road antics. He did change it with a more heavy-duty Moog bearing (this one). 25000 miles later, he couldn’t be happier.
Moral of the story: Don’t cheap out on parts that are crucial for your vehicle! In this post, I’ll be talking about only the highest quality bearings from both Timken, SKF and Moog.
Here’s a short summary before I go more in-depth with these fellas.
➥➥ Timken is the best in terms of price/quality ratio with products like their SP500300 assembly. Reliable tapered construction, easy installation, and an attractive price.
➥➥ Moog offer the best warranty. You get 3 years with their products which is well over any other brand. Their classic manufacture involves sturdy bearings with slightly better coating.
➥➥ SKF bearings are the premium solution. For the higher price tag of the X-Tracker series, you receive reinforced construction for extended longevity.
- Timken SP500300
Tapered bearing with decent coating.
Integrated raceway and hub, internal mount ABS sensor. Preassembled with lug bolts.
- My personal rating:
- Moog 515036
Classic, sturdy steel bearing with better coating.
Roll form design makes sure grease spreads properly for longevity. Enhanced ABS cord protection.
- My personal rating:
- SKF BR930661
1 year, might depend on vendor.
High quality carbon steel. Increased heat resistance and reinforced coating for heavy loads.
Roll form design from a new generation. Tackles noise and vibrations, achieves better braking.
- My personal rating:
Note: Always check your car model compatibility! I’ll be mainly focusing on wheel/axle bearings and hubs for Chevy, Dodge Ram and Jeep here.
A detailed look:
Their best products compared & reviewed
1. The Best of Timken:
SP500300 Axle Bearing/Hub Assembly
Timken have probably the most diversified portfolio of wheel bearings. Cylindrical, plain, integrated or tapered…you can get lost among the technicalities.
This axle bearing and hub assembly is a part of their tapered bearing line. A big design perk here is the integrated raceway and hub. It’s intelligently manufactured so you can get better stiffness and tightness over a lot of other assemblies designed the ‘standard’ way.
That’s not the only good thing design-wise here, however. You also have a fully serviceable wheel speed sensor a.k.a. ABS sensor with an internal mount. As it’s inside, you don’t need to worry about dirt or other direct damage/abrasions. It comes hooked with one cord, similar to OEMs.
Timken’s beauty comes preassembled with lug bolts. Are they frustrating to deal with? Not really. You might need a bit of force to remove them but nothing too bad. Careful with the heads of the studs – you shouldn’t round them.
OK, so what are the downsides?
I’d say warranty and the ABS sensor. Especially the warranty – a 90 days warranty is quite short compared to Moog, SKF or a lot of other wheel bearing manufacturers. Timken products are generally of great construction, but if something happens you have a short window of time to return it.
As far as the ABS sensor goes, it’s not that it’s bad. However, it can be a little flimsy. A good way to deal with that is to ensure that you have the right car model as sensor cables differ a bit.
Best value for price. Tapered bearing with decent coating. Preassembled with lug bolts, comes with an internal mount ABS sensor. Warranty is only 90 days, however.
2. The Best of Moog:
515036 Wheel Bearing/Hub Assembly
For: Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Avalanche, Express Silverado, Sierra, Tahoe, Yukon XL.
I’ve praised Moog’s suspension parts and ball joints enough in my comparison with Mevotech. There’s a reason why NASCAR loves them too.
Are things different with wheel bearing assemblies?
Not at all. Moog are still a very, very good choice for any car owner who wants reliable replacement parts.
The biggest benefit I want to mention here is the 3-year warranty you get. I think it’s a serious way for Moog to demonstrate exactly how much they believe and trust their manufacture practices.
Speaking of the manufacture, anything worth noting?
Absolutely. A big advantage to Moog bearings is the ABS construction. It’s shielded by molded construction and comes with sturdy socket connections. To top it off, the cord here is superior to Timken as it’s produced by abrasion-resistant, heavy-duty material.
Design-wise for the whole thing, I’d like to also point out Moog’s roll form design. You get consistent pre-load in your hub and once you grease it, the grease spreads properly (read: equally) throughout. Why is this important? Because it ensures that your wheel bearing and hub assembly stays intact for longer.
Last but not least, the wheel stud bolts here have better coating than Timken (but worse than SKF).
Where’s the catch?
There’s no catch per se, but again the ABS sensor isn’t outstanding. It’s a good assembly, but Timken products make more sense for people focusing on more affordable solutions.
Longest warranty at 3 years. A classic steel bearing with better coating. Roll form design for better grease spread. Reinforced ABS cord too.
3. The best of SKF:
For: Silverado, Yukon, you know the drill.
If you want a replacement for Dodge Ram 2500 or 3500, check this one. It’s not from the X-Tracker line, but I think SKF make the best Dodge Ram wheel bearings out there anyways.
SKF has three generations of wheel bearing technology. X-Tracker is their newest (technically 4th, I guess).
Let me say something: the X-Tracker is some serious premium treatment for your car’s wheels. It takes Moog’s roll form manufacture and pairs it with premium materials for increased toughness.
We’re talking about heat-treated, high-quality carbon steel that completely blows out of the water any competitor wheel bearing and hub assembly.
With the X-Tracker series, SKF have really focused on improving the brake wear and tackling noise and vibration. As a result, you should experience a more silent ride and better braking/overall handling. SKF put it as “enabling the truck to handle more like a car”.
Sounds good, and what’s even better is that they actually achieve it.
Last but not least, this is the wheel bearing assembly that has the highest load capacity among our contenders. Ultra-tough, ultra heavy-duty, making your ride more than a joy.
There’s one main downside: the price, of course.
You pay for premium and SKF is not an exception. SKF towers over Moog and Timken in regards to $$$. However, if you have the budget for that, I’d say it’s perfectly worth it.
The warranty depends on the reseller, but as far as I know generally we’re talking about a 1-year limited warranty. Certainly not as good as Moog’s, but better than Timken warranty policies.
Ultra heavy duty. Made for heavy loads, specializes at reducing noise and vibrations. Tough carbon steel manufacture with reinforced coating and heat resistance built-in.
Where are Timken, Moog or SKF wheel bearings made?
A few decades ago, you’d see companies manufacture their products in the US. You’d be sure that the local production meant less logistics and better customer security.
Nowadays things have changed, but there are still some misconceptions. Manufacture it’s not about the country – it’s about the factory. You can have high quality factories even in China. Obviously, they’ll be at a higher operation cost for the manufacturer.
Current logistics have also introduced dispersed supply chain strategies across dozens of countries.
So if you ask me where these brands produce their assemblies, all I can say is:
It depends and often you can’t know until you get the product.
SKF have over 100 factories across the world. Moog and Timken are present in more than 20 countries.
Your wheel bearing and hub assembly can arrive from China, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan, South Korea or even the US…
But you have no 100% guaranteed way to know the exact country of origin for your set.
Honestly, it sounds worse than it really is. These three brands have tight quality controls and manufacture policies set in motion. No matter the country, no matter the factory – production adheres to the company code. It’s similar with other automotive parts manufacturers like KYB or Bilstein etc.
Hope that helped a bit. I see a lot of doom and gloom over manufacture practices which makes sense, but is often unfounded criticism.
That was everything from me on the topic of Moog vs Timken vs SFX wheel/axle bearings and hub assemblies. What are your own experiences? Do you prefer one brand over the other?
Let me know in the comments below!