How to order the correct replacement bearing for your machinery – Follow our step-by-step guide!

26 January, 2023

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The first and foremost step in the bearings buying process is ensuring that you are ordering the correct replacement bearing. 

Procuring the incorrect bearing can lead to reputational damage as well as financial loss owing to unnecessary admin, delays on jobs and maintenance, unplanned downtime, frustration, missing deadlines, damage to equipment, and much more.

B2K’s Four-Step Order Approach 

Follow our unique Four-Step Order Approach to ensure your buyers are able to order the correct replacement bearing the first time around: 

Step 1: Determine whether there is a part number visible on the used bearing

  • This is the easiest way to correctly replace the existing bearing.
  • The part number can be found on the face of the inner ring/raceway, the face of the outer ring/raceway, and/or on the seal of the bearing (if it is a sealed bearing). In the case of bearing housings, the part number can be found on the nameplate, the tag on the housing, or cast into the housing itself.
  • It is important to provide the full part number and suffixes to ensure that the correct type and size of bearing are supplied.
  • Take caution: Often, both the batch number and the brand are also marked on the bearing. Do not confuse these with the bearing identification part number. If uncertain, you’re welcome to provide us with all the markings on the bearing in question and we will assist you accordingly.

Step 2: When a part number is absent, measure and determine what type of bearing is required. 

  • The type of bearing you require can be determined by the shape of the rolling elements for roller bearings and the housing shape and style for housings. Here is a chart we created to help you identify the most common types of bearings – view the bearings identification chart here
  • Measure the bearing using a vernier caliper.
  • Measure the bore (inner diameter), outer diameter, and width of the bearing
  • Assess the seals (Is the bearing sealed or not? In the event of sealed bearings, determine whether the seals are rubber or metal case seals).
  • Assess other features such as snap ring groves, machined shoulders, lubrication holes, and other components.
  • Take caution: When ordering replacement bearing housings keep in mind and specify if it is only the housing that is required, or the complete housing assembly made up of a number of components in different configurations depending on the application. These assemblies can include housings, bearings, sleeves, locating rings, end covers, and seals for the housing. 

Step 3: Contact B2K if you need assistance with measuring or identifying the correct bearing

  • If you’re unable to find a part number or old samples to measure against, please contact us to assist you in identifying the correct replacement bearing.
  • There are many ranges and variations of bearings resulting in over 20 000-part numbers in the standard catalog. As such, it can prove to be very difficult to identify certain non-standard or very old items. We are here to help you!
  • If you are unsure about anything, please contact us to assist. Either send us photos of the markings of the bearings to identify, send us the samples to measure against, or call your key accounts manager to visit your premises and personally tend to your concerns. If in doubt, ask us! 

Step 4: Upskill your buyers and workshop personnel

Educate your buyers and workshop personnel to efficiently identify the correct replacement bearings by enrolling in the B2K Training Academy’s new course, ‘Basics of Bearings for Buyers’, aimed at buying departments.

The course will equip your buyers with practical tips on how to avoid buying a counterfeit bearing which can ultimately cost your company downtime, impaired equipment, and reputational damage.

What’s more, buyers will learn how to use manufacturers’ catalogs and online resources to competently identify and purchase the correct bearing.

The course content will additionally  cover:

  • A general overview of the bearing product range.
  • Basics of bearings and numbering systems.
  • ‘Like for like’ and quality/brand comparison.
  • Tips on how to avoid buying counterfeit bearings 
  • The total cost of ownership (TCO) vs the initial cost of the bearings. 
  • Various other beneficial buying pointers.

For more information on this course and various other courses offered by the B2K Training Academy, please email

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