Koyo vs Timken: Which Is Better?

Koyo and Timken are two companies that produce various aftermarket bearings for automotive use. Both of these companies have pretty solid reputations for making good products, and neither one really stands out that much above the other in terms of being “better”.

Koyo and Timken are pretty comparable when it comes to the quality of the products they make, and plenty of other people have asked the question of which brand is really the better one. We aim to take a look at both of these companies and answer for sure if one of them is in fact better than the other.

Koyo Overview

Koyo Seiko Co. is a Japanese company that makes and sells bearings of varying types. They started as a reseller of imported bearings, but soon afterwards expanded to making and selling bearings of their own. 

While the Koyo brand name is still used to sell bearings, the original Koyo company technically doesn’t exist anymore. In 2006, Koyo Seiko and a company called Toyoda Machine Works merged to form the JTEKT Corporation.

Toyota is one of Koyo’s main customers, and currently owns about 24% of JTEKT’s stock. Koyo bearings are used as OEM equipment in the majority of Toyota models.

Koyo has several manufacturing plants around the world in countries like Japan, China, India, the U.K., and throughout Europe. 

Timken Overview

Timken is an American manufacturer of bearings, and most likely the oldest bearing company in the world. The company was formed in 1899 as The Timken Roller Bearing Axle Company in St. Louis, where they made tapered roller bearings for horse-drawn carriages.

Soon afterwards, they expanded into producing bearings for cars as well as a variety of other vehicles. The company gained a real presence overseas shortly after World War I, as Timken bearings were used in many types of military equipment and were known to perform very well in wartime conditions.

It was the same story in World War II. Timken bearings were used in every American Jeep produced during the war, and the company made almost 16 million bearings just for these Jeeps alone. Following the war, the United States sent tons of equipment and machinery to Europe as part of the Marshall Plan, and nearly all of this equipment used Timken bearings.

These days, Timken has a huge international presence, and at one point in the early 2000s, they were actually the third-largest bearing company in the world.   

Comparing the Two

You’re now familiar with the history of the brands, but this probably doesn’t answer the question of which brand actually makes the better product. 

After much research, the conclusion we’ve reached is that there simply isn’t much of a difference between these two bear brands. Both brands have been around for a long time, and thus, they’re both very experienced when it comes to making high-quality bearings. 

Most people who prefer one brand of bear over the other admit that their choice has more to do with personal preference and not because they actually consider that brand to be significantly better. 

Some individuals seem to prefer Koyo bearings because they consider Japanese quality control to be superior. While it is generally true that Japanese companies tend to be pretty good when it comes to quality control, it’s worth noting that Koyo has manufacturing plants all around the world, so your Koyo bearings might not necessarily come from Japan. 

How to Change Your Wheel Bearings

Changing your wheel bearings yourself isn’t too hard, but it can be if you don’t know what you’re doing. Here’s what you need to do if you want to correctly change your wheel bearings:

  1. Park your car on a flat surface, and jack it up. Keep your car in place with a jack stand, and consider chocking your wheels as well if you have any chocks.
  2. Unscrew your lug nuts and remove the wheel from your car.
  3. Remove the brake caliper by undoing the two slide bolts on the back of the caliper.
  4. You’ll now need to remove the brake rotor. To do so, start by removing the dust cover in the center of the rotor, which covers the castle nut that helps keep the rotor in place. Then remove the castle nut.
  5. You can now remove the rotor. Once you do, the outer wheel bearing should come out with it.
  6. Remove the wheel hub from the rest of the car. The hub is usually kept in place by bolts that screw in from behind the hub, which makes it a little tricky to reach.
  7. Remove the rest of the hub assembly from the car. You may need a special puller tool to remove the central bolt to keep everything in place.
  8. You should now be able to remove the main wheel bearing. You may have to break the old bearing in order to get it out.
  9. Clean out the inside of the bearing assembly, and install your new bearings. Use a rubber hammer to firmly set the bearings in place within the assembly. 
  10. Reassemble the hub assembly, wheel hub, brake rotor, brake caliper, and wheel. You’re all done!


There isn’t really that much of a difference between Koyo and Timken bearings; at least, not enough to significantly affect the quality and functionality that both of these bearings have. You should be good at either one.

We’d recommend doing some additional research to see which type of bearing you can get for a lower price. Whatever you can find for less money will probably be the best brand to go with.