Follow the money. That is a good guideline when it comes to products you buy. Businesses are in business to make money and they will look for any angle or loophole that ensures they will make a profit. The label is not always telling the truth where something is made.
Where are Timken bearings made? The label may say made in the USA but the reality is that it may only be assembled in the country. Some Timken parts are made in Taiwan, India, Romania, and other countries. The box will tell you where the company had it made to their specifications.
To learn more about where Timken makes its RV parts, just continue to read our article. The information it contains may surprise you as many businesses look to other countries to reduce their production costs. Take a few minutes to get this information.
If you are buying the bearings and the seals at the same time you might get confused. The seals are made in Taiwan and the package may reflect that origin. However, at the time of this writing, Timken still makes most of its bearings in America.
Of course, the store you may buy those bearings at may have lesser parts made in other countries. Amazon still sells made-in America Timken bearings as do other high-end outlets.
But they could also be made in India as one RV owner found out when he bought his set of bearings. It will depend on where the best price will be for the outlet and for Timken.
With that said, Timken is not simply buying bearings made to other countries’ standards. Generally, Timken will provide the specs and the high standards those foreign companies are supposed to follow when making their parts.
So you are actually getting Timken-made parts, they are just made by a different set of workers. If you are picky, you may have to do a little search to find those stores that sell actual made in America Timken parts.
The number of bearings made in America may be tapering off as the last word has it that Timken has shut down or sold several American factories. They also shut one down in England.
They do have different plants in other countries making their bearings along with the remaining American factories. Those companies can be found in Taiwan, India, Romania, and may some other nations. China may be one of those other nations as well.
As we have said earlier, the packaging may say made in America but what that can really mean is that the parts were assembled in that country while the components were made in different countries.
Then, some packaging may say made in Taiwan, or India and all the components and assembly were done in those countries. It makes business sense, to use factories located in other countries as long as those companies make the parts according to the specs and standards set by the American business.
This is standard practice with many companies located in Japan and other fully developed nations. The brand hires other companies to do their manufacturing for them cutting their production and other costs.
The best way to answer this is to say that Timken does. The reason we say that in light of what we just said, is because Timken probably provides all the specs, standards, and other regulations for the foreign companies to follow.
This is like when archaeologists will say that King Herod or some other ruler built a grand building. The king did not go out and wield a hammer or saw or pull stones with a rope.
He had architects, designers, supervisors, and other people who all had a hand in the actual building. King Herod merely supplied the permission, the approval of plans, and the money. The same with Timken using foreign companies to build their parts.
They supplied the specs, permissions, guidelines, and probably have people overseeing the quality of the products. It was just that the workers are from another nation. Timken still built and designed the parts, as well as provided the money but cheaper labor was involved.
Timken can still honestly say they made the parts as they are not searching the foreign market for ready-made components to assemble in their factories in America. They are still running the show.
We looked at Timken’s website and the closest they came to identify the raw material was to say ‘the metal industry’. They are correct about that. Metal is used the most in constructing these parts and exactly which one they use or if it is an alloy or not is not specified.
But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at the bearing and see that iron, steel, stainless steel, and possibly aluminum or some other metal is part of the construction materials. Their EDT ball bearings are made from stainless steel but the Precise model doesn't seem to have been made from 100% stainless steel.
No matter the construction material you have to remember that the federal government has placed certain regulations on this industry. Timken and other bearing manufacturers must meet those requirements before their bearings can be sold in America.
What that means is, that no matter the raw material, if they do not meet those federal regulations, they cannot be sold to drivers in America. At least from an American company operating in the nation.
This is a very competitive industry as there are many top bearing brands found throughout the world. Timken has to be good if they want to stay in business. The good news is that most people rank Timken very high on the list, sometimes in the top 3 bearing makers in the world.
This list is not in any real order except to say that these are some of the world’s best bearing making companies: SKF, INA, NSK, TIMKEN, THK, HWIN, IKO, and KOYO. Other top brands were not included on this list and their absence does not reflect the quality of their product.
Since many of these companies have international factories, you may find that some of them are American-made even though their headquarters are in Germany, Sweden, Japan, and other nations.
If you want to stick to an American headquartered company, then Timken is probably the best option you have although it should have some fellow American companies competing with them.
Since Timken has to compete, competition helps their product to be top-quality and very good. You could do a lot worse than the bearings made by this company.
In terms of being the same company, we found no record indicating that one bought out the other. Both companies’ websites indicate that they are independent of each other and are competing head to head.
But, we have also seen reports where Timken bearings have been repackaged into National packages. We cannot attest to the veracity of those reports as there is no evidence such a thing is taking place.
Now if you are going to compare the bearings construction and ability to do the job the bearings were made to do, then you may have a good debate. All bearings made for the same type of task will be similar.
All companies have the same regulations to meet and there may be slight differences between the brands but nothing significant. The bearings will be basically the same as they have to fit into the same spot in the engine or machinery.
The materials used to make the bearings may be a bit different depending on the company’s directives but those materials still have to meet federal regulations. That means no matter the material the quality should be there.
This will apply to Precision bearings as well as other international bearing making companies.
It turns out that this is a very big problem in the bearing making industry. Even though it is a big problem, it is still very hard to tell which are real Timken bearings and which are fake.
However, it is not impossible to distinguish fake bearings from the real thing. Your first clue will be the price. A branded product like Timken usually is not cheap. One RV owner complained about paying $9 for Timkin’s bearings when he could get the same thing for $3.
If you can find a Timkin’s for $3 it may be fake and usually is. What also makes it difficult to tell the difference is that worn-out originals are refurbished to look new again. Then the makers design their packaging to be as close to the real item as possible and those designs make it very hard to tell the fakes from the real thing.
The good news is that there is a World Bearing Association and its website is fairly informative. This association is working with the different bearing companies to help stop fakes.
The drawback is they won’t list all the signs you need to know about in order to spot a fake. You have to contact them and you can get their app or do that through their website. Their app is supposed to help identify the wrong codes on the packaging.
Odd brand names are not usually a good enough sign as some companies do own smaller ones with names like FAG and they make legitimate bearings. That association makes a big deal about the criminal legalities involved if you sell fake parts.
It is best to contact that association and talk to them if you think you bought fake bearings.
The tapered bearings made by Timken are supposed to be the world’s best option. The company spends lots of money on research and development and continually upgrades their precision specs as well as their design.
Moog seems to concentrate more on the fit as their design may fit better in certain locations but Timkin’s bearings are designed to help give you better control. Both companies try to keep the noise level to a minimum which makes that category a tie.
Then both companies have designed their products to be installed without any hassle. That is a bonus point for both companies. Where Moog tops Timken is in the warranty department. The former company offers a 3-year warranty while Timken’s is only for 90 days.
Both companies advertised that their products are made in America but that claim remains to be seen as at least one also manufactures their bearings overseas. It is said that Timken has factories in 33 countries.
In the end, Tinken’s bearings provide better fuel efficiency than Moog’s do. Plus, Timken has been making bearings since the 19th century while Moog is a newcomer. Both companies’ bearings should last around 100,000 miles approx.
Timken’s is probably the better of the two bearings even though the warranty period is so short.
The Timken bearing design brings the company many compliments. It is made from steel, has only one cord to worry about and there are no flimsy or thin parts that will break under heavy use.
The SKF model comes with a very thick rust-resistant coating that helps delay any rust appearance. This coating is thicker than Timken’s so you may spot rust on it in a few years. Unfortunately, SFK has opted to go with 2 power cords making installation a little tougher.
Then there is a thin ring of metal surrounding the bolts. That thin ring suggests that the area may not be as durable as it could be. SFK makes up for this deficiency by adding n internal seal for safety as well as creating a very good heat resistant product.
Timken’s positives include easy-to-remove lug bolts, an inexpensive price, and a threaded stabilizer hole. Their negatives include no internal seal and their rust-resistant and other coating layers are on the thin side.
As to which is better, it will be up to the performance and longevity you get when you use these parts. If the part lasts for 10 years and lots of miles, then it is the best part for your vehicle.
We have talked about Timkin’s bearings already so we will focus on the Koyo options here. This is a Japanese company that also seems to have a manufacturing plant in America.
While some people have said that a lot of the Koyo bearings are black market knock-offs, that has not been proven yet. Most people speak favorably of this company’s products and have little negative to say about them.
In overall comparisons, the Koyo and Timken bearings are interchangeable. Toyota uses both companies’ bearings in some of their cars so that tells you that the Koyo is a top brand to consider.
Timken’s tapered bearing is supposed to be the model to beat and Koyop’s options come close to matching that company’s quality. Don’t let the fact that Koyo is Japanese fool you. Japanese companies do make some very good products despite their 1950s and 60s reputation.
Just about any auto parts store should carry these bearings, NAPA, Auto Zone and more should be able to have them in stock or order them for you. Then you can check the auto parts sections of your favorite hardware or department store to see what they offer.
One of the easiest sources to find these bearings will be Amazon. As reported earlier, they seem to stock the American-made version. But they may also stock a lot of fake ones. It is hard to tell just by the packaging.
When you buy online, you are opening yourself up to receiving fake parts as it is very difficult to tell in person let alone by looking at a photo. Just be careful where you buy because fake parts abound.
Timken has been around since the close of the 19th century. They know a thing or two about bearings. Plus, they do not rest on their laurels when it comes to producing top-quality bearings. They are always looking for ways to make improvements over their top designs.
If you do not like Timken, then there are about a dozen other top companies that you can turn to and still get the same quality. It may be the legal ramifications that spur these companies to not fool around when it comes to bearings.