Wheel bearings play a crucial role in the mobility of a vehicle by minimizing motive power loss and providing stability in cornering maneuvers. Detailed engineering analysis of a wheel bearing subsystem under dynamic conditions poses enormous challenges due to the nonlinearity of the problem caused by multiple factional contacts between rotating and stationary parts and difficulties in prediction of dynamic loads that wheels are subject to. Commonly used design methodologies are based on equivalent static analysis of ball or roller bearings in which the latter elements may even be represented with springs. In the present study, an advanced hybrid approach is suggested for realistic dynamic analysis of wheel bearings by combining lumped parameter and finite element modeling techniques. A validated lumped parameter representation serves as an efficient tool for the prediction of radial wheel load due to ground reaction which is then used in detailed finite element analysis that automatically accounts for contact forces in an explicit formulation.