What Are the Symptoms and Signs of a Bad Wheel Bearing?
Wheel bearings are an important part of a vehicle’s suspension system. They allow the wheels to spin smoothly and are built to last. However, over time, wheel bearings can wear out, leading to many symptoms and signs of wheel bearing failure.
Wheel bearings can fail for a number of reasons. The most common cause is dirt and debris getting into the bearing and wreaking havoc. Bearings can also fail if they are improperly lubricated or overloaded.
In this blog post, we’ll outline the signs and symptoms of wheel bearing damage. Additionally, we’ll explore how to diagnose damaged bearings and when they need to be replaced.
What is a wheel bearing?
A wheel bearing is a deep groove ball bearing that supports the weight of the vehicle’s hub and helps secure the wheel to the vehicle. Wheel bearings are usually made of steel or ceramic and wear out due to the elements and weight of the vehicle. Over time, they will need to be replaced to keep the vehicle running smoothly.
How does a wheel bearing work?
Wheel bearings help the wheels spin smoothly by reducing friction between the wheel and the axle. The wheel bearing is located between the wheel and the axle and consists of two parts, the inner ring, and the outer ring. The inner ring is usually made of steel, while the outer ring is made of steel or aluminum.
Wheel bearings help keep the wheels and axle aligned when the vehicle is moving. This alignment is necessary to ensure that the vehicle moves smoothly and without much friction. Without wheel bearings, the friction between the wheel and the axle would eventually cause the wheel to stop rolling.
What are the symptoms and signs of a bad wheel bearing?
Symptoms of a damaged wheel bearing can vary in severity and the type of vehicle you own. Here are some common signs to look out for:
Loud humming or grinding noise: One of the most common symptoms of bad wheel bearings is a loud humming or grinding noise from the wheel or hub assembly. The noise generally increases with vehicle speed and may change pitch when cornering.
Wheel Vibration or Wobble: Damaged wheel bearings can cause the wheels to vibrate or vibrate, which can be felt either in the steering wheel or in the vehicle itself. This can also cause the brake pedal to pulsate.
Uneven tire wear: If the wheel bearings are worn, it can cause uneven or premature tire wear. This can lead to bald spots or other irregular wear patterns on the tires.
Loose steering wheel: Bad wheel bearings can also cause the steering wheel to feel loose or wobbly. This can make the vehicle difficult to control and dangerous.
ABS warning light: In some cases, failing wheel bearings can trigger the ABS warning light on the instrument panel. This is because the ABS system relies on information from the wheel speed sensors located in the wheel hub assemblies.
How long does a wheel bearing last?
Wheel bearings are an important part of a vehicle’s suspension and they can last anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 miles. However, many factors can affect the life of your vehicle’s wheel bearings, including driving habits, road conditions, and even the type of vehicle you drive.
How to diagnose a bad wheel bearing?
In addition to making us aware of the signs of wheel bearing wear (squeaking noises, loose car, hot wheels, and steering wheel pull), there is a very simple maneuver that anyone can do at home to see if it’s a broken wheel bearing on our car.
The procedure is to jack up the car so that one wheel is in the air, then we can move the wheel and check for grinding noise or excessive resistance to rotation. But even if it were easy, this action can only be done correctly on the axis opposite to the propulsion force. The difference will make it harder to continue doing this.
Therefore, the best and most recommended way to inspect your hub bearings is to have them inspected for you by a professional who will have the necessary knowledge and equipment to do them properly.
When do you need to replace the wheel bearings?
Replacing wheel bearings is a relatively simple and inexpensive process, so it’s important to replace any problems as soon as you notice them. Doing so will help keep your vehicle running safely and smoothly. A common doubt is when one wheel bearing fails, do we need to replace the other, but it is not mandatory.
If a wheel bearing fails early in its life, it is okay to replace a single bearing, as the cause is most likely not related to the other wheel bearing. However, if our car has many miles on the clock, then it is advisable to check the other wheel bearing. They have the same mileage as the one that broke down, and they’re probably in a similar condition.
Bad wheel bearings can cause a variety of symptoms and signs, including noise, vibration, and increased wheel play. If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to have your vehicle inspected by a professional as soon as possible. Ignoring these symptoms could seriously damage your vehicle’s suspension and steering system, and could even cause the wheels to come off the vehicle while driving.
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