Wheel bearing: how long do they last and when to replace them?

Jun 14 2023

One of the most important components of a vehicle’s suspension system is the wheel bearing. If this component fails, it can cause a variety of problems, including loss of control while driving, abnormal tire wear, and damage to other suspension components.

So, how long can the hub bearing last and when should it be replaced? The answer depends on a variety of factors, including the type of vehicle you drive, your driving habits, and the quality of the wheel bearings themselves. In this blog, we’ll explore these factors in more detail and provide some tips for determining when it’s time to replace your wheel bearings.

The significance of wheel bearings in vehicles

Wheel bearings are an essential part of any vehicle as they play a vital role in ensuring safe and efficient operation. Their main function is to make the wheels turn smoothly while supporting the weight of the vehicle. This helps reduce friction, improve fuel efficiency, and enhance the overall performance of the vehicle.

Wheel bearings are prone to wear, which is why it’s important to maintain them regularly. Failure to do so can lead to a wide range of problems, such as uneven tire wear, increased fuel consumption, and even complete wheel failure. In extreme cases, wheel bearing failure can also lead to loss of control of the vehicle, which can be very dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

The factors that impact the longevity of wheel bearings

Wheel bearings are key components of vehicle suspension systems, and their service life is affected by many factors.

Here are some key factors that affect wheel bearing life:

car wheel bearing


When purchasing a car wheel bearing, it is crucial to select the appropriate level of quality. Bearing life is subjected to stress and demands durable materials that can withstand high temperatures without excessive damage. Opting for superior quality bearings can ensure extended longevity of your vehicle’s wheels while avoiding unwanted issues down the road.

bearing installation


As previously stated, incorrect use of tools during bearing installation can result in damage to the bearing. This damage can lead to decreased performance and a shortened lifespan for the bearing. Therefore, it is crucial to use the correct tools and ensure proper usage during installation.

Driving conditions

Driving conditions

Proper lubrication is crucial for the longevity of a bearing. Any alterations to this process will inevitably result in premature wear and tear. It’s important to note that driving with your wheels underwater for extended periods can cause water to seep into the bearing, ultimately leading to damage. Similarly, other contaminants like road or marine salt, sand, mud, or dust can also find their way through the seal and deteriorate the rolling balls within the bearing. When such contamination occurs, the lifespan of the bearing significantly decreases and may require prompt replacement.

Road conditions

Road conditions

The car’s wheel bearings can be negatively affected by powerful impacts resulting from rough and uneven roads or passing over potholes at a high speed. Additionally, any lateral impact can cause substantial damage to the wheel bearings, so it’s important to exercise caution when navigating curbs.

Car setup

Car setup

It’s important to remember that any modifications made to the suspension, rims, or tires of a car will ultimately alter the manufacturer’s specifications. The wheel bearings in particular may no longer be appropriate, causing them to wear out faster than anticipated. For this reason, it’s recommended that you stick with the dimensions and specs outlined by your car manufacturer when making any changes to your vehicle’s components. By doing so, you can ensure optimal performance and safety on the road.

Indicators that suggest replacement of wheel bearings

Wheel bearings are an essential part of any vehicle’s suspension system, allowing the wheels to spin smoothly while supporting the weight of the car. Recognizing the signs that your wheel bearings need replacing is critical to maintaining a safe and efficient driving experience.

One of the most common indicators is an abnormal noise, often described as a growl or hum that increases in pitch as you accelerate. This noise usually becomes more noticeable when cornering as weight is transferred to the outside of the wheel. In some cases, a grinding or scraping sound may also be heard, indicating that the bearings have worn beyond repair.

Another sign to look out for is wheel vibration or wobble, especially at high speeds. This can be caused by damaged bearings that alter the smooth rotation of the wheel. Also, if you notice uneven tire wear or wheels that are not running straight, it may be time to check your bearings.

How to replace wheel bearings?

The first step is to diagnose which wheel bearing needs to be replaced. Once you’ve identified the faulty bearing, you’ll need to lift and secure the vehicle and remove the brake assembly and hub. From there, you’ll remove the old bearings and replace them with new ones.

It is critical to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding torque specifications and proper installation procedures. Failure to do so may result in further damage. It is best to take your vehicle to a certified mechanic. Proper maintenance of your wheel bearings will ensure the safe and reliable performance of your vehicle.

Proper maintenance techniques for enhancing the life of wheel bearings

When it comes to wheel bearings, proper maintenance is critical to the overall health and longevity of your vehicle. Neglecting to maintain your wheel bearings can cause irreversible damage and lead to costly repairs. Thankfully, there are several techniques you can use to extend the life of your wheel bearings and keep your vehicle running smoothly.

First, it’s crucial to make sure your wheel bearings are properly lubricated. Using the proper grease and ensuring an even application is essential. Over-lubrication can cause as much damage as under-lubrication, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Second, keeping your wheels clean and free of debris is necessary to keep your wheel bearings healthy. Dirt and dust can quickly cause bearing wear, requiring premature replacement.

Regular inspection of wheel bearings is also important. Look for signs of wear or grinding noises when turning the wheels. Catching problems early can avoid costly repairs later.

Finally, it is very important to have your wheel bearings checked regularly by a professional mechanic. A skilled technician can detect signs of wear before you even notice them, preventing major damage to your vehicle and keeping you safe on the road.


While wheel bearings don’t have a fixed lifespan, regular inspection and maintenance help ensure they perform at their best for as long as possible. Prompt replacement of worn or damaged wheel bearings is essential to avoid more costly and potentially dangerous problems down the road. By staying vigilant and seeking professional advice when in doubt, you can keep your wheels running smoothly for years to come.

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