Wheel Bearing Hub E1609861507773

Wheel Bearing Symptoms, Function & Location

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Wheel Bearings are the components that are designed with high precision to ensure that they support the smooth running of mechanical movements.

Apart from simply facilitating movement, bearings also help to carry heavy loads with great ease and efficiency.

There are different types of bearings, including ball bearings and roller bearings, generally used in cars. This type is used especially because it can support both radial and axial loads.

Top 5 Bad Wheel Bearing Symptoms

There can be a variety of symptoms and effects of a faulty wheel bearing.

The most common symptoms of a bad wheel bearing are grinding noises at high speeds, uneven tire wear, and stability performance problems.

Here is a more detailed list of the 5 most common wheel bearing symptoms.

1. Grinding or Grating sound from the wheel

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One of the most common and most recognizable symptoms associated with bad wheel bearings is noise emanating from a moving vehicle’s wheel. You may confuse this with engine noise, but you will probably hear a crunching or grinding sound that becomes louder as the vehicle accelerates if you listen closely.

Because wheel bearings are not known to wear so often, the noise is usually mistaken for something else, and the problem is overlooked.

Mostly, wheel bearings are made of hardened steel and can withstand high forces. Bearings are usually destroyed by heat and water. Heat is generated when there is little or no lubrication, and water can sometimes permeate the wheel bearing. In most cases, newly manufactured wheel bearings are fully sealed.

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These seals help to protect the wheel bearing from destructive elements such as water, dirt, etc. However, if this seal is broken, the wheel bearing starts to fail and make noise.

2. Shifting Noise Left to Right

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Another result is if you drive the car at a speed of about 50 miles per hour and if you steer it to the left and right by shifting its weight from left to right, it will start making noise. Be sure to steer gently, as high speeds and rough cuts can tip your car over.

If you steer from left to right or from right to left, the sound effect will be different. For example, if you turn right and the noise decreases, your left wheel bearing is damaged, and if you turn left and the noise decreases, it means that your right wheel bearing is damaged.

3. Worn Patches on Tires

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The wheel bearing can be so worn that you have a play in the wheel; this makes the wheel alignment faulty and will wear your tires in strange ways.

It is therefore recommended to have a look at the tires as well. But don’t forget that these stains on tires can also be the result of worn wheel bearings.

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4. Play in Wheels

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If you lift your car’s suspension with a floor jack and you can feel a play in all directions when you grab a wheel and rocking it back and forward.

If there is play in all directions, it might be a wheel bearing, but remember that it can also be a bad steering tie end or another control arm if it is just in one direction.

Remember that some older cars has a play in the wheel bearings from the factory, and it is nothing to worry about. If you have a newer car tough, something is wrong if you can feel a play.

5. Your Car Feels Loose

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The wheel’s looseness, also known as wheel play, is another common symptom of a bad wheel bearing. When the bearing becomes spoiled, it begins to get lost inside the wheel hub and wheel spindle, making the vehicle feel loose when steering.

You may feel the car is not as stable on the highway as it once was. However, if you can feel this and if a wheel bearing causes it, it has gone terrible, and you have to replace it immediately.

Wheel bearing function

Worn Wheel Bearing
Very worn wheel bearing

Wheel bearings are essential for the operation of your car. They are located on a metal axle shaft and are permanently installed in the hub on most car models. The wheel bearing is essential for the proper functioning of the hub, the tire and the wheel assemblies of the car to work together and spin the wheel.

The wheel bearing ensures smooth movement and rotation of the hub assembly, ensuring smooth tire and wheel rotation.

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A malfunction of the wheel bearing results in various signs or symptoms, some of which are clearly visible and others confusing. It is difficult to diagnose because the car needs to be driven to diagnose the problem.

Wheel Bearing Location

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The wheel bearings are located at the outer part of each suspension, behind the brake disc and the wheel hub.

Some wheel bearings are pressed into the wheel hub and can be impossible to see without removing the brake disc and the wheel hub, while others are installed as a whole hub with bolts. This makes it easier to see the wheel bearing.

Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost

You can find full information about a wheel bearing replacement cost here: Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost

First, you have to consider the wheel bearing type. If it is just the wheel bearing, you can expect a price of around 30 bucks. Unfortunately, on some car models, you cant replace just the bearing – you have to replace the whole wheel hub, which increases the price of the bearing a lot.

Luckily, replacing the whole wheel hub makes the job easier instead. This is because you do not have to remove the whole hub to press the wheel bearing in and out, especially if the wheel bearing is installed with bolts.

This decreases the labour cost instead.

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Comments
  1. Great explanation of what, why and how wheel bearings do their job. A great general guide to their replacement that is detailed enough it could be applied to any vehicle. And for someone who’s native language is not English, you do better at it than some native English speakers I know! I’m off now to learn about some other car parts I’ve always been curious about!

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