Wheel Bearing Maintenance

Bad Bearings: A Problem You Shouldn't Ignore

Your wheel bearings have a massive responsibility. They are engineered to support the vehicle’s entire weight and allow a car’s wheels to turn freely with minimum friction.     

The bearings are tightly packed in a grease-filled, waterproof, sealed metal ring. This housing, called a race, and is located inside the hub, and each wheel has one.

There is no maintenance schedule for them, and theoretically they are designed to last the life of the vehicle. But when they don’t, they are a big problem that you don’t want to ignore.

We have found that more often that not, a wheel bearing gets bad so gradually over time, that the driver often gets accustomed to the signs, causing very little to no warning of bearing failure.

Here are the 6 Most Common
Things to Look For:

1. Humming Noise
The most easily identifiable and common symptom of bad wheel bearings is audible.
    -  Described like a small-engine plane landing on                                           the corner of your car.

-  It's more pronounced at higher speeds.

   -  It can get louder or quieter when the vehicle                                              changes direction, for example, when merging or exiting                          the highway.

   -   It can be confusing. For example, the source of a humming noise           could instead be linked to other issues, such as
       tires and the CV joint.

rusty wheel bearing
old, worn out wheel bearing
2. Squealing, Growling
The typical sounds of worn-out wheel bearings are squealing and/or growling. The sound intensifies as vehicle speed increases. Try to pinpoint the location of the noise because it will identify the location of the worn-out wheel bearings.
3. Clicking Sound
If you hear a clicking sound that increases in frequency as the vehicle accelerates, there could be a problem with the wheel hub assembly that houses the bearings.
4. Wheel Wobble
Technicians can check for wheel wobble by putting the vehicle on a lift and manually checking for wheel movement. Typically, it would be impossible to shake the wheel and tire. However, if it moves, the hub assembly needs immediate attention. The tire and wheel can literally come off the vehicle at any time, at any speed, if you don’t get your vehicle repaired.
5. ABS Failure
The anti-lock warning light may illuminate. If the ring, tire, and wheel wobble, the wheel’s speed sensor are no longer operating properly, and the ABS may operate sporadically or not at all.
6. Uneven Tire Wear
If one tire is wearing out faster than the others, it could be a sign that the wheel bearings are worn.