Drivers remain hypersensitive when their car starts making noises. Unusual noises are often signaled to serious problems, and this can affect your motor vehicle system. One alarming noise that can lead to a big problem is from the wheel hub bearings. If there is any issue with the wheel bearings, your car will start making a humming noise at a certain speed and becomes louder when you go faster.
Under such situation, you must stop your vehicle and immediately call a mechanic. A mechanic will check the working of the wheel bearing, and he may say the wheel bearings are damaged. You may wonder “what would be that.”
What is a Wheel Bearing?
A wheel bearing is set of steel balls, and they are attached by a metal ring known as race. They help the wheels of a vehicle to spin fast with less friction. They are used from bicycle to cars. They are essential for the proper functioning and performance of your vehicle.
They are needed to support the weight of your car on the wheels. They help smooth turning of the wheel. They are one of the easiest parts to replace. Make sure your car has equipped with best wheel locks. The locks should be easy to remove to check the bearings.
Why does Wheel Bearing Fail?
- A bearing wears out due to inadequate lubrication and improper adjustment. You must ask the drivers what kind of roads they drive on and what type of loads they carry. If drivers overload their vehicle, bearing damage is inevitable.
- The over tightening of adjustable tapered roller bearings are one of the common issues that can lead to premature failure. The tapered roller bearings in front of the RWD vehicles should never be preloaded. They shouldn’t be snagged more than 15 to 20 ft.
- The quality of the bearing is one of the main causes of failure. They are products that require complex manufacturing process. Bearing made of low quality steel and with poor heat treating can wear prematurely.
Symptoms of Bad Wheel Bearings
A faulty wheel bearing is difficult to diagnose. Some damage occurs without the knowledge of the driver. So it is important for the drivers to know the main symptoms of bad wheel bearings.
- The grinding noise coming from the tire – One of the warning sign of wearing out the wheel bearing is the loud grinding sound that comes from the tire area of your car. This happens due to excess heat built up inside the bearing and loses
- The steering wheel getting vibrated – Another common symptom is your car steering wheel getting vibrated while driving at a higher speed. This can be caused due to the worn out of the bearing. The situation gets worse when vehicle accelerate.
- Uneven tire wear – Uneven tire wear of a car is very rare for wheel bearing failure. If the left tire of your car is showing wear, it indicates the problem of a wheel bearing. If you notice such issue, you must replace the bearing of both the tires of your car.
How to check the Working of Wheel Bearing?
You should learn how to spot such problems through some simple techniques. One frequent symptom remains unusual sound coming from the wheel. To find out whether the wheel has played, you have to raise the wheels, grasp them firmly and shake it. If you find any movement, it means the wheel has played, and the bearing needs to be changed.
The bearings come in a pair of an inner and outer bearing. They help your wheels to turn freely by cushioning the contact between the spindle and the wheels. The grease will pick up dirt and dust particles even though the bearings are protected by the hub and brake drum. Usually, only the non-drive wheels will be having re-packable wearing. The bearings on a car are quite complicated, so they should be re-packed professionally only.
Before you start checking your bearings, you must ask your dealer to find out whether the bearings of your car are sealed. If they are, then it is impossible to re-pack them.
You may conduct a simple test to find out whether your wheels have played. For this, you may use an auto jack to raise the wheels and support the vehicle using jack stands. If you find the elevation of the suspected wheel off the ground, you should place your hand at 12 and 6 o’clock positions. Slowly rotate the wheel and listen for any noises. Find out, whether there is any roughness when you turn the wheels. If you find any noise or roughness while rotating the wheels, it means the bearing has to be replaced.
Make sure you shift the car back into the gear before you lower your vehicle. It is good to have the best automotive creepers in your car to check the working of a wheel bearing. To fix problems, you need a solid creeper. A creeper with wheels will allow you to move around underneath your vehicle.
Some Other Tests
- Hub Temperature – Drive your car roughly about 10 miles. Then check the heat on the bearing. The wheel will be hot, but the hub will remain slightly warm. If you feel the hub more than slightly warm, you must replace the bearing. It means the bearing is not working properly and friction is heating it up.
- Turning the steering wheel roughly – When you turn the steering wheel of your car rougher, and if you experience roughness or if you hear any unusual noise, it means it is time to replace the bearing.
- If you have disc brakes – You should remove the caliper to get the bearings. The brake system can kill you if they are not assembled. This job has to be done by a mechanic.
- If there are drum brakes – You should check the bearing when you check the brakes. Make sure the grease hasn’t become fouled. If it has, this could wear away the connection to the bearing, and the result would be a noisy ride. In some cases, you may lose the wheel, so if the bearing looks cruddy, repack them with the help of a professional.
Make sure you replace the wheel bearings of your car recommended by the manufacturer. The bearings can affect fuel mileage, ride quality and performance of your vehicle. So make sure you choose the right replacement parts. Bearings are available in a wide range of prices. Find out an accessory that works within your budget. Drivers must be familiar with the warning signs of bad bearings to maintain maximum performance of their car.