The first indication that a bearing is bad maybe when the bearing started making a grinding noise, and the bearing assembly/hub assembly may be overheating. The humming sound may come from any of the wheels. Even a front passenger riding in your car may feel the vibration and notice the noise in the left axle bearing wheel vs. the right front bearing wheel before the driver does. The following can help drivers understand how a bearing goes bad and what to do if it does.
Note that many other sounds can be confused with wheel bearing noises. E.g., bearings in your AC cooling system, alternator bearings, water pump bearings. Also, loose lug nuts can cause damage to the assembly front end suspension.
What is a wheel bearing?
Wheel bearings are found in many different machines, from bicycles to construction machinery, manufacturing and of course cars. Bearings are manufactured in various sizes; however, they follow a fairly standard design.
There is a set of steel balls that are held in place by a metal ring called a bearing race. The bearings are usually attached to an axle utilizing a hub arrangement. The wheel can spin at various speeds while the bearings allow the axle to spin with little friction and noise. Four-wheel drive systems, as well as two-wheel drive systems, use the same bearings.
Top 5 Causes of Wheel Bearing Noise (Warning)
Wheel bearings are usually sealed and require no maintenance. Any of the following issues can damage Even sealed bearings, and the bearing wears:
- Installing the wheel bearing incorrectly
- Exposure to water
- Rough conditions place abnormal pressure on the bearings
- Unbalanced Tires or poor shocks
- Accidents affecting the wheel area
1. Deep Water Driving
Wheel bearings heat up and are designed to release pressure under this condition. Bearings are filled with petroleum-based products for lubrication. However, water can enter the wheel bearing housing when driving through floodwaters. Once the water and lubricant mix, the lubrication qualities decline, causing friction and more heat. Eventually, the bearings begin making a grinding noise and fail altogether.
2. Unbalanced Tires
Unbalanced tires place additional stress on the suspension components of a vehicle and cause the tire to wear unevenly. This includes the tire, lower arm, lower joint, tie rods, ball joints, knuckle arm, and the shocks. Wheel bearings are also impacted. The first indication is uneven wear on the tires. Your shocks may not work correctly, causing the car to bounce more when you pass over bumps in the road. Your bearings may begin making a grinding noise.
3. Accident Near the Shocking System
Anytime there is an accident involving the suspension system, your wheel bearings, as well as the other components, may be damaged. Eventually, this can lead to wheel bearing failure, even if all of the other components are replaced. Hitting a curb too hard, contact with a stationary object, or being hit by another vehicle are all possible causes of eventual wheel bearing failure. Even driving on a flat tire can damage the wheel bearing as well as destroy the tire.
4. Bad Installation
Wheel bearings are sealed at the main factory and should last the lifetime of your car unless they are subjected to situations previously discussed. A new hub and bearing installation should last quite some time unless it was installed improperly, or perhaps the manufactures instructions were not followed.
5. Driving on Rough Roads
Driving on rough roads at high speeds places a great deal of stress on the suspension system. Many of the components can be damaged under these circumstances, including the wheel bearings. Even if the bearings are not damaged at the time, misaligned suspension caused by the rough roads can cause the tires to wear unevenly and place more pressure on the bearings causing them to wear out eventually.
Different Faulty Wheel Bearing Symptoms
Diagnosing any auto issue obliges an eye for less critical subtle elements and an ear for abnormal commotions. You shouldn’t be an auto master to notice indications of auto issues. To analyze the problems, you have to know the manifestations that demonstrate awful orientation. Here is a rundown of the principal side effects.
Rubbing dependably creates commotion and warmth while gradually wearing out moving parts. The manifestation of worn wheel orientation is a pounding or thundering clamor. That would be heard in that region of the moving wheel. Volume and force of this clamor are, for the most part, specifically relative to the pace of that vehicle and don’t change much while decelerating.
Amid turns, the humming sound coming from the front wheels may get louder or even vanish. This bad wheel bearing noise is a flag that you have to pay consideration on the state of the direction and get them supplanted at the earliest opportunity.
If issues are overlooked for long, they can fizzle all of a sudden, and the wheel may get removed, bringing on a noteworthy mishap! However, it can happen just in exceptionally amazing instances of carrier bearing wear, and it is vital that you get a wheel bearing replacement at the earliest opportunity. Here is a quick video for you to listen to the humming noise:
Tire Feels Loose
Another critical indication can be wheel play or detachment of wheel. When the heading wears out, it makes them lose shape and have the wheel center point go free, and additionally, the shaft to go free. All this misalignment of the center point, at last, causes the particular wheel to go free. To check that play, simply raise the vehicle on jacks and force or push tire. The unnecessary play demonstrates that the heading has exhausted to a substantial degree and need quick substitution.
Because of wearing of the heading, the ordinarily smooth moving of that wheel is thwarted and that wheels show imperviousness to pivot at high speeding up or amid turns. As an aftereffect of this, the tires wear out speedier.
Strangely Uneven Tire Wear
The exorbitant play brought about by bearing results in over the top tire wear at some high speeds as wheel arrangement gets exasperates. Therefore, disregarding these issues can cost you a considerable measure more because of the well used out tires requiring substitution. It is prescribed that you go for a repack, of course, like clockwork.
As should be obvious, these issues should be considered necessary, or they may irritate into real issues in auto suspension. Try to rotate your tires, and if the uneven wear persists, then it could be a sign of a bearing issue.
Tip: Read our post the Top 20 Common Reasons Why You Car Wont Start.
Bearing Going Bad Maintenance Tips
This is one kind of vehicular spare parts that are also known as a ball bearing. This device is the main factor of the absence of friction during the operation of the vehicle’s chassis. Another function of its item is to ensure the smooth operation of vehicles. If it failed, then your car will be noisy, and the ball bearings will overheat as well. The moment you fail to solve this problem, you have higher risks of experiencing accidents and other related issues. Also, be sure to impose periodic local check-ups and maintenance of your automobiles.
It is regarded as a vital mechanical component of automobiles to ensure it runs perfectly and smoothly. These are needed to ensure the safety and security of motor vehicle operators. Industry experts mentioned that bearings have a short lifespan because these devices have about 500,000 to 1,000,000 rotations prior to breakage or malfunction. This is why automobile owners should inspect their automobiles in a timely manner as well as replace defective bearings when the need arises.
Like the other mechanical devices that have bearings in them, the tapered bearings of your automobiles should also be replaced timely and regularly. This should be done when you observe malfunctions or signs of deterioration.
Tip: Recommend reading our post Signs of a Blown Head Gasket in Car.
Frequent Asked Questions
Our vehicles make many different sounds. It is essential to listen for abnormal noises that might indicate there is a problem with the vehicle. Our FAQ section should help related to right or left wheel bearing issues.
- How Does a Damaged Wheel Bearing Sound Like? Warn or damaged wheel bearings gradually make more noise as they begin to fail. Initially, you may have started to hear low grinding noise when you are turning a corner. Eventually, the sound will become louder and constant even while driving down a straight stretch of road. The noise may only be noticeable at medium to high speeds. Loose lug nuts can cause the wheel to shake.
- Is it safe to drive with a bad wheel bearing sound? Driving for short distances at low speeds is probably ok. However, long distances and high speeds put lots of pressure on the bearing, causing friction and heat, which could cause the bearing to disintegrate. In extreme cases, the wheel could separate from the car, potentially causing loss of control and an accident.
- What happens if a wheel bearing fails? Extreme wheel bearing failure places stress on the hub, the CV joint, the suspension system, and even the transmission. A failing wheel bearing has increased friction generating heat. At some point, the bearing may seize up and fail to turn, causing catastrophic failure if the automobile is being driven at high speed at the time.
- How fast do you need to go diagnose bad wheel bearings? Usually, 30 -40 mph, all you need to hear the loud noise. And swaying back and forth doesn’t mean go into oncoming cars just a little to hear the noise difference. Then when you determined it is a bad bearing symptom, you will need to figure out which wheel is it coming from. Generally, if you have means to lift the car up, you can check this out if the not local mechanic can do this for you. We suggest rotating the tires if you just started hearing a noise while driving.
How Do you Check or Diagnose?
While driving at 30 to 40 miles an hour weave in your lane and listen for any additional road noise. You may hear a low rumbling sound, which indicates that one of the bearings is beginning to deteriorate. As you weave, the weight of the vehicle is transferred to one side of the car, placing more stress on the bearing. Listen for rear axle noise vs. front axle noise. This will assist in determining which bearing is failing.
Next, jack up your car. If the wheel can be moved in a vertical or horizontal one, the wheel bearing should be replaced. Drivers may also notice a pulsing feeling when depressing the brakes. Brake issues with disc brakes can also cause this, drum brakes, warn brake calipers and brake pads, and rotors being warped from overheating. A complete safety inspection may be needed to check all of the suspension components. Make sure lug nuts are tight.
The approach to check the bearing twisting of the wheels is noticeable. Move it all around while holding your other side on strut gathering or directing knuckle. You can, for the most part, feel a vibration on every wheel. Any significant vibration you feel will be that correct wheel bearing. Also, these previous years, I realized this trap I used to lift the auto up with it running in apparatus and attempt to listen for clamor a ton harder and takes longer in my perspective.
Keep in mind wheel bearing commotion can deceiving from which side of auto it is originating from. That is the reason you have to lift it up to re-confirm. Here is a complete guide from ChrisFix on how to diagnose if you bearing is going bad:
How much does it cost to replace a worn bearing?
Various sources suggest that the average cost is between $400 and $600 for a replacement, not including taxes. Rates depend on the vehicle type and the location you use to have the repairs completed. While these costs may seem high, repairs from an accident and front end suspension repairs could cost much more. Normally, if the bearing fails while on the road, add the cost of having your car towed to a garage, bearing replacement can be expensive.
Also, wheel course is immoderate typically 150-300 bucks cost to replace the wheel bearing in old used cars. Some are squeezed in and need exceptional devices to supplant. Normally, mechanics usually go for a replacement instead of a repair when it comes to a broken or abnormal bearing. Counsel repair guide if necessary, and expect an inspection fee for a professional diagnosing.
How long will bearings last after it starts making sounds?
Once a wheel bearing begins making noise, it is only a matter of time before it fails. It may have been making a noise for some time, and you did not notice the sound. High speeds could make it worse. Drivers risk doing more damage and needing a tow truck to take their car to a repair facility. You are probably good for a few short trips at low speeds.
While the car is in for repairs, why not arrange for a safety inspection. The mechanic normally can check for oil leaks, brake fluid leaks, exhaust leaks, transmission fluid leaks, and complete an oil change. Make arrangements to stop all leaks and avoid further damage. He may also check wheel hub and bearing on all wheels, including rear-wheel bearings, in addition to where the wheel bearing failed.
What should you do if you hear sounds coming from a front?
If you ever have heard that grinding noise when driving down the road might be a wheel bearing. You changed your worn tires, thinking it would fix the problem. Nope. One way to diagnose if it is even a wheel bearing noise is to normally drive at a constant speed, not accelerating or decelerating. Normally, sway the car left to right slightly and listen for change of noise pitch. If it is a wheel bearing causing the noise, then it will change noise pitch when a swaying car left to right.
The most common sounds associated with bad bearings are a front tire noise or humming sound, a growling noise, and a clicking noise. Be very detailed with the noise youre describing. Other car parts that cause noise that is similar to a bearing noise are the following:
- Rear Differential noises
- Engine noise
- Brake noises
Try getting your tires rotated and get a wheel alignment for your vehicle. If your steering wheel continues to shake and you notice rear wheel bearings noises, then take your automobile to a repair shop to get a replacement.
Tip: Read our post on Automatic Car Transmission Fluid Leaks.
Other Common Problems
Rubbing is the most despicable aspect of each moving mechanical part of an auto. Different instruments are formulated to counter grating, including grease and utilization of rubbing lessening parts like wheel orientation. You can rotate your tires before you diagnose hub bearing problems on your four wheel drive truck. Some sounds can come from the power steering system, that is why is crucial getting an appointment for a safety inspection if you get warning signs of a broken or damage part in your vehicle.
A direction is set at the cv axles of an auto wheel center, to lessen the metal-to-metal top surface contact grating and let wheel pivot openly. It is a vital part of the auto suspension. Despite the fact that the heading is greased up, they, in the long run, wear out after some time. The destroying may be quickened by the earth normally, and different contaminants are going into its get together. Other common problems are broken caliper, or worn tires.
In spite of the fact that the wheel course has seals and water still flows into the cv joint and may bring about rust and additionally sully the greasing up oil creating issues. The wheels additionally handle the heaviness of the vehicle alongside tire grating. Also, bearings and disc brakes are typically fabricated to keep going for greater than 150,000 miles, and grating does take it’s toll in the end and wears them all out. Issues with orientation, for the most part, happen because of tear and wear or seal spillage.
When you observe in auto shops, you will find that bearings exist in diverse kinds such as the needle bearing, the ceramic beating, and the tapered roller bearing. Vehicle owners should purchase and replace a new set of bearings on their vehicles to make sure that they are working like a charm. Also, the vehicle’s rotations are back to zero again. Replacing the wheel bearing and brake rotors are common when you purchase a large van like the Honda Pilot with lots of miles.
Make sure to use experienced and licensed automobile mechanics to do the regular inspection and replacing your wheel bearings. Trained and licensed automobile mechanics should be hired to do the periodic monitoring of how the wheel spins, cv axle nut check-ups, and replacement of your hub bearings to prevent the onset of accidents.
AC systems also tend to fail when the car has accumulated lots of miles. An experienced mechanic fixes your HUB assembly and bearing assembly problems. Also, read our latest post to learn how a stop leak can be achieved when it comes to the head gasket. We suggest you schedule an appointment if you hear the noise or sounds coming from the front or rear wheels.