How Can You Tell If a Wheel Bearing Is on Its Way out?


Many mechanics believe that if you listen out for any anomalies, you can often tell when an automotive part is about to fail. This is particularly the case when it comes to some small but crucial parts that allow your wheels to turn in the first place. So what should you be aware of and why should you take action to avoid some significant issues down the road?

How Wheel Bearings Work

Within each of the four hubs on your vehicle is a wheel bearing. It's typically about the size and shape of a small doughnut, and inside its casing, you'll find taper or roller bearings encased in grease. These bearings help absorb the heat, relieve the friction associated with forward motion, and form the interface between a static hub and a moving wheel. They're carefully engineered to last as long as possible but will inevitably wear out as time goes by.

Listening for an Issue

So, what should you be listening for? Often, the first sign of a faulty bearing is a distinctive clicking noise, especially when you negotiate a sharp turn. You may also detect a dull, droning noise when driving in a straight line, which may increase in frequency and volume as you speed up.

Determining the Source

If you detect a clicking noise, the source will probably be apparent, and you can narrow down the location of the problem part to either the front left or front right. If you can hear a droning noise instead, you may need to do some further investigation. If the noise gets louder when you brake, this indicates that the issue is at the front of the vehicle. When you decelerate, the weight of the car will shift onto the front wheels and cause more stress in that area.

Playing With Danger

If a wheel bearing were to fail at speed, the consequences could be severe. The entire hub may part company with the car, taking the wheel and assembly with it. Clearly, this would be very dangerous and would certainly cause the driver to lose control. Therefore, it's important to check any wheel bearing issues as soon as they become apparent.

What to Do Next

So, call an auto repair shop if you can hear a strange noise and suspect that it may be due to a degenerating wheel bearing. They'll tell you what to do next so you can take care of the problem.


10 November 2022

Car servicing for women

It's easy to get overlooked when you head into get your car serviced if you are a woman. I have found the trick to getting the auto repairers to take me seriously is to do some research beforehand and look at what the log book says they need to replace this service. I wish I had started doing it earlier because it's also helping me trouble shoot repair issues and I'm saving myself a lot of time and stress this way. I'm keeping track of everything I have learned on this blog so I can share it with other new drivers and help them understand their auto service requirements as well.