Every wheel on a car is attached to an individual hub and inside each hub is a lubricated wheel bearing which allows the wheels to move freely without heat build-up. Wheel bearings are engineered strong but over time they will lose lubricity, wear out and need to be replaced. Wheel bearing damage can prove detrimental if it breaks entirely.
Here are some of the symptoms you can look for if you suspect your wheel bearing is damaged:
- Abnormal/ uneven tyre wear
Other mechanical problems that can lead to abnormal or uneven tyre wear include:
- Under or over inflated tyres
- CV joints
- Struts and shocks
- Misaligned suspension
Wheel bearings are one of the most common sources of abnormal tyre wear. If the left tyre for instance is showing uneven wear, it might be one of the above symptoms or the wheel bearing being worn. Wheel bearings however do not wear evenly and if the left tyre is wearing down and you change the bearing, you will also have to change the right bearing being on the same axel. It would be a good idea to check up if it is the bearing that is causing uneven tyre wear and nothing minor because you wouldn’t want to risk a bearing breaking.
- Grinding or roaring coming from the wheel area
It isn’t often that wheel bearings wear out, however when they do it can happen rather quickly. One of the warning signs of worn out wheel bearings is loud grinding or roaring coming from the wheel area. This is caused by heat build-up between the wheel bearing and wheel hub and the bearing itself losing its lubricity. Essentially it is a metal-to-metal rubbing sound you are hearing.
- Vibration on the steering wheel
Vibration on the steering wheel can also be caused by worn out wheel bearings. Unlike tyre wear vibration which you feel at high speeds, vibration on steering wheel due to a worn out wheel bearing is noticeable at slower speeds and progressively gets worse as the car accelerates.
- Additional play on wheels
This is one you can test on your own with your car either being jacked up or on a hydraulic lift. If you grab a wheel at the 12 and 6 o’ clock positions and attempt to rock it back and forth, and if the wheel bearing is good, there won’t be any “wobble” on the wheel. If it does wobble then that it is a good indicator that the wheel bearing is starting to get worn.
If you do happen to notice any of these signs on your vehicle due to wheel bearing damage, don’t hesitate on getting it fixed. At Riet River Auto our professional mechanics are skilled in diagnosing and fixing the problem at hand.