What is a wheel bearing?

Dec 1, 2020

What is a wheel bearing?

Many drivers may not be aware of what exactly wheel bearings are, but they are fundamental for a smooth ride. A wheel bearing is a circle of ball bearings secured in a ring. This simple design helps wheels turn with a minimal amount of friction. You can find them in cars, lorries and even planes.

In cars, wheel bearings rotate on the end of the axles and fit snugly into the wheel hub. The hub is cup-shaped and found in the centre of each wheel. Lug bolts then hold the wheel in place.

How to know if your wheel bearings are damaged

Chances are when you start to hear noises coming from your car as you’re driving, it could be a sign of a broken or nearly broken wheel bearing. When they go bad, you will notice the following:

● Noise coming from the wheel or tyre area of your car. You may mistake it to be engine noise, but if you listen closely you will be able to hear grinding that gets louder as you accelerate.

● Does your steering feel loose? Wheel looseness can be another common symptom of a bad wheel bearing, as they begin to wear down they become loose inside the wheel hub and spindle making your car feel loose while steering.

● Is your car not handling well? When a wheel bearing starts corroding, the smooth exterior lining wears away and the vibration will then be transmitted to the car’s tyres and will result in your car pulling to one side.

● Rotating your tyres is advised to promote even wear, but wheel bearings can also lead to uneven tyre wear.

How to identify which wheel bearing is bad

To help identify whether it’s your left or right wheel bearing that’s damaged, you can try driving your car steadily down a road at around 40mph and sway gently from side to side (if it’s safe to do so). If a worrying sound is heard when turning right, then the bearing issue is likely to be on the right. Be aware that damaged tyres may also make a similar noise to damaged wheel bearings, particularly when they have worn out in patches.

Why do wheel bearings fail

While wheel bearings are designed to last a long time, they can take a great deal of wear. Poorly lubricated wheel bearings will become very hot and can cause irreparable damage. If the seal is damaged, water and other road debris can enter it resulting in it failing.

Wheel bearing replacement

Are your wheel bearings in need of being replaced? Here at MyCarNeedsA.com, we can gather quotes from local mechanics in your area, saving you both time and money. Get your quote today!

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