Inside every wheel on every vehicle is a bearing of some kind. This allows the wheel to spin with minimum wear and resistance.
Wheel bearings are components that undergo a lot of repeated stresses but are designed to theoretically last the entire life of the vehicle.
In practice, we’ve seen wheel bearings go bad in as little as a few months, while other vehicles have well over 400,000kms on their original bearings.
Replacing a wheel bearing isn’t a particularly difficult task, but it often requires tools that aren’t available in the home workshop and experienced knowledge to ensure the replaced bearing lasts as long as possible.
Signs of a Bad Wheel Bearing:
Wheel bearings will often show many signs that they’re on their way out well before they let go. Symptoms of a bad wheel bearing include:
- Uneven tyre wear on that corner of the vehicle
- Vehicle pulling to one side
- Wobbly or loose steering
- A howl or growling noise that changes with vehicle speed
- Clicking noises from that corner of the vehicle
- ABS light illuminating on dashboard indicating system issue or failure
Premature Bearing Failure:
Much of the time, if a wheel bearing has failed prematurely, the cause can be tracked down to one of a few reasons, including:
- Vehicle is frequently carrying heavy loads or towing
- Aftermarket wheels that are wider or heavier than stock
- Performance use, such as track days or off-road adventures
- Frequent water crossings or submersion
- Imbalanced wheels and tyres
- Extended periods of driving on poor condition roads
- Improper installation
Submersion in water is a frequent reason why boat trailer wheel bearings have a much shorter lifespan than vehicle wheel bearings. A hot bearing coming into contact with cold water will rapidly cool, drawing water past the seals and into the bearing.
Wheel Bearing Services:
Depending on the vehicle, a wheel bearing repair may involve a bearing kit, replacing an entire hub assembly or simply press fitting new bearing races. We can take care of it all; sourcing the replacement components, ensuring all bearing and sealing surfaces are inspected and cleaned, packing the new bearing with high quality grease and ensuring everything is tightened back up to your manufacturer’s specifications.
For all wheel bearing concerns, have a chat with your local Tyrepower store today and arrange an inspection and diagnosis.