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BRETTS TRUCK PARTS BLOG FORUM

WHEN WHEEL BEARINGS GO BAD

 by brettstruck1 on 23 Nov 2022 |
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A wheel bearing is an important component of the wheel assembly that connects the wheel and axle. It allows the wheel to rotate smoothly and with minimal friction. Wheel bearings are safety-critical components that are designed to withstand radial and axial loads caused by gravitation, acceleration, braking, and cornering forces, so they must be replaced when they fail.

A bad wheel bearing symptoms include:
  1. A humming, rumbling, or growling sound that becomes louder as the vehicle accelerates or turns.
  2. When the vehicle is moving, there is a loud constant whining or grinding noise.
  3. When driving over uneven road surfaces, you may hear clunks.
  4. Looseness, excessive steering wheel play (vague steering);
  5. Vibration in the steering wheel that changes with vehicle speed or as the vehicle turns;
  6. ABS isn't working properly. Failure of the ABS sensor integrated in the wheel end bearing can cause ABS system issues.
It is best to avoid driving for any length of time with a worn wheel bearing, any weakness in this connection could have serious consequences for your drive-axle and steering assembly - as well as your safety.

What causes wheel bearings to fail?
 
I. Inferior tools, such as a hammer or an impact wrench, can damage the exterior and/or interior of the wheel end bearing, causing it to fail prematurely. Furthermore, reusing old accessories such as bolts, nuts, circlips, split pins, seals, etc. instead of replacing them can cause the wheel end bearing to operate under abnormal or unsafe conditions, increasing wheel end bearing wear and the risk of a car accident.

II. Driving through a pothole, driving over speed bumps, or hitting the gutters, can damage and shorten the life of a wheel bearing.

III. Driving conditions can cause your wheel bearings to fail if you drive through deep water or mud. Water, mud, or other contaminants such as dust or road salt may pass through the seals and enter the bearing, polluting the grease and causing the bearings to wear out.
IV. Poor heat treatment can result in premature wear and failure of wheel bearings made of low-quality materials.

V.  Car modifications, such as larger or wider rims, tyres with lower thread walls, stiffer shock absorbers, and suspension springs, increase the load on the wheel bearing and can speed up wear. Stick to the rims, tires, shock absorbers, and springs recommended by the manufacturer to reduce the impact on longevity.

Despite the fact that modern wheel bearings are easier to install than previous generations, proper installation, the use of appropriate tools, and adherence to the torque values specified are still required for maximum performance, durability, and safety. As a result, we recommend having your wheel bearings replaced by a professional mechanic who has the necessary skills and tools. It is critical to use high-quality parts when replacing your wheel bearings. 


 

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