Symptoms of a Wheel Bearing Problem

Luckily, the symptoms of a wheel bearing problem are fairly obvious. The wheel bearings in your vehicle are crucial for smooth tire and wheel rotation. Problem wheel bearings can cause loss of steering control or even wheel separation.

Looking For Symptoms Of A Wheel Bearing Problem

Although your wheel bearings should last a good long time-85,000 to 100,00 miles-you'll ultimately reach a point where they'll need to be replaced. The low friction rotation of your vehicle's wheel hubs is important for efficiency and control issues. Fortunately, your wheel bearings aren't shy about letting you know they are in trouble. Here are the major symptoms of a wheel bearing problem:

  • The noise, noise, noise! According to a recent survey by the Babcox auto publishing company, 51% of faulty wheel bearings are identified by the noise they produce. If your car makes mechanical noises (squealing, chirping, etc.) around the wheels while in motion, or if it makes grinding noises while turning, then bad wheel bearings should be your first suspect.
  • You wanted to go where? You're probably looking at wheel bearing problems if your vehicle's steering tends to wander when not under a firm grip or if the car pulls to one side while breaking.
  • Rock on. To check the condition of your wheel bearings, jack your car up and grasp the raised wheel by the top and bottom. Pull and push on the wheel by alternating pressure on each hand. If the wheel rocks toward you and away, it's a pretty good bet that you're looking at wheel bearing issues.
  • Round and round. While you still have the wheel in the air, put the car in neutral and rotate the tire. A questionable wheel bearing will cause the wheel to rotate with a rough feel or cause noise to come from the area of the wheel hub.
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