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3 of the Most Usual Symptoms of Bad Wheel Bearing That Require Quick Fix

symptoms of a bad wheel bearing

Photo Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZDK4LyTkRg

The symptoms of a defective wheel bearing do vary from one vehicle to another. Some of these indicators are difficult to find. As a result, they can sudden damages without you being able to apply preventive repairs and maintenance.

Notably, the wheel bearings are among the most crucial components of the steering and drive-axle mechanism of your vehicle. The wheel of your car connects to a mechanical hub that contains several wheel bearings. The latter are lubricated so that the tires can freely spin without generating an unusually high level of heat.

Fortunately, wheel bearings are made to last long. However, just like other things, they don’t last forever. Eventually, they would eventually wear out and lose their lubrication. At this point, you should replace them already. Once they break, the stirring of your car would stumble and controllable. Of course, this is a deleterious predicament while you are on the road.

Currently, most wheel bearings have a “maintenance-free” warranty. It is a guarantee that the wheel bearings will have a long lifespan and don’t require regular servicing. But they are not impermeable anyway. Sooner or later, they would break and stop functioning. Before any of these dire situations take place, the a bad wheel bearing should have been replaced with a new set already.

Symptoms of Bad Wheel Bearing

The wheel bearing replacement cost is not that big. However, the price is not the real problem here. As I mentioned, detecting the symptoms of a bad wheel bearing is a tad bit tricky. But if your car is exhibiting the following symptoms, then you might start checking the wheel bearings immediately.

Unusual Tire Wearing

Wire tearing is something that you should expect already. That happens over time. But sometimes, your tire wear outs abnormally. Several culprits may use it. Over-inflating or under-inflating tires could wear them out quickly. It could also be due to the misalignment of one the vehicle’s suspension.

However, the most common reason for the abnormal wire tear out is a worn out or broken set of wheel bearings. Many car technicians agree that wheel bearings don’t wear out evenly. Therefore, if the right tire of your car is exhibiting more wear than the rest, then the problem should be on the left bearing.

Unfortunately, wheel bearings should go as a set. You can’t replace one wheel bearing and just leave the rest in the mechanism. That would only deter the system of your vehicle. You have to remove all the bearings on the axle and replace them altogether with a brand new set.

In this situation, I suggest that you contact your trusted mechanic so that they can spot the root of the abnormal wearing of the tires. They can make a quick diagnosis and provide you with the right solutions to the problem. The cause might not be the wheel bearings themselves. It is better that you take the advice of professionals first before starting a move on your own.

Unusual Noise on the Tire

The ordeal of spotting errors on the wheel bearings is primary because it doesn’t happen frequently. As I mentioned, it happens rarely. But when the bad news comes, it takes place quickly and suddenly. There is a little time allowance that is given to the vehicle owner to detect the problem. Luckily, you don’t need your eyes to spot the signs.

If your car has been producing loud and unwanted sounds in its tire area lately, you must check the wheel bearings as soon as possible. There is a good chance that there is an abnormal build-up of heat on the wheel bearings. That would eventually result in the loss of their lubrication. The sounds that you are hearing are probably exposed metal parts that are grinding each other.

Just like the first case we have, this symptom might only take place on a particular wheel and not throughout the rest. If you deem that your wheel bearings are the miscreants for these cacophonies, you need to have professional mechanics check your vehicle. They are the ones can solve the problem. Of course, you should do this before your car becomes a hazard on the road.

Steering Wheel Vibrations

If the wheel bearings are in their top condition, they will remain smooth and stable. Therefore, when they start to vibrate, professionals would somehow deduce that there is something wrong with your vehicle. Most of the time, they would blame the case to damaged wheel bearings.

If you notice the vibration at high speeds, then it must be caused by a problem on the tire balance. But if you observed the fluctuation at a slower pace or when accelerating, a faulty wheel bearing might be the root of the issue.


These are some of the possible indicators of a damaged wheel bearing. You might still need to consult your local automotive service centers if the wheel bearings cause the observed problems. After all, these symptoms can also indicate some other problems in your vehicle. A close checkup and test run would eventually tell you the real score.

The symptoms of defective wheel bearings could also range from uneven pad wear to the difficulty of rolling when you press the clutch. These are other signs that you should not shrug off. Once your vehicle exhibits any of these problems, an immediate diagnosis is necessary. Until then, your car would not be a safe medium for driving.

I know that some of you are certified DIYers. But when it comes to your vehicle, it is better that you consult the service of professional mechanics than relying on yourself. Of course, if you are trained and have prior experience in this field, then you can do the diagnosis and repairs by yourself. But by that time, you should already have the necessary tools to make the maintenance possible.

Did you learn from this article? If you know other indicators of a faulty wheel bearing, kindly share it with us in the comment section below!

Steven K. Galloway