How To Know If You Have Bad Wheel Bearings? new for 2022

How To Know If You Have Bad Wheel Bearings? It can be difficult to know if you have a bad wheel bearing, especially if you’re not familiar with car mechanics.

How To Know If You Have Bad Wheel Bearings?
How To Know If You Have Bad Wheel Bearings?

We’ve put together this guide on how to tell if you have a bad wheel bearing so that you can get your car fixed before the problem gets worse. Let’s find out together in this article!


What are Wheel Bearings?

What are Wheel Bearings
What are Wheel Bearings

A wheel bearing is a spherical or tapered metal ring that connects the wheel and axle. It’s made up of a group of steel balls (ball bearings) or tapers (tapered bearings), which are held together by a metal ring. It allows for smooth rotation with little friction.

Wheel bearings are designed to support radial and axial loads, such as those caused by gravity, acceleration, breaking & cornering forces. When they stop working properly, they need to be replaced for safety reasons.

You can read more at What Are Wheel Bearing Seals?

How To Know If You Have Bad Wheel Bearings?

How To Know If You Have Bad Wheel Bearings
How To Know If You Have Bad Wheel Bearings

How Do You Know If You Have Bad Wheel Bearings? Below are symptoms of bad wheel bearing:

Humming Noises

There are several noises coming from a car that should raise red flags, so it’s critical to be able to distinguish between them in order to avoid making a mistake. Noise can be deceptive: while driving, a humming noise might be caused by a variety of issues, but it also could be the wheel bearing or CV joint.

Squealing & Growling

To diagnose a bad wheel bearing, listen for cyclic chirping, squealing and/or growling noises that change in proportion to vehicle speed. The noise will usually get worse with every turn or it can disappear momentarily.

Rear Differential Noise vs Wheel Bearing Noise

Loose pinion-bearing preload is indicated by a howling noise that only occurs when the car comes to a stop. Worn out gears make a howling sound at different speeds, but overly worn bearings make a similar howling noise as well, even if they do not support the wheels properly. They also generate a rumbling sound while turning.

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Clicking Sound

A clicking noise that becomes more frequent as you step on the gas could indicate an issue with the wheel hub assembly.

Wheel Wobble

Mechanics use a lift to manually check for wheel movement in order to detect wobble. It would be tough, if not impossible, to shake the wheel and tire normally. The hub assembly must be replaced if it shakes. If the problem is not addressed right away, the tire/wheel may come off the car at any moment, at any speed.

ABS Failure

The anti-lock warning light may come on. If the ring, tire, and wheel wobble, then it means the wheel’s speed sensor is not working properly anymore. This sporadic or non operation of the ABS could be dangerous. See a professional for repair as soon as possible.

Uneven Tire Wear

When a tire wears out faster than the others, it might be because the wheel bearings are worn. But, it could also mean that the tire isn’t inflated properly (too much or too little air pressure), the tires aren’t aligned, or there is damage to the suspension components.

Vehicle Pulls to One Side

Worn bearings may cause a vehicle to drift to the left or right when brakes are applied. The direction in which the car drifts indicates where worn bearings are on the left or right side of the vehicle. However, this might also indicate a problem with the brake rotor or caliper.

Steering Wheel Vibration

The steering wheel may vibrate if the vehicle’s wheel bearings are damaged. The vibration will become more intense as the vehicle speed increases, and when the vehicle turns to the left or right. However, it is also possible that an out-of-round tire (with a flat spot) could causing the vibration, or that the tires are no longer balanced. Damage to suspension components could be another potential causes of vibrations in the steering wheel.

Steering Feels Loose

If you’re experiencing any of the signs listed below, such as less responsive and precise steering, it could be due to worn bearings. In this case, you should visit a dealer service or auto repair shop.

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Why do wheel bearings fail?

Why do wheel bearings fail?
Why do wheel bearings fail?

The main reasons that a wheel bearing fails are:

Installation problems

A hammer or an impact wrench can damage the outside and/or interior of the wheel end bearing, causing it to fail prematurely. Furthermore, re-installing old accessories such as bolts, nuts, circlips, split pins, seals,…. instead of replacing them with new ones may result in the wheel end bearing running under abnormal or hazardous conditions that cause wheel end bearing deterioration and a vehicle accident.

Impact damage or poor road quality

A wheel bearing can be damaged by driving over potholes, striking speed bumps, or running over curbstone.

Poor quality wheel bearing

Low-quality wheel bearings are more likely to wear down and fail because of the continuous pressure they’re under. Additionally, poor heat-treatment can contribute to premature wear.

Driving conditions

Drive through deep water or mud at your own risk- it could cause your wheel bearings to fail. Water, mud, dust, and contaminants like road salt can get past the seals and enter the bearing. If this happens, the grease will be polluted and the bearings will start to wear away.

Car modifications

Higher loads on the wheel bearing are caused by larger rims, wider tires with lower thread walls, stiffer shock absorbers and suspension springs. To minimize the influence on the wheel bearings’ longevity, stick to rims, tires, shock absorbers and springs that have been specified by the vehicle manufacturer.

How long can you drive on a bad wheel bearing?

How long can you drive on a bad wheel bearing
How long can you drive on a bad wheel bearing

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on a number of factors, such as the severity of the damage and the driving conditions.

However, if you’re driving on a bad wheel bearing, it’s best to get it checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible. Driving for too long on a damaged wheel bearing can cause further damage to the car and may even lead to an accident.

Read more at How Long Does Wheel Bearings Last? Symptoms of Bad Wheel Bearings

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FAQs How Do You Know If You Have Bad Wheel Bearings

FAQs How Do You Know If You Have Bad Wheel Bearings
FAQs How Do You Know If You Have Bad Wheel Bearings

How much does it cost to fix wheel bearings?

Replacement of one front-wheel hub assembly may cost anything from $350 to thousands of dollars. The make and model, as well as the garage’s labor charge, all influence costs. The national average for wheel bearing replacement at one wheel is around $350.

How long will a wheel bearing last once it starts making noise?

A wheel bearing’s lifespan is, on average, 1,000 to 1,500 miles. However, once it starts making noise, continuing to drive becomes a risky proposition.

How do you tell which wheel bearing is bad front or back?

You may try this by gently swerving your automobile while driving slowly. If the noise decreases when you move your car to the right, the bad bearing is probably on a left-hand bearing. If it decreases when you move your automobile to the left, a right-wheel bearing has broken.

How can you tell the difference between tire noise and wheel bearing noise?

If you want to confirm it, change the speed of your vehicle. If the noise becomes worse when driving faster, then it’s likely a bad wheel bearing. However, if the noise stays constant, then issue may be with your tires instead.


The signs of bad wheel bearings and what to do if you have them. The wheel bearings on your car are important for the safety and performance of your vehicle. You should inspect them regularly to make sure they are in good condition. Through the above blog post from, what problem have you understood? Follow us to get more useful knowledge for you.

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