A wheel bearing is a crucial part of the wheel assembly that connects the wheel and the axle. It is a set of steel balls (ball bearings) or tapers (tapered bearings), held together by a metal ring. It enables the wheel to rotate smoothly with a minimum of friction.
Q: Is it safe to drive with a bad wheel bearing? A: No. It can, in fact, be very dangerous to drive if one of your bearings is worn out, especially since it may cause the wheel to stop while driving. Additionally, a damaged wheel bearing puts a lot of stress on the hub, the CV joint, and the transmission itself.
On average, a wheel bearing alone will cost you between $60 – $150, and an entire bearing and hub assembly replacement is around $200 – $400 for each wheel depending on your vehicle type.
If a wheel bearing goes bad, more friction will be placed on the wheel, and the wheel will start to wobble. … The most common symptom with a bad wheel bearing is a loud noise coming from the tire or wheel of the vehicle. It will sound like metal grinding on metal and will get louder as the vehicle goes faster.
How Long Will a Noisy Wheel Bearing Last? Typically, a wheel bearing should last roughly 1,000 to 1,500 miles after it starts making noise. This doesn’t mean you should keep driving since a noisy wheel bearing is always a risk.
If it is a wheel bearing in the rear, it may take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes and if the hubs and wheel bearing is permanently bolted to the car it can take 20 minutes to an hour. Front-wheel bearings can take from 30 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, all depending on your mechanic.
You should replace your hub assembly and wheel bearings. Here’s how to replace wheel bearings. Even if only one side is bad, it makes sense to replace them in pairs. The “good” side is likely to cause problems in a relatively short time.
Most serviceable wheel bearings need maintenance every 25,000 to 30,000 miles, or during every brake service. But, the average life of a sealed wheel bearing and hub assembly is about 85,000 to 100,000 miles, without the opportunity for a technician to repack the bearings.
We found significant play in the bearing, which can lead to a soft brake pedal. Brake rotors are held in alignment by wheel bearings. If you have a faulty or loose wheel bearing, the rotor will wobble on its axis. … Now, when you hit the brake pedal, the piston has to travel farther than normal to apply the brakes.
When properly maintained, most bearings should last approximately eight to 12 years. Bearing lifespans are represented through a concept called the L10 life.
Both wheel bearings have racked up the same number of miles, so it’s logical to conclude that both sides have probably experienced the same amount of wear. Based on this line of thinking, it would make sense to recommend replacing both wheel bearing hubs at the same time even though only one has obviously failed.
If you were to replace all the wheel bearings of your vehicle, you should expect to pay anywhere between $800 and $1,000 total. Unless you have a special warranty plan that covers this expense, the cost will probably be higher than expected for most car owners.
If your wheel bearing fails, it can cause the wheel to stop while you are driving or possibly even to fall off. At the very least, before a wheel falls off, a failed wheel bearing can/will cause significant damage to your vehicle, so it’s very important to keep an eye on these and keep them maintained.
What does it cost to replace wheel bearings? The cost to replace one front-wheel hub assembly varies widely. Some variables include the make and model, the garage’s labor rate and the cost for parts. The national average is about $350 to fix the wheel bearings at one wheel.
The cost of a complete rear wheel bearing replacement will be somewhere in area of $240 to $460. Parts will on average be between $100 and $180. The labor costs will be around $140 to $280.
You can test this by gently swaying your car while driving slowly. If the noise lessens when you sway right, then the damaged bearing is likely on a left wheel bearing. If it lessens when you sway left, a right wheel bearing is likely broken.
Anytime the steering/suspension system has been taken apart for whatever reason, its always a good idea to have alignment checked. You shouldn’t have to have an alignment after a bearing/axle.
The bearings won’t allow the wheel to turn freely, which exacerbates the problem. … Ultimate damage: If you don’t replace a damaged wheel bearing before it fails completely, the wheel will completely seize up. If this happens while you’re driving, the results can be catastrophic.
If your car or truck has a non-serviceable wheel hub assembly with press in bearings, you will need a shop press to remove and replace the bearings. If your car or truck has non-serviceable wheel hubs, simply remove the old wheel hub and replace it with a new part.
A worn wheel hub bearing, damaged ring gear or failing speed sensor sending inaccurate data to the ECM may engage the ABS for no apparent reason when stopping, locking up the brakes. Check your tire pressure. A tire with low pressure will roll at a different speed than the other tires, sending faulty data to the ECM.
When a bearing wears out, it is usually a case of inadequate lubrication, faulty installation or improper adjustment. For the repair to be successful, you must first determine why the previous bearing failures occured. For sealed hub units, examining the internal bearings and races is impossible.
If the torque applied was too high the bearings can be put into excessive pre-load, or if the torque was too low, the bearings can have excessive endplay. Both of which could affect fuel economy and the performance of the bearings over time.
Diagnosis — Rocking the Tire
If the tire rocks by any noticeable degree, and especially if the movement is accompanied by a clinking or clunking sound, you likely have a bad ball joint or two. This test can also indicate a bad wheel bearing, but that will also grumble and vibrate as you drive in a straight line.
If your wheel bearings are worn, it can cause a grinding noise while turning the vehicle. Poor steering and handling and uneven tire wear are just some of the effects of failing wheel bearings.
Unlike a tire balance problem that typically shows up at higher speeds, a vibration in the steering wheel due to a bad bearing will be noticed at slower speeds and progressively get worse as the vehicle accelerates.
On many modern cars, a bad wheel bearing will trigger a warning light. The ABS or traction control warnings will often illuminate, since a bad bearing will trip the system to deactivate.
If your car makes a humming noise, it could mean the differential needs lubricant, the transmission is failing or the universal joints or wheel bearings are wearing out. … Don’t let the noises continue without having an expert take a look at your vehicle.
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