Worried about the state of your wheel bearings? Have you noticed a clicking sound while making turns? Sturdy wheels will keep you on the road so don’t jeopardize your safety if the reliability of your car is questionable. Today we’re going to talk about the most common bad wheel bearing symptoms and how to recognize them. But first, for those of you not familiar with “car lingo”, here’s a short and simple explanation of what a what is a wheel bearing.
Wheel Bearings – The Basics
Wheel bearings are an essential part of the wheel. Together with the hub and assemblies, wheel bearings are a critical safety component that will keep your wheels sturdy and reliable. Depending on the type of car you’re driving, you’ll find that wheel bearings come in different shapes and sizes, but they all fulfill the same role. They are designed to reduce friction and heat when the wheels spin. They are also able to handle huge forces during braking and accelerating. Bearings support the entire sprung weight of the vehicle so they are very resilient.
Having said that, they are not immune to wear and tear and may even need to be replaced more regularly if you’re often driving on rough roads. Here are a few symptoms of a faulty wheel bearing you should look out for:
Listen to Your Wheels
There are a couple of ways to tell if you’re dealing with a worn-out wheel bearing, but the most common way is to listen to the sound of your wheels. You might ask yourself – what does a bad wheel bearing sound like? Well, different sounds might indicate different malfunctions, so it’s best if we list them all.
Humming and howling sounds
You would typically hear a humming or almost howling sound while accelerating in a straight line. The faster you go, the louder the sound gets. If you pay attention, you can even hear which side is the faulty one.
Squealing and Growling sounds
Again, similar to the previous audible cue, squealing and growling sounds while driving indicate it’s time to change your wheel bearings. The sounds typically intensify when you start turning the steering wheel.
If you hear a clicking sound while driving your car, you’re probably dealing with a faulty wheel bearing. If it’s bearing-related, the clicking sound is caused by wheel wobble. It can also be a sign of a worn-out CV-joint.
Other Symptoms and How to Recognize Them
While sound cues are generally the most common indicator of a faulty wheel bearing, there are also other symptoms to look out for. For instance, uneven tire and brake wear can be bearing-related but are usually an indicator of a different problem. Also, wheels that are wobbly and have excessive play are a sign it’s time to replace your wheel bearings.
So, what should you do if you notice these symptoms? Well, driving your car is probably not a great idea. A bad wheel bearing can damage other important components like the CV joint and even the transmission. Not to mention it can prevent the wheel from spinning entirely, putting you in a very dangerous situation.
Locate the nearest car mechanic and head over there or stop by an auto parts store and replace the bearing by yourself. Keep in mind that you’ll need to have the necessary tools at hand, as well as other equipment needed to remove the tire by yourself.
We hope you’ll put your newly acquired knowledge to good use and make sure the wheels of your car are in pristine condition.
Signs of a bad wheel bearing are pretty obvious, so you should have no problem identifying them even if you’re not an expert. If you had an experience with a bad wheel bearing, please share it with us in the comments below.
Remember to keep up with our blog for more tips on how to repair your car on the road. As always, if you’re in a jam somewhere in the Greater Phoenix Area, don’t hesitate to give us a call and we’ll help you out in no time.