How to Identify a Bad Wheel Bearing or Wheel Hub Bearing Assembly
When a Wheel Bearing or Hub Assembly is bad, it will usually make a noise.
The noise can vary when you turn, and also with speed. This grinding noise indicates that your wheel bearings are bad, and you should replace them.
Common noises are squeaks, chirps, squeals, moans, grinding, growling, whining, etc. This noise usually does not vary with braking. If you are experiencing noise while breaking or that varies with applied brake pressure, then you most likely need to replace your brakes. We carry brake parts too, so give us a call. (877-929-7280)
One good way to tell if a wheel bearing is bad is by taking hold of the wheel at 6 and 12 o'clock and attempting to shake it while the wheel is lifted off the ground.
The amount of 'wiggle' room that your wheel has is play. There should be very little or no play in the wheel.
If you do have play in your wheel, you need to replace your wheel bearings or hub. If there is no play in your wheel, that doesn't necessarily mean your wheel bearing is good.
When you rotate the wheel by hand, and experience roughness or noise, this too can indicate bad wheel bearings.
Another check you can make is by checking the temperature of the wheel hub after driving ten miles. The hub portion should be barely warm (the wheel itself will be hotter because of the brakes). The hub's job is to prevent friction with the body. If the hub is warm, friction is causing it to heat up, and you need new hubs.
On many hubs, there is an ABS sensor. If the ABS sensor is bad, it will cause your ABS light to come on on the dash. This can also cause ABS malfunctions. Many hub assemblies have the abs sensor built into the hub. If this is the case with your hub, to fix this issue and restore your ABS, you will need a new hub assembly. To see if your hub assembly includes an ABS sensor or an ABS exciter ring, please contact us.
A bearing failure can be dangerous because it may cause the wheel to separate from the vehicle and/or cause a loss of steering control! It's not something to ignore or put off because there is no way to know how many miles the bearings will go before the unit fails completely. In most cases, it is not an immediate threat when your bearing begins to make noise, but it is not something to put off.
Replacing a wheel bearing or hub assembly will involve removing the wheel, hub nut and brakes to replace the unit. Do not use an impact installation of the hub nut. Use a torque wrench and tighten all bolts and nuts to specifications. You will not have to worry about the axle nut and torqueing it if you are replacing a hub that is not driven.
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