If your vehicle has run for a long time and hasn’t received any inmate servicing then it’s time to get a thorough look, as this could lead to bearing related problems in the near future.
Here, know how to diagnose the noise coming from wheel bearings so that you can replace wheel bearings timely.
What is Wheel bearing?
A wheel bearing is a set of steel balls held together by a metal ring called a race. They help wheels spin fast with little friction as possible.
Wheel bearings are a part of every type of vehicle be it a car, truck or a bicycle. On a car, a wheel bearing rides on a metal axel shaft and fits tightly inside the hub and this hub holds the lug bolts that you use to bolt the tire onto the wheel. The wheel bearing is pressed into the hub from the back.
How do wheel bearings work?
A bearing is a machine component which performs the function of constraining the relative motion between moving parts of the machine. The act of constraining the relative motion is aimed at facilitating only a certain kind of motion. They can permit different types of motion such as- linear, axial rotation, hinge and spherical rotation.
Most wheel bearings that are properly installed and cared for can last around 100000 miles. But it’s wise to replace them if damage is suffered by them due to an accident or even a broken seal can cause a lot of damage.
Why do wheel bearings make noise?
Wheel bearings are made of hardened steel. Heat and water are its worst enemies. Lack of lubrication will result in heat that can destroy a wheel bearing. Water penetrating on a sealed bearing also destroys it.
Most factory manufactured wheel bearings come sealed. The seals on both front and rear protect the bearings from outer elements like debris, water etc. Broken or damaged seal results in malfunctioning wheel bearing and start making noise.
But noise can be of different types. For instance, if you hear rhythmic, rotating noise that gets louder with speed, it may be car tires that are primarily at fault. Check your car’s wheels for patches if you do hear a rhythmic noise that increases in volume the faster you go.
Does the noise changes from louder to softer when the weight of your car shifts? You can test this by gently swaying your car while driving slowly. If the noise persists but lessens when you sway right, then the damaged bearing is likely on the left wheel bearing.
If it lessens when you sway left, a right wheel bearing is likely broken and needs replacement.
Another symptom can be vibrating or wobbling wheel while driving. When wheel bearings start to wear down they loosen inside the wheel, which can cause the looseness while driving.
Take help of a professional but do not ignore it!
At first, the noise originating from wheels might sound like a whistle. If ignored, the noise could grow louder.
You can use various tricks to identify the noise. One of the first tricks can be checking the noise at the time of acceleration and deceleration. One should drive the vehicle along a circular path, both clockwise and anti clockwise, in order to find out which of the wheels emit the sound caused by damaged wheel bearing.
The noise originating from a wheel bearing doesn’t change with changing speed but it might increase or decrease on turning. So, it can be concluded that the noise heard at regular intervals, while driving at a steady speed, is a sign of problem associated with bearings.
Sometimes, CV joints and damaged wheel bearing noises can be similar. But both problems are different, so better take a professional assistance.
You can check damaged wheel bearing by using mechanic jacks for lifting a car. While spinning the wheel with one hand, one should place the other hand on the strut assembly. Noise can be heard if there is any issue with its functionality.
Front wheel bearing noise
The front wheel should be checked for noise and lubrication. It is strictly advised to service the front wheel every 30000 miles. At the time of driving, do not ignore any sound coming from the front wheel of your car.
Noise originating from floorboard indicates that the problem is not related to wheel bearing and it could originate in any other vital auto part.
Rear wheel bearing noise
Noise produced by the rear and front wheel bearings is almost the same. In such cases, diagnosing the problem associated with bearing noise can be difficult.
In one of the methods to diagnose such kind of noise, the vehicle is driven at constant speed while making occasional slight changes in the speed.
It is important that you vary the speed because there are certain cars that make noise only at certain speeds. This way, you can detect and repair bad wheel bearing.
Check for cracks while diagnosing wheel bearings. Even small cracks can cause big problems. To detect minute cracks, checking should be done in bright light.
Cracked, pitted or worn out bearings should be replaced. Hub bores and spindles shouldn’t be ignored. If the bearing hub doesn’t fit properly, it calls for the replacement of the drum or rotor.
The bottom line? Conduct a careful diagnosis of worn out and damaged car parts to determine the exact cause.
Whatever your car’s model is, you must maintain its top performance and condition by using only heavy-duty and reliable Car parts and accessories from one of the best suppliers of Car parts- Parts Avatar Auto Parts Canada.