A wheel bearing is an important part of the wheel assemblage that joins the wheel and the axle. It is a combination of steel balls (ball bearings) or tapers (tapered bearings), secured by a metal ring. It allows a smooth rotation of the wheel with the least friction. Wheel bearings are vital components that are designed to maintain radial and axial loads caused by gravitation, acceleration, braking, and turning forces. So, if they stop working properly, they should be replaced.
Purpose of wheel bearings in your car
Wheel bearings play an important part in your vehicle’s capacity to drive as efficiently as possible. The common type of wheel bearing includes a set of steel balls held within a circular metal ring known as race. Perhaps wheel bearings are the main part of the wheel assembly, which attach your wheels to the axle, distributing the weight of the vehicle between all four wheels.
Being a crucial part of a wheel assembly in your vehicle, they are responsible for capturing all of the heat and friction produced during acceleration, turning, braking, and other common driving conditions. It makes your vehicle’s wheel run smoothly with the least friction.
How to Find the Problem in Wheel Bearing?
It all begins with a noise. Anyone can easily overlook this noise at first when the radio is on, and wind noise is coming from the windows. But if you continue driving more miles, that slight low noise grows to a sharp metal on metal grinding sound that is hard to ignore. There can be other signs as well that you can notice, such as wobbly steering or uneven wearing on your tires.
The above are all signs that something is not good with your wheel bearing, and you should take all signs seriously. If not, it can result in losing the wheel while driving, which could be disastrous for your life.
What should you do? Firstly, you must be aware of all the symptoms and reasons for wheel assembly failure and get it repaired as soon as possible.
Symptoms Of A Wrecked Wheel Bearing
The symptoms of a broken wheel bearing are quite simple: You can easily hear a grinding noise until you are driving fast enough that road noise covers it. The noise specifies metal-on-metal rubbing at a fast rate and comes from the broken down bearings scraping against their cover and, even worse, the wheel hub around them.
If there is a problem in the front hub bearings, it will cause noise that will get worse with a change in pitch when you turn the steering wheel.
Why do wheel bearings fail?
The most common reasons for the failure of a wheel bearing are:
Imperfect installation – Wrong tools like a hammer or an impact wrench can cause harm to the exterior or interior of the wheel end bearing, which can prematurely fail the wheel bearing.
Also, when you use the old accessories like bolts, nuts, circlips, split pins, seals, etc., in spite of replacing them with new ones, it can make the wheel end bearing work under unusual or unsafe conditions, increasing wear and risk of a car accident.
Impact damage due to poor road quality – When you drive through a pothole, speed bumps, or hitting the curbstone- all these impacts can damage a wheel bearing and affect its lifespan.
Low-quality wheel bearing – The wheel bearing stays continuously under huge pressure. Wheel bearings manufactured with low-quality materials can have poor heat conduction, which results in early wear and failure.
Driving conditions – When you drive through deep water or mud, it can make your wheel bearings stop working. Mud, water, and other types of dirt, like dust or road salt, could get behind the seals and enter the bearing, making the grease polluted and wear away the bearings.
Car Modification – If you fix bigger or wider rims, tires with lower thread walls, stiffer impact absorbers, and suspension springs, it can cause more loads on the wheel bearing and expedite wear. Always choose use of rims, tires, shock absorbers, and springs that are suggested by the car manufacturer to reduce the impact on the durability of the wheel bearings.
Risks of driving with damaged wheel bearings
It is very unusual for wheel bearings to fail instantly and completely after you observe the first symptom. It will be best if you avoid driving with a damaged wheel bearing for any span of time. As you are already aware, the wheel bearing is an essential part of connecting your wheel to your car, and any fault in this connection could have cruel consequences for your drive-axle and steering assembly and can be harmful to your drive as well.
How to replace your wheel bearings?
Although those advanced wheel bearings are easier to install than earlier generations- still, accurate installation, the usage of proper tools, and maintaining the specific torque values are necessary for optimal performance, durability, and safety. Hence, it is recommended to get your wheel bearings fixed by a professional mechanic that has all the essential skills and tools to do the job perfectly.
Failure of a wheel bearing can be avoided by noticing the first symptoms. Don’t ignore any metal rubbing noise, as it can completely damage this often-ignored wheel component. When you are aware of these signs and symptoms, it will surely help to avoid many potentially dangerous situations.
At Batemans Bay Tyres and Autos., our qualified team members will inspect your wheel bearing thoroughly and provide necessary servicing and also replace it with a new high-quality bearing if required. Know more about our services from our website.
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