Bad Wheel Bearing Symptoms

Bad Wheel Bearing Symptoms

Wheel Bearing is one of the most important parts of any vehicle. If you own a vehicle, you need to be extra careful when it comes to maintenance of your vehicle. Of all the parts of the machinery, you need to take a special care of the wheel bearing as failing this may risk your life.

However, as far as the malfunction of a wheel bearing is concerned, this is yet another crucial stage. Yes! This is a tricky thing because when your vehicle has a bad wheel bearing, the sound comes from the vehicle but it is difficult to tell where is the exact origin of the noise.

However, do not fret! Here you can go through the symptoms of a bad wheel bearing for each of the front and rear wheels separately. Also, you will be enlightened about how to diagnose the origin of the noise, whether it is any of the front wheels or the rear wheels.

Bad Wheel Bearing Symptoms

Bad front wheel bearing symptoms:

Here, you can find all the symptoms to look for when it comes to a bad wheel bearing in the front wheels. This will help you to take appropriate measures and to call for professional help:

» Your Rotor and Brake pad is wearing down:

When the front wheel bearing wears off a lot after excessive usage, you feel that the brake pad and rotor wears off. This basically leads to the wear and tear of the bearing of the front wheel. However, it is also attributed to a poor calliper and brake equalizer. In case, it is due to a bad wheel bearing, you need to take immediate action so as to avoid some serious consequences.

» Your vehicle has a humming, growling or rumbling noise:

Typically, your vehicle will give out such sounds when it is having some electrical or tyre-related problem. However, it may be due to bad front wheel bearing. Yes! You need to be careful while following the side from which the noise is coming. If you think that the noise is coming from the left side, it means that the right-side front wheel bearing is not working well and vice versa. In addition, you may feel a vibration when you are driving straight or even turning on the either sides.

» There is a grinding machine within your vehicle:

Well! This may sound funny but this is for sure that if you feel something is grinding within your vehicle machinery, the front wheel bearing is not in a good condition. This mainly points to the damage in the rollers of the bearing. Therefore, this is the time when you consult some expert to check your vehicle. They are in the best position to advise how to go about it as far as technical aspect is concerned.

» Your vehicle is set on a vibration:

Yes! While you are driving and attain a constant speed, especially on a long drive or a highway and suddenly, you feel like your vehicle is set to be on a vibration mode, it clearly indicates that the wheel bearing of your car is damaged. More precisely, this is the front wheel bearing which is not feeling well. This is a point of concern for you as it may expose you to a potential accident especially when you are a frequent driver.

» The tire is wearing off abnormally:

Well! Besides many other reasons like inflation, damaged suspension, disturbed alignment of tires and many others, the tires of your vehicle are likely to wear off abnormally if the front wheel bearing is in a bad shape. In this condition, you need to be very proactive and try to figure out what exactly is wrong with your vehicle.

Bad rear wheel bearing symptoms:

Now come the symptoms of a bad wheel bearing in any of the rear wheels of your vehicle. Yes! It is equally important to know how you can identify that the rear wheel has a torn and damaged bearing. So, here we go!

» Your vehicle is pulling itself on one side:

This happens especially when you apply brakes, you feel like your vehicle is being pulled towards any one side. Although it may be due to other reasons but mostly the motor mechanics attribute it to the rear wheel bearing not working perfectly. This may prove extremely dangerous especially if it happens during a long drive or in the rush hours.

» You can hear the snapping and clicking noise:

If your vehicle has got some problem with the bearing of the rear wheel, it shows up very clearly when you can hear a clear noise of snapping and popping. This may also happen as a result of loose clamping. You will get to hear this noise more often during cornering or when you take a sharp turn. Therefore, it is important to stay safe. You need to drive slowly, especially when you are turning your vehicle.

» Your vehicle experiences an ABS Failure:

Yes! This may happen in some extreme situations. As the internal and external sensors get damaged due to excessive movement, the clamps of the bearing may loosen up a bit. As a result, the bearing of the rear wheels of your vehicle may also have gotten a mechanical damage.

» The Wheels are on the vibration mode:

This is not as funny as it may sound. Yes! This is also one of the most serious situations where besides the misalignment and other tire-related reasons, the wheels may be experiencing this as a result of extreme mechanical damage. Moreover, the wheel also vibrates in case of poor clamping and loose screws as if the lug nuts are not screwed properly.

Diagnosing the Noise coming from which wheel:

Now, here comes the tricky part. Yes! As the noise appears to be traveling througout your vehicle when it has a bad wheel bearing, it is a bit difficult to trace its origin. However, you need to understand the mechanics at least to some extent before you go ahead to know how to follow the noise of a bad wheel bearing.

So, the wheel bearings come in pairs; the outer bearing s and the internal bearings. This allows you to turn your car multiple times over the years. If you have a closer look, the wheel bearings are heavily greased so that the friction is minimum between the bearing and the spindle which holds the bearings.

In addition, you will observe that the wheel bearing has a cover in the form of hub and the brake disk or in some cases, the brake drum. But as the bearings are coated with grease, it gets covered with dust and dirt over the years, which increases the friction and hence the bearing wears and tears quickly.

Now you can go through the process of diagnosing the origin of the noise. Yes, there is not much difference in the process of diagnosis of the front wheels and rear wheels. But the catch is that you can do without opening up the entire internal mechanism of the vehicle or even without taking off the wheels. So, here we go!

You need to look underneath your vehicle. For that matter, you will have to park it somewhere on a higher level. Alternatively, lift it up with the help of the jack. Be careful if you are using the jack, as you might need extra support to keep it stable while you are working on the vehicle.

You do not need to get under the vehicle. However, you will hold the tires one by one and rock them to check how they move.

While you are trying to rock the wheels, the tire should not move a lot. This will indicate if the wheel bearing is working well or not. Yes! If you observe even a little more than the standard play in the wheel, it means that the wheel bearing is torn and is in a bad condition.

As you are checking the play in the wheels, you will have the help of another person who will handle the gear position. Yes! The gear should be completely Neutral all this time. In case of automatic gear, he will just make the gearshift. If you have manual gear in your vehicle, make sure that your vehicle is out of gear.

When you will rotate the wheels one by one, you need to listen to the movement carefully. Yes! If you hear some unusual noise like clucking, knocking, popping or anything which sounds unusual, you must have an idea that the wheel bearing is not in the perfect condition.

Even if you notice a slight friction or roughness during the rotation of the wheel, it indicates that you really need to worry about the wheel bearing of your vehicle.

This is all you can do to diagnose a bad wheel bearing. Yes! Now you can put your manual gear transmission to gear or switch to the Park gear in case of your automatic gear transmission.



You will look out for these symptoms, as soon as you feel any unusual noise in your vehicle while you are on the move. Following the sounds will help you to decide which exact wheel bearing is having the issues and you can take the next steps to fix that one accordingly. So, all you have to do is to keep these points in your mind to check for the bad wheel bearing in your vehicle.

Read to More about the repacking of wheel bearing.

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