How do you know when a wheel bearing is going bad?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by RU482, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. RU482

    RU482 Lifer

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    Curious. My car seems to have more road noise than it used to. The tires only have ~10k on them. Any ideas?
     
  2. T2urtle

    T2urtle Diamond Member

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    wheel bearing normally makes a HUMMING noise at a certain speed and louder as you go faster.

    Wheel bearing could also make that wheel wobble as well.
     
  3. RU482

    RU482 Lifer

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    Beyond hearing or feeling it, if I jack the car up, how easy is it to spin a wheel and determine?? Or does it require the weight of the vehicle to reveal itself?
     
  4. alkalinetaupehat

    alkalinetaupehat Senior member

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    I had a bearing which was utterly shot and I found out when I was getting new tires and the mechanic could wobble the wheel back and forth quite a bit. Road noise was louder, but not in a shot-bearing kind of way.
     
  5. iamwiz82

    iamwiz82 Lifer

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    Spinning doesn't tell you anything as the brake will drag a hair.

    To test, jack the car up and then hold the tire from the top and bottom and then wobble it. If you have play then you have a bad wheel bearing.
     
  6. Gillbot

    Gillbot Lifer

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    if you hear a howling/growling, it's too late. Usually to check bearings, you need to get the car up in the air and do a deflection check and verify preloads with a torque wrench.

    Here is a place for good info: http://www.timken.com/en-us/so...ive/Pages/default.aspx
     
  7. T2urtle

    T2urtle Diamond Member

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    There is no point if its late or not. Your going to have to replace it one way or another. If it makes a noise its a clear sign. If you tested it with the wobble and found it bad your still going to have to replace it.

    Its either bad or not, if there is slight play then its going to be broken.
     
  8. Gillbot

    Gillbot Lifer

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    the point being, if it's growling there may be further damage other than the bearing. That's why it's "too late".
     
  9. nakedfrog

    nakedfrog Lifer

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    When mine went bad, I didn't really notice the noise until I was at highway speeds (at first). It was very rhythmic.
     
  10. 69Mach1

    69Mach1 Senior member

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    Depends on what car you're talking about. Front wheel drives are harder to detect than rear wheel drives on the front wheel, and the opposite on rear wheels. I've had several on the front end that didn't make any noise but pulled the scar in that direction, and felt loose in steering. I've had a couple of rear bearings on RWD cars that didn't make noise, and were only found when I was servicing the brakes. If you have any doubt, especially on the front wheels, change them, failure at highway speeds could be deadly. If you are able to do the work yourself the bearing shouldn't be too expensive. But in the end, what is your life worth?
     
  11. helpme

    helpme Diamond Member

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    Mine only made noise when they were loaded (off the gas, fwd), and turning after driving a few miles. It was a terrible noise though :D. I replaced the hub and bearing together anyway, but the hub looked fine.