Automotive Maintenance And Detailing


Automotive Maintenance And Detailing

What is wheel bearing on car ?.

Wheel bearings on car are essential parts that are installing on the hubs of the vehicles that use wheels for movement. Wheel bearings are responsible for reducing the friction of the parts that make up the hub assembly, such as the shaft, the hub housing.

Wheel bearings consist of a round metal insert and race. The metal beads move inside the race, has two pieces, outside and inside. The car’s driveshaft inserts into the hub assembly where the bearings are installed.  When the drive shaft rotates, the wheel bearings act on both the weight and rotational speed of the axle and wheels.

The wheel bearings are so strong and durable. You can drive for years, or until the car breaks down, the wheel bearings may still be in good condition. But it can also be damaged if you are driving harshly and without maintenance, such as driving a car on rough roads at speed. Driving a car without slowing down when hitting potholes or road bumpers can cause a lot of impact on the wheel bearings and can damage bearings and seals.

Checking and maintaining wheel bearings in a modern car is less necessary than the ones from 30-40 years ago. Old car wheel bearings need to check and grease the distance set by the manufacturer. But modern cars use wheel bearings that have been developing to provide waterproof and dirt-repellent seals inside. The wheel bearings are dirt-resistant, and the seals prevent internal lubricating grease from leaking out. Therefore, the only thing you have to be careful of is not to drive the car too violently and cause the wheel bearings to break.


Symptoms when wheel bearing is broke

A car that has broken wheel bearings or starts to break out can show many symptoms. You can check the first symptoms to be sure before taking the vehicle to a mechanic.

  1. Grinding noise. Wheel bearings that lack grease due to broken seals or subject to strong shocks are often cause grinding noises when the wheel is spinning. The sound produced is from the beads losing their spherical shape that it used to be, even breaking into halves. You can check it by listening to the sound when turning the car while running slowly.

The easy way to do wheel bearin noise diagnosis is to find an open road as you drive straight slowly, then turn the steering wheel to one side in a circular motion. If you’re wondering about the grinding sound of the front or back of the left wheel, try steering the car to the left and listen. If the sound becomes softer while turning left and becomes louder when turning right, the left wheel bearing is damaged. Do the opposite to check the right wheel.

  1. Wheels and steering wheel shake. You may feel the vibration of the steering wheel and the wheels of the car as the car moves. You must be aware that in a vehicle with this vibration, the wheel bearings may become more damaged. Continuing to drive without paying attention to repair can cause damage that the wheels fall off the hub while running. The cause of the wheel and steering wheel shakes are severe bearing damage. The bearing inside the race is deformed or broken until it cannot spin as it should.
  1. The wheel is loose. When the wheel is raised off the ground and moved with your hands, you will notice that the wheel can move back and forth, even though it should be firm. You can do the check yourself by using the car jack to lift the wheels off the ground. Then, use both hands to hold the wheel at the nine and three o’clock position while pulling and pushing. The wheel should not move when you use force to move. Try again, this time holding the wheel at the six and twelve o’clock positions. The wheel should not move either. Therefore, if the wheel can move, suspect that the wheel bearings may break.

However, the wheels may spin with excellent bearings if the bushings of the tie rod system or the ball joint are damaged. So you should make sure to look at all the parts behind the wheel.

  1. Wheel tread wears. Vehicles with damaged wheel bearings can cause the tire treads to wear abnormally. A damaged wheel bearing may cause the wheel angle to change. Changes in the angle degree of the wheels, such as the casters or the camber from the factory wheel alignment settings, it could cause the tread to contact the road surface unevenly. The tires may wear a lot on the inside or outside.

So you can see that apart from the wheel bearing, it damages other vehicle parts as well.

You should look for any malfunctions in your vehicle and perform a basic checking. If you are sure that the wheel bearing is broke, take the car to a mechanic immediately.

When should the wheel bearings be replaced?

A wheel hub and bearing of the modern car

Modern wheel bearings are durable parts. It is quite unlikely to be damaged if you use the vehicle properly according to the vehicle type. Each type of vehicle will use wheel bearings of the size and quality that are suitable for the use of that particular vehicle. Pickup trucks or larger trucks carrying heavy loads or towing weights often use big and robust wheel bearings.    That is because the engineers carefully calculate the load that has pressed on the wheel bearing.


Cars used in everyday life have wheel bearings that are much smaller than trucks and are moderately robust. You can drive without worrying about broken wheel bearings or having to change at a certain distance, just like changing the lubricant.


The wheel bearings will be broke when you exceed the limits of your vehicle, such as driving fast on rough roads, hitting the edge of the pavement, accelerating with free-spinning wheels, and so on.


So you can forget about changing the wheel bearings according to the distance. What you need to be aware of is to keep an eye on what is wrong with the wheels and have the car repaired immediately. The sooner you repair your vehicle back to normal condition, the less you pay.  It causes the damage can spread to other parts and cost you more.

How to repair wheel bearings?

A special tool for removing the wheel bearing race.

In modern cars, you cannot repair the broken wheel bearings. When the installed seal is distracted, the wheel bearing will be damaging due to grease seeping, and dirt will damage the bearing.

Repairing is to replace new bearings. Some vehicles may require the complete replacement of the wheel hub assembly. Some models only change the wheel bearings by pressing it out of the hub. You should check with the dealer of that car brand or a mechanic that how to fix it. That’s because it’s about the repair costs you have to pay.

You may repair it yourself at home if tools are available. You may not be able to use the conventional tools you have in the house to replace the wheel bearings, as they require a specific repair tool, a wheel bearing removal kit. However, you may use a repairing tool that can be replaced by yourself if it is the type of wheel hub with new bearings.

You don’t have to change wheel bearings on either side. Any wheel is broke, change that wheel only. Wheel bearings work unlike shock absorbers or coil springs of car suspensions system where you have to replace them on both sides to achieve the same deflection and stretch. The wheel bearings may only damage one of the wheels, so you don’t need to replace the other wheels’.

The price of the wheel bearing varies by model and size, ranging from five to a hundred dollars. As for the labor cost, you will need to check it from your local garage, but in most cases, it will cost the same as the bearing price, depending on the difficulty of replacing it.

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