Likely, you’ve never given much thought to how your tires work. The tires under your car help you get from point A to B. A car wheel has many components, and one of the most important ones is the wheel bearing. It is beneficial to understand what a wheel bearing is and what pitfalls can lead to wheel taking the loss to prevent rotation bearing failure. This guide will teach you the reasons and symptoms of the broken wheel bearing.
Wheel bearings are made up of several steel balls connected by a metal ring. The ring sits snugly in the middle of the hub. Lubrication is required for wheel bearings, with a seal keeping the grease within the approach. Furthermore, the seal acts as a barrier against dirt and debris that would otherwise cause corrosion. It is essential for the durability of the wheel bearing.
The wheel bearing allows the wheel to spin quickly without too much friction. Additionally, they carry the car’s weight, which can amount to over 4,000 pounds. If you take care of your wheel bearing and your car in general, a good wheel bearing made of high-quality steel should last 100,000 miles or more.
5 common reasons for broken wheel bearings
1. Driving in deep water
Although the seal is there to protect against dirt, debris, and water, large quantities of water putting pressure on it can damage it. It is possible to allow water to enter a wheel bearing when driving in hub deep or higher water.
The lubricant will become contaminated, resulting in wheel bearing failure. As a result, passenger side wheel bearings tend to wear out more quickly, as they spend more time in standing water in the gutter when the car is parked. If you drove through flooded roads or puddles, you should have your wheel bearings checked.
2. Insufficient Road Conditions
If you consistently drive on bumpy, dirt, salty, or potholed roads, your wheel bearings will suffer. The wheel bearings support your entire vehicle while ensuring that your wheels continue to spin as required. During everyday driving, we put a lot of strain on these bearings. This is especially true when we experience bumps in the road.
In addition, salt and dirt can also pose a danger. As a result, salt will wear out your seals, allowing dirt to enter the wheel bearings. To prevent excessive friction, these contaminants can compromise the lubricant. When this happens, wheel bearings will eventually fail. If you consistently drive in poor road conditions, you will need to have your wheel bearings checked sooner than the average driver.
3. An unbalanced tire
For many reasons, you should have your tires balanced regularly. One of those reasons is to prevent damage to your wheel bearings. If your wheels are not balanced properly, you will place uneven strain on the wheel bearings, resulting in them working much harder and wearing out faster.
4. Heavy Loads
Your wheel bearings will wear out more quickly when you haul heavy loads. Trailers are another wheel bearing that is often overlooked. Therefore, make sure to have those wheel bearings checked with your vehicle. If your car is consistently weighed down, you will need to frequently replace your wheel bearings.
5. Poor Installation
One of the most common causes of broken wheel bearing is improper installation. Mechanics can cause this issue by negligently installing wheel bearings or failing to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Poor quality bearings can also cause this issue. When using a low-quality wheel bearing, premature wear and possible failure can result from mixing hard and soft metal, resulting in spalling. The approach peels off in flakes when it wears down enough that the soft metal underneath is exposed.
Immediately take your car back to your mechanic if you are still experiencing issues after having your wheel bearings installed or repaired. You must hire a mechanic you can trust to do an excellent job to avoid this inconvenient and unsafe situation.
Signs of broken wheel bearing
Different wheel hub bearings exhibit other signs of wear. Some may be difficult to detect, resulting in damage before taking corrective action. A driver’s driving conditions and the mechanical practices at the installation determine when damage occurs. It is a classic sign when there is noise from a wheel or hub bearing. Here are some indicators of a worn wheel hub bearing or other damage to a wheel end:
Clicking, snapping or popping
Damaged outer CV joints may cause these symptoms. Nevertheless, excessive bearing endplay can also cause this problem, usually due to inadequate clamping. When making sharp turns or cornering, the noise is typically audible.
When in motion, it sounds like grinding
In most cases, this indicates mechanical damage to the wheel-end assembly. An integrity loss occurs when a roller or raceway is damaged in a bearing. When the load shifts or the machine turns, the noise usually occurs.
Clunking or knocking.
Excessive play in the CV-joints or U-joints can cause this. Differential gears with extreme backlash can also lead to this problem. Usually heard when changing directions, such as shifting from forward to reverse or transitioning from accelerating to coasting, it is not generally associated with bearings.
Humor, growling, or rumbling
Typically, these sounds are caused by tires, electrical systems, or drivetrain components. Bearing-related noises or vibrations occur when driving in a straight line but increase when you turn the steering wheel slightly to the left or right. A defective bearing is typically located on the opposite side.
The vibration of the wheel.
Damaged or worn tires, wheels, suspension components, and misaligned chassis typically cause this. Usually, this indicates a clamp or bearing with extreme mechanical damage related to the hub or bearing. Sometimes, it can also be caused by improperly tightened lug nuts.
A constant shudder or shimmy.
Out-of-round or unbalanced tires are commonly associated with worn or damaged suspension components. Hub or bearing damage is not commonly associated with them.
Risks of driving with bad wheel bearings
It is scarce for wheel bearings to fail entirely and immediately after you notice the first symptoms.
Nevertheless, it is better to avoid driving with a worn wheel bearing for as long as possible. Having already seen, wheel bearings are crucial to connecting your reel with your car, and any weakening of this connection could result in severe problems for your steering, drive-axle, and suspension.
Can you drive with a broken wheel bearing?
Driving with a broken wheel bearing is not recommended and can be dangerous. A wheel bearing is an important component of a vehicle’s suspension system that helps support the weight of the vehicle and allows the wheels to spin smoothly. If a wheel bearing is damaged or worn, it can cause a variety of problems, including vibrations, uneven tire wear, and handling issues. In extreme cases, it can even cause the wheel to separate from the vehicle while driving, leading to a potentially catastrophic accident.
It is important to have a damaged or worn wheel bearing inspected and repaired by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible. Continuing to drive with a broken wheel bearing can put undue stress on other parts of the suspension system, leading to further damage and costly repairs. Additionally, driving with a broken wheel bearing can compromise the safety of the vehicle, putting the driver, passengers, and other road users at risk.