Common Wheel Bearing FAQ’s
The most common symptom with wheel bearings is a loud noise that may be coming from the tire or the wheel of the vehicle. It usually sounds like metal grinding on metal and gets louder as the vehicle picks up speed. If you notice this noise, it is best to contact a mechanic immediately.
Another sign that the wheel bearing is going bad will be from the feeling of loose steering in your vehicle. This is characterized by excessive wobbling of the steering wheel. This creates a dangerous and unstable situation because the vehicle will be less responsive.
Finally, if you find your tires are wearing out faster than usual, this is a good indication that the wheel bearings are bad or missing. A bad wheel bearing will generally lead to uneven tire wear which will cause you to frequently replace the tires on your vehicle. You can save money and peace of mind by replacing the wheel bearing at the first sign of a problem.
It is not recommended that you drive your vehicle at all if a wheel bearing is missing. Unfortunately, the wheel can fall off entirely while the vehicle is in motion as the wheel bearing is an essential component in keeping the wheel attached to your car. Without it, there is nothing holding the wheel on to your vehicle.
This is a dangerous situation, especially at high speeds, where you can easily lose control of the car and the tire can cause an obstruction in the road.
Typical wheel bearings will cost over $500 to replace with the combination of parts and labor. However, wheel bearing replacement is usually done as part of a larger and more expensive repair, so the price reflected can be significantly lower than what you may expect to pay when fixing your vehicle.
If you have questions on the cost of parts, labor, or diagnostics on your vehicle, talk to the experts at Automotive Hospital for an affordable and comprehensive repair quote.
There are several causes for a wheel bearing to fail or start to go bad and none of them should be ignored!
- Faulty installation: Inappropriate tools can cause damage to the exterior and the interior of both the wheel and the bearing which can cause the bearing to fail prematurely. Re-using old accessories instead of replacing them with new ones can cause the wheel and the bearing to operate under abnormal or unsafe conditions.
- Poor road quality: Driving through potholes, over speedbumps, or hitting the curbstone can result in damage to a wheel bearing and reduce its overall lifespan.
- Poor quality wheel bearing: Your wheel bearings are continuously under a great deal of pressure. Wheel bearings made of low-quality materials can be poorly heat-treated and can result in quick wear and tear.
- Driving conditions: Driving your vehicle through deep water or mud can cause the wheel bearings to fail. Water, mud, and other contaminants can get past the seals and enter the bearing, which can pollute the grease and wear away the bearings.
- Car modification: Putting bigger or wider rims, tires, with lower thread walls, stiffer shock absorbers, and suspension springs will cause higher loads on your wheel bearing and will accelerate wear on them over time. Minimize impact by sticking to recommended parts by your manufacturer to increase the longevity of your wheel bearings.
Wheel bearings typically last 136,000-160,000 km, however, the actual lifespan of a wheel bearing is depending on the quality of the part and the handling of the vehicle, as well as the environment and conditions that the vehicle is driven in.
Typically, a wheel bearing can be replaced on a regular car, SUV, or truck within an hour or two. If the technician has the correct tools, parts, and life to get the job done, it should get done quickly. However, if there is damage to the hub of your vehicle, the repair can take longer to finish.
Automotive Hospital will offer an accurate estimate on the amount of time your repair will take and offer you a rental car during the repair so you can go about your usual routine.
There are two ways of looking at this—so the answer is both yes and no. If your vehicle has not reached the km that a wheel bearing typically goes out during, replacing just the bad wheel bearing should be just fine. However, if your car is getting up there in km and one is starting to go bad, the chances of the other one going bad are high as well, and we would suggest replacing both.
If you are not sure which route is the best for your car, bring it into Automotive Hospital and let a technician examine it and give their expert opinion on your repair and replacement parts.