Do You Need to Replace Your Transmission Bearings?
Bearings can be some of the most hard-working components in any vehicle. You may have noticed some issues and symptoms with your four-wheel-drive car or truck and are wondering whether you need to replace the bearings. What are some of the symptoms that might signify that this is needed?
One of the earliest symptoms associated with bearing failure (and specifically in the front of the vehicle) is a noisy drivetrain. If you can hear consistent whining or howling noises, it probably signifies that these bearings are becoming worn or may be drying out (in other words losing lubrication). In severe cases, you will begin to hear grinding noises. The volume of these noises will increase as you speed up.
Vibration When Accelerating
Secondly, you may notice excessive vibration coming from the drivetrain. This is because when a bearing starts to break down it will lose its efficiency. As its main objective is to stop the output shaft from wobbling the consequence will be uneven rotation and excessive vibration. You will normally notice this sensation when the car is accelerating. Don't be surprised if you hear whining or grinding noises as well.
Transfer Case Oil Leakage
A third symptom associated with potential output shaft bearing failure is oil leakage. This is because the bearing has two functions. In addition to supporting the output shaft itself it also seals the transfer case and stops the oil from escaping. Consequently, when the bearing becomes faulty gear oil can leak. This is a more urgent problem as if the transfer case loses too much lubricant the entire transmission system can fail.
Never Overlook the Bearings
Manufacturers design the various transmission bearings on your vehicle in order to last for many years. As a consequence, they are not considered to be components that are subject to routine maintenance whenever you take your car into the service bay. Yet these bearings are key components when it comes to the proper operation of the transmission generally and the transfer case specifically. A failure of a single bearing can cause significant issues with the car's drivetrain.
Replace All at the Same Time
If you find that one of your bearings is failing and needs to be replaced it is a good idea to replace all the bearings as part of a gearbox bearing kit. It's likely that if one is showing signs of age then the others cannot be far behind. It is best if all four output shafts are operating as efficiently as each other for optimum balance and this can only be achieved if the components are of the same age.