Why You Should Replace Bad Wheel Bearings As Soon As Possible
All things being equal, the wheel bearings on your car should last for five or six years. If you are an average driver and take care behind the wheel, avoiding as many potholes as possible and sticking to a sealed surface, you should not encounter any issues with these parts along the way. Yet sometimes these components will begin to fail, and if they do, you'll want to take action as soon as possible. What can cause wheel bearings to play up, and what are some of the tell-tale signs?
Bearing at Work
A wheel bearing is, essentially, the interface between a static and a moving object. It sits on the end of the wheel hub and allows the wheel to rotate while affixed to the suspension upright. Each bearing is self-contained and features, within the outer casing, a mass of tiny roller bearings swimming in a sea of grease. This part can put up with a tremendous amount of wear and tear and a significant amount of heat as well, but it needs to be carefully attached with the right tools if it is to be fully effective.
If you drive along very rough roads on a frequent basis, then you may cause damage to the wheel bearings (as well as many other parts). Don't be surprised, therefore, if these bearings start to deteriorate earlier than they should. When they do, you will hear or feel the difference.
Listen out for a rhythmic knocking noise as you steer your vehicle around a corner. This noise may grow into a low-pitched rumble and may get worse as you increase the speed of the vehicle. Eventually, you will begin to feel the vibration through the steering wheel, and it may be difficult to keep the car or truck in a straight line as well. The issue may affect your brakes, too, as the ABS sensor is in close proximity to the bearing.
If you suspect that your wheel bearings are bad, you need to make an appointment to see a repair specialist as soon as possible. While it's rather unusual, a bad bearing may shear altogether, and if it does so, the entire wheel assembly may come away with catastrophic consequences.
Into the Shop
Remember, this is not a DIY job as you will need special tools in order to remove and replace each bearing. This is why it's best if you leave it to a competent mechanic instead.
To learn more, contact a shop that does mechanical repairs.