As your car ages, you’ll start to notice that it makes some unusual sounds. Some are harmless, but others might indicate that one of your car parts needs changing. Now, if it's a loud sound coming from your wheels, it might be a sign of a faulty wheel bearing!
Regardless of the exact reason for the sound, it’s always a good idea to take it to the workshop immediately. That way, you can rule out any significant problems that could put you and your vehicle at risk.
What will this article cover?
In this article, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about wheel bearings.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is a wheel bearing?
- What are the signs that a wheel bearing needs replacement?
- How do you choose the best wheel bearings for your vehicle?
Let’s get started!
What is a wheel bearing?
Let’s start with the basics. What on earth is a wheel bearing?
You see, on each of your wheels, there’s a car part called a wheel bearing. It works the same way as any other bearing that you might find on different machines, like the washing machine you have at home. Simply put, the bearing helps to reduce friction and allows your wheels to spin smoothly. Of course, the wheel bearings you have in your car work excellently for automotive use, so you can’t replace it with the one from the washing machine!
Here’s how the wheel bearing is constructed. It consists of a set of steel ball bearings that are held together by a metal ring. The wheel bearing then fits into a hollow piece of metal called a hub which is mounted on your car’s axle shaft.
If you feel confused, don’t worry! All you need to know is that a wheel bearing and a wheel bearing hub are two different things. Remember: (1) the wheel bearing goes into the hub, and (2) the hub then goes onto the axle.
Automotive wheel bearings fall into a few different types. Some are the best wheel bearings for fast-moving cars since they can handle moving at higher speeds. Others can handle higher weight loads, so they’re better for bigger and heavier vehicles.
What are the signs that a wheel bearing needs replacement?
Just like any other part of your car, wheel bearings will eventually get faulty and require a replacement. You’ll know it's time to do that when you start to hear a loud noise coming from one of your wheels. Some people would describe the sound as a humming or rumbling noise. When you listen to it closely, you may notice that it sounds like a grating noise of metal rubbing against metal. As you might imagine, that’s not a good thing!
Other signs of bad wheel bearings include ‘pulling’, or when you feel like the car is trying to go its own way. As a result, you might feel like you have to put extra effort into keeping your steering wheel straight.
If you notice these signs, don’t delay! Get your car to the workshop as soon as possible, so a trained mechanic can troubleshoot the problem.
If your mechanic tells you that it’s a wheel bearing problem, you’ll need to decide on a replacement wall bearing.
How do you choose the best wheel bearings for your vehicle?
Is every wheel bearing made the same? Most definitely not. Here are a few things you should consider when choosing new wheel bearings for your car.
Car Make and Model
The first things to consider are your car’s make and model. Why does this matter? It’s because the manufacturer would have already determined the best type of wheel bearing for your car. The manufacturer’s recommendation will take into account your car’s maximum speed and weight. This information should be available in your car owner’s manual. If not, a quick Google search should show the best type of wheel bearings suited for your car.
Type of Wheel Bearing
Bear in mind that there are many types of wheel bearings for different vehicles from ball bearings to tapered roller bearings. For example, a roller bearing is much better for heavier vehicles, as it can handle larger loads. On the other hand, ball thrust bearings work well for only light cars that don’t go very fast. As you might imagine, quicker or heavier vehicles will need the right type of wheel bearings to fit their needs.
Corrosion resistance is critical. The chances are that you’re having wheel bearing problems because they’ve corroded over time. So, you need to pick a replacement that can offer you excellent corrosion resistance. That way, you won’t run into this problem again for a considerable time.
The wheel bearing’s ability to conduct heat is also another crucial factor. Remember: most moving parts in cars generate heat, and that heat needs to stay at a safe level. The same is valid with wheel bearings as well. That’s because the wheel bearings generate a lot of friction internally. If the wheel bearing is made of materials with better thermal conductivity, this won’t be a problem. So, be sure to choose wheel bearings that offer superior thermal conductivity to prevent future problems.
Some car parts require frequent changing, but wheel bearings aren’t one of them. They don’t fail or become faulty very often. So, if this problem does happen to you, try not to get too frustrated. This is a rare issue, so once the wheel bearings are replaced, you won’t have to worry about them for a very long time.
To find out more about car parts and how they work, check out the Blog at Carpart.com.au. There, you’ll find loads of highly informative articles on car parts and how they function. The more time you spend there, the more informed you become as a car owner! Also, if you need wheel bearings, car wheel parts, and other car parts, please don’t hesitate to ask for a quote through our auto parts finder!
By Ray Hasbollah