How To Know Wheel Bearing Is Bad


Welcome, Auto Enthusiasts! As car lovers, we understand the importance of maintaining our vehicles and ensuring they are in top shape. One crucial component that often gets overlooked is the wheel bearing. In this article, we will discuss how to identify if your wheel bearing is bad and the necessary steps to take. So, let’s dive in and learn more about this essential part of your car.

What is a Wheel Bearing?

???? A wheel bearing is a vital part of your car’s wheel assembly that allows the wheels to rotate smoothly. It consists of a set of steel balls or rollers enclosed within a metal ring and is located within the wheel hub assembly.

How To Know Wheel Bearing Is Bad - How to Diagnose a Bad Wheel Bearing
How to Diagnose a Bad Wheel Bearing

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???? The wheel bearing’s primary function is to support the weight of the vehicle and ensure the wheels spin freely with minimal friction.

???? Over time, wheel bearings can wear out due to constant use, heat, and debris, leading to potential issues that affect your car’s performance and safety.

Who Should Be Concerned?

???? Any car owner should be concerned about their wheel bearings. However, those who frequently drive long distances, encounter rough road conditions, or neglect regular maintenance are more likely to experience issues with their wheel bearings.

When to Suspect a Bad Wheel Bearing?

How To Know Wheel Bearing Is Bad - How to tell if you have a bad wheel bearing
How to tell if you have a bad wheel bearing

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???? It’s crucial to be vigilant and look out for potential signs of a bad wheel bearing. Here are some indicators that you should pay attention to:

1. Unusual Noise: A prominent symptom of a bad wheel bearing is a grinding, humming, or growling noise coming from the affected wheel area, especially when driving at higher speeds.

How To Know Wheel Bearing Is Bad - SYMPTOMS OF A BAD WHEEL BEARING

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2. Uneven Tire Wear: If you notice uneven tire wear, with one tire wearing out faster than the others, it may indicate a problem with the wheel bearing.

3. Steering Wheel Instability: A loose or vibrating steering wheel, or the feeling of your car pulling to one side, can be a sign of a failing wheel bearing.

4. Excessive Wheel Play: If you can feel excessive play or movement in the wheel when jacked up or while driving, it may indicate a bad wheel bearing.

5. ABS Light Activation: In some cases, a faulty wheel bearing can trigger the ABS warning light on your dashboard.

Where to Look for Bad Wheel Bearings?

???? Wheel bearings are located within the wheel hub assembly, which is found between the brake rotor and the axle shaft. To access the wheel bearings, you will need to remove the wheel, brakes, and rotor.

???? It’s essential to inspect both the front and rear wheel bearings, as they can both experience wear and require maintenance or replacement.

Why Should You Fix a Bad Wheel Bearing?

???? Ignoring a bad wheel bearing can have severe consequences. Here’s why you should address this issue promptly:

1. Safety: A failing wheel bearing can affect your car’s stability, handling, and braking performance, compromising your safety on the road.

2. Cost: Neglecting a bad wheel bearing can cause further damage to your car’s suspension and wheel assembly, resulting in more expensive repairs down the line.

3. Efficiency: A worn-out wheel bearing can increase the rolling resistance of the wheel, leading to reduced fuel efficiency and potential damage to other components.

How to Diagnose a Bad Wheel Bearing?

???? Diagnosing a bad wheel bearing requires careful inspection and the following steps:

1. Jack up the Vehicle: Lift the car using a jack and secure it with jack stands.

2. Check for Play: Grasp the tire at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions and attempt to rock it back and forth. Excessive play indicates a bad wheel bearing.

3. Listen for Noise: Spin the wheel by hand and listen for any grinding, humming, or growling noises that may indicate a faulty bearing.

4. Check for Roughness: Rotate the wheel and pay attention to the smoothness of the rotation. If it feels rough or gritty, it’s a sign of a bad wheel bearing.

5. Visual Inspection: Remove the wheel and inspect the wheel bearing for signs of damage, such as rust, wear, or pitting.

6. Seek Professional Help: If you are unsure or uncomfortable with the diagnosis, it’s best to consult a professional mechanic to avoid any further damage.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Bad Wheel Bearings


1. None


1. Reduced safety on the road.

2. Increased risk of further damage to the wheel assembly.

3. Compromised handling and braking performance.

4. Decreased fuel efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Q: Can I drive with a bad wheel bearing?

A: It is not recommended to drive with a bad wheel bearing as it can pose a safety risk and cause further damage to your vehicle.

2. Q: How long does a wheel bearing last?

A: The lifespan of a wheel bearing depends on various factors, such as driving conditions and maintenance. On average, they can last around 100,000 miles.

3. Q: Can a bad wheel bearing cause ABS light to come on?

A: Yes, a faulty wheel bearing can trigger the ABS warning light on your dashboard.

4. Q: Can I replace a wheel bearing myself?

A: While it is possible to replace a wheel bearing yourself, it requires specialized tools and knowledge. It is recommended to seek professional help for proper installation.

5. Q: How much does it cost to replace a wheel bearing?

A: The cost of replacing a wheel bearing varies depending on the vehicle make and model. On average, it can range from $150 to $400 per wheel.


In conclusion, recognizing the signs of a bad wheel bearing is crucial for maintaining the safety and performance of your vehicle. Regular inspections, prompt repairs, and professional assistance when needed are essential to ensure your wheel bearings are in optimal condition. Don’t ignore the warning signs, and take action to address any potential issues with your wheel bearings. By doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy a smoother and safer driving experience.

Final Remarks

???? The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not substitute professional advice. Always consult with a certified mechanic for accurate diagnosis and appropriate solutions for your specific vehicle.

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