Wheel bearing noise

Wheel Bearing Noise: Causes, Symptoms, and Fixes

“My car’s making a funny noise” is one of the more frequent complaints made to mechanics, thus, wheel bearing noise is one of them. A wheel bearing is probably to blame if your automobile has started generating a rumbling or grinding noise, the steering is shaky, or your tires are worn unevenly. The good news is that it can be fixed reasonably cheaply and easily at a garage, or if you know what you’re doing, you can even do it yourself.

Along with roller bearings, which lack the ability to adapt like ball bearings. ball bearings are the most popular form of wheel bearings used today. Other varieties include precise ball bearings made for high radial loads and tapered roller bearings, which are primarily used in trucks. The warning indicators are the same regardless of the kind of vehicle you drive, particularly a loud wheel-bearing noise.

Well, in this article, we’ll be discussing the causes, symptoms, signs, and replacement costs of a wheel-bearing noise. You’ll also learn how to fix this problem.

Wheel bearing noise

So, let’s dive in!


What is a wheel bearing?

A wheel bearing is a group of steel balls or rollers supported by a cage inside the hub assembly and is referred to as a “race.” A wheel hub is a hollow metal element that sits in the middle of your wheels. The axle shaft is made of metal, and the wheel bearings ride on it.

Wheels generate heat and friction as they rotate around these metal axles. Wheel bearings safeguard your wheels and tires by reducing heat and friction. Friction from a poor or worn bearing makes it harder for the wheel to roll effectively.

Causes of Wheel Bearing Noise

Wheel bearings themselves wear down over time, but the most common cause of wheel bearing failure is that the seals let grease, water, and grit in, harming the balls and tapers. Friction can never be completely avoided; it can only be lessened. A wheel bearing can fail more quickly if it is frequently driven in mud or water, and if it is replaced but the replacement bearing is not set precisely, this might result in premature wear.

Modern vehicles are adept at isolating noise, and since the issue typically develops gradually rather than suddenly failing, it might be challenging for a driver to notice. If you can hear it, it probably sounds like a grating, grinding, or rumbling those change with the pace of the road and are unaffected by blipping the throttle or dipping the clutch.

Additionally, due to the worn bearing causing the wheel to wobble, you can hear a clicking sound and even feel a tremor through the steering wheel. It’s time to get it corrected if you’re at this point because it will affect how the car handles.

You must jack the car up and spin each tire separately to determine which one is noisy in order to do a DIY diagnosis. In order to listen for clonks and movement, it is also worthwhile to rock the wheel up and down.

Signs of Wheel bearing noise

The most obvious sign of damage is noise, regardless of whether your car has ball bearings, roller bearings, or another form of wheel bearing. Wheel bearing noise falls under the category of one of the odd noises listed below:

Noise of Snapping or Clicking

Excessive bearing endplay is typically what makes a snapping or clicking sound coming from underneath your car. This noise is frequently audible when turning sharply or cornering at a modest speed. Remember that if your CV joint is injured, you can still hear this noise.

Thumping Or Knocking Noise

A loud wheel bearing is likely making a knocking noise because it isn’t rotating as easily as it should.

The sound of grinding or humming

A bad wheel bearing or a worn tire may be the source of the humming or grinding noise. It’s almost probably a faulty wheel bearing if the sound worsens and resembles a growling sound as the speed of the vehicle increases.

It can be difficult to distinguish between a tire noise and a faulty bearing noise because other car problems, such as tire corrosion, produce a similar sound.

Squealing & Growling

A faulty wheel bearing will typically make a cyclical chirping, squealing, or growling noise. If the sound fluctuates proportionally to the speed of the vehicle, this is another sign that it is caused by the wheel bearings. At any given moment, the sound could suddenly stop or it could get progressively worse.

Humming Noises

In order to prevent making a wrong diagnosis, it’s crucial to distinguish between the many sounds that a vehicle makes that are cause for concern. Noise can be deceiving; a humming sound while driving might be brought on by a number of different problems, beginning with your tires but also including the wheel bearing or CV joint.

Is it safe to drive with wheel bearing noise?

Driving while having a front or rear wheel bearing that is damaged is NOT safe. It wouldn’t be a good idea to drive your car because wheel bearing noise could indicate bearing issues.

It’s possible for you to lose a wheel while driving as a result of a failed wheel bearing, which could have fatal results. Therefore, have your car fixed right away if you suspect you hear a wheel bearing problem. Your security is at stake!

How do you fix wheel bearing problems?

Check a workshop manual or online guide for instructions if you wish to try fixing a loud wheel bearing yourself. In certain cases, especially on older cars, you may only need to lubricate the existing bearing and tighten it. If you need to replace any components, carefully consider your options before attempting it yourself because you’ll need some really powerful equipment to release seized nuts and press the bearing out.

It is also important to evaluate the costs of a wheel bearing kit and a whole hub assembly. It’s possible that replacing the entire hub will make more sense given the time and effort required to remove and replace only the bearings, especially if you’re paying for a mechanic’s labor.

The cost of parts will vary depending on a variety of circumstances, but you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that the same bearings may be utilized in a variety of vehicles. Online vendors are probably less expensive than a dealer or motor factor, but you should make sure they are reliable because it is alarmingly frequent for branded vehicle parts to be counterfeit.

Make sure you are getting the correct component as well. There is a dizzying variety of bearings, with variations occurring even within the same car model and production year.

How much does it cost to replace a wheel bearing?

Replacement wheel bearings typically cost $200 to $800. Wheel bearing replacement requires between $140 and $200 in labor costs and between $150 and $400 in parts.

With a clear mile threshold, that is a challenging question to answer. Wheel bearings are said to last the lifetime of the car, or up to 200,000 kilometers. On the other hand, some vehicles appear to need new wheel bearings every few years or so.

Related Article

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In conclusion, it’s critical for car owners to recognize signs of wheel-bearing noise, such as a humming or grinding sound emanating from the wheels. Taking immediate action to address these warning signs can stop further harm and guarantee safe driving. To protect the integrity and safety of your vehicle’s wheels and suspension, you must seek professional inspection and repair if you suspect wheel bearing issues.


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