Wheel bearings are a crucial component in the operation of any vehicle, providing friction-free movement and rotation of the hub assembly, and thereby ensuring smooth rotation of the wheels. Without wheel bearings, your wheels simply wouldn’t work and yet, when a vehicle begins to show signs that something is wrong, these small but critical components are often overlooked. Like all parts under daily stress, wheel bearings may begin to wear out, but luckily, there are a few distinct signs that point to this particular problem.
Grinding or Grating Noise
One of the most common and easily identifiable signs that your wheel bearings need to be replaced is if you hear a loud grinding or grating noise from the wheel or tyre area of the moving vehicle. The noise should get louder as the vehicle accelerates because the excess heat causes the lubrication of the bearing to wear out, resulting in metal-on-metal friction.
When a wheel bearing wears, it loses its smooth exterior and becomes pitted, causing vibration. The vibration is transmitted into the tyres and can make the car feel ‘loose’ or less responsive, particularly when steering. When braking, the tyres may feel like they are ‘pulling’ to one side and you may even experience noticeable vibration or wobbling in the steering wheel.
Uneven Tyre Wear
Tyres wear down for many reasons, but it can also be a sure sign that your wheel bearings are starting to fail, particularly if the tyre wear is uneven. When wheel bearings are worn, they become loose, resulting in a wheel that wobbles when it moves. Even the slightest movement can cause a tyre to wear down abnormally, which is why it’s important to rotate your tyres periodically.
These signs could also be the result of a far bigger problem within the vehicle, but if you notice them, it’s always worth keeping the wheel bearings in mind as the possible culprit. Make sure you have a professional determine the cause of the problem and if it happens that you need to replace your bearings, always invest in a quality brand from a reputable supplier. For any information regarding the most suitable bearings for wheels, contact the helpful team at Bearing Centre today.