Wheel bearings reduce friction and create a smooth ride for your car as the wheels rotate. Rolling within two circular metal tracks or “races” inside the wheel, these round steel balls support the weight of the car in motion. Basically, wheel bearings are what allow the car to roll, and any wheel bearing damage can significantly impact how your car drives. Diagnosing wheel hub and bearing damage is critically important to auto safety. A damaged or missing bearing can cause excess wear on the tires or even cause the wheel to fall off entirely when the car is in motion. Not good.
So how do you know if your wheel hub and bearings are worn or damaged? There are several classic signs of damage to your wheel bearings that warrant an immediate trip to the shop.
Noise:There is a distinct wheel hub bearing noise. The classic sign of a wheel bearing gone bad is loud noise emanating from the wheel. It will sound like metal grinding and typically gets louder as the car accelerates. If you notice noise from the wheel that seems like it grows louder as the car goes faster, take the car in to your mechanic immediately. The noise may sound like grating, squealing, chirping, humming, or knocking, but it will usually sound “cyclical,” as if it is related to rotation and changes in speed. Any constant or cyclical loud sound from your car requires a visit to the mechanic. Loud wheel bearing sounds are usually hard to ignore.
Loose steering: This is one of those “you know it when you feel it” symptoms. When you’re driving your car and the steering feels less responsive, like there is a delay between moving the steering wheel and the car changing direction, or the steering wheel itself feels less “catchy,” the wheel bearings may be worn or damaged.
Uneven wear on the tires:Another less obvious symptom of wheel bearing damage is uneven wear appearing on your car tires. If your tires are worn in a noticeably uneven way, even if you’ve been keeping up with having the tires rotated, you may have a wheel bearing or hub problem.
Pulling: That sensation that the car is arguing with you about which direction it should go, or if you find yourself imposing frequent course corrections, may indicate a problem with the hub or bearings.
your car is suffering any of these symptoms, take it in for a checkup. Diagnosing wheel bearing noises and other symptoms requires the expertise of a car mechanic. If your mechanic diagnoses wheel hub and bearing damage severe enough to warrant wheel replacements, you will find what you need at WheelerShip. We carry everything from 2004 Acura TL rims to wheels for recent model year Hondas and most other domestic models and imports.