Signs of a Bad Wheel Bearing​

No matter what kind of car you drive, all of your wheels contain wheel bearings, which are important for your vehicle’s braking and suspension systems. Additionally, your front wheel bearings are what allow you to steer your vehicle. Given the important function of your wheel bearings, it is important to ensure that they are all in good working condition and don’t go bad. If you notice a wheel bearing going bad, get to a mechanic right away to resolve the issue and ensure the safety of your vehicle. You can easily book wheel bearing services through CarAdvise and be guaranteed to pay less than retail price! Learn more and sign up today.

But what are signs that you may have a bad wheel bearing? Let’s take a look at the common issues that signal a problem with your wheel bearings.

1) Grinding, groaning, or rumbling sound from your wheels or tires

A telltale sign of worn wheel bearings is out-of-place noises coming from your wheels or tires that seem to get louder as you increase your speed. You may also hear a clicking noise when turning. If these noises change when changing between road surfaces, then this is likely a tire issue, not a wheel bearing issue. However, if these noises persist regardless of your driving surface, then it’s time to get your wheel bearings checked out by a professional.

2) Loose car handling

If you’ve been driving your car for a while, you will notice if it starts to handle sloppier or more loose. It may start to feel like your wheels aren’t secured tightly. These are signs of a bad wheel bearing. Excess wear on a wheel bearing will allow more space in between the parts surrounding the bearing, producing that loose drive feel.

3) Wobbling or vibrating steering wheel

Your front wheel bearings control your car’s steering, so any excessive wear on them will be felt through your steering wheel. The vibrating will usually start off subtle and then gradually increase as the wear gets worse. Get your front wheel bearings checked out as soon as you notice vibrations in your steering wheel.

4) Car pulls to one side

This is an especially dangerous issue and requires maintenance right away. You don’t want your vehicle suddenly pulling away from you at random and relinquishing your control of the vehicle. In most cases, this is due to bad wheel bearings.

5) Uneven tire wear

If your wheel bearings are in bad shape, it’s likely your tires will be as well. Normal tire wear is to be expected, but if you notice that the tire wear is seriously uneven, it’s time to get your wheel bearings replaced.

6) Wheel starts to smoke

If you ignore all the previous signs of a bad wheel bearing, you will eventually have to deal with smoking wheels. Smoking wheels are typically the result of a wheel bearing grinding out so badly that the resulting heat sets fire to the grease inside. Of course, this can be quite dangerous and if you ever get to this point, stop driving and get your car to a mechanic right away.

7) Wheel comes off the vehicle

The end result of ignoring the signs of a bad wheel bearing or delaying maintenance is a fallen wheel. This makes your vehicle not drivable and will likely cost a significant amount of money to repair. As long as you keep a lookout for the other signs of bad wheel bearings and stay proactive in your regular vehicle maintenance, you won’t have to deal with such a fate.