A car with a damaged wheel bearing is a hazard. If your car starts making a rumbling or grinding noise, the steering is wobbling or your tires are wearing unevenly, it’s likely that a wheel bearing is to blame.

The good news is that fixing wheel bearing noise is relatively inexpensive and easy for a garage or home. It is also possible to do a DIY project, but that would require some basic mechanical skills and experience.

Causes of Wheel Bearing Noise

There are a number of reasons why a wheel bearing could start making noise.

Wheel bearing noise is caused by excessive play in the bearing. The bearing can become loose or worn over time. The grease will eventually leak out and dirt and grit will find its way inside.

It is possible for the noise to be intermittent, depending on the road speed and load on the bearing. This can make it difficult to diagnose and may be the cause of why it was not noticed at the service or MOT.

Here are 5 causes of wheel bearing noise.

  1. Improper Installation
  2. Bad Driving Conditions
  3. Uneven Roads
  4. Imbalanced Tires
  5. Accidents

 

Below, we will discuss the causes of noisy wheel bearing and how to avoid them.

1. Improper Installation

If the wheel bearing was installed improperly, the axle could be bent or the wheel bearing may be too loose. The bearing should be installed so that the shaft is straight.

The bearing should be tightened until it is just snug, not tight. The grease should be evenly distributed and the seal should be fitted correctly. If the bearing is installed too tightly, it will rub on the axle.

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If the bearing is installed too loosely, it will wear unevenly. The axle will rub against the bearing.

How to avoid this:

If you have an uneven bearing, it is best to replace the wheel bearing and axle assembly.

A bearing should be tightened using a hand ratchet or a bearing puller. The nut should be tightened until it is snug, not tight.

The wheel bearing should be checked after every trip or at least every 100 miles.

2. Bad Driving Conditions

If your car is driven in poor conditions, the bearings can get damaged. For example, if the wheels are being driven on rough roads or in dusty conditions, the bearings can get damaged.

How to avoid this:

If you are driving on rough roads or on bumpy roads, it is best to avoid driving in such conditions.

If you drive in such conditions, the wheels should be driven slowly and the car should be driven on smooth roads.

 

3. Uneven Roads

If the wheels are being driven on uneven roads, they can get damaged. Uneven roads are common in cities and cause the wheels to roll unevenly. This can damage the wheel bearings.

How to avoid this:

If you are driving in a city, it is best to avoid driving on uneven roads.

If you are driving on uneven roads, the wheels should be driven slowly and the car should be driven on smooth roads.

4. Imbalanced Tires

If the tires are not balanced, the wheel bearings can be damaged. The uneven weight distribution can cause the wheel bearing to become loose. The tire pressure will also affect the sound of the wheel bearing.

How to avoid this:

As we have learned, imbalanced tires can cause the wheel bearing to become loose.

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It is best to check the tire pressure before you start driving.

The wheel bearing should be checked regularly.

5. Accidents

Accidents can damage the wheel bearings. If the car is in an accident, the bearings can be damaged. This is one of the most common reasons why wheel bearings make noise.

If the bearings are damaged, the noise will be constant.

It is recommended to have the wheel bearings replaced as soon as possible. This is to prevent further damage to the bearings and to avoid the noise.

How to avoid this:

Well, nobody has to tell you how to avoid this, right? But if you have been in an accident, the wheel bearings should be inspected.

If the bearings are damaged, it is best to replace the wheel bearing and axle assembly.

Replacing a wheel bearing and axle assembly is a straightforward repair that should only take an hour or two.

How to Diagnose Noisy Wheel Bearing?

how to diagnose noisy wheel bearing

A noisy wheel bearing can be a sign of trouble, it is important to know what to look for. Here is a list of the common signs of a noisy wheel bearing.

1. Faint or constant noise

This is a common sign that the wheel bearing is noisy.

2. Fading

Fading is the slow and steady increase in noise. It is a sign that the wheel bearing is damaged and needs to be replaced.

3. Sharp noise

This is the most serious sign of a noisy wheel bearing. If the noise is sharp, it can be a sign of a cracked wheel bearing.

4. Uneven sound

Uneven sound is a sign of a loose wheel bearing.

 

Whereas the noise that a noisy wheel bearing makes is similar to the noise made by other noises, it is more likely to be a sign of something else. For example, if the noise is coming from the engine or the transmission, it is more likely to be an issue with those components. On the other hand, if the noise is coming from the wheel bearing, it is more likely to be a sign of a problem with the bearing itself. So, how do you tell which is which?

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1. The Noisy Wheel Bearing Has a Slippery Flange

If the bearing is noisy, it is likely to be because of a problem with the bearing itself. This means that the bearing will have to be replaced. The most common cause of this is that the bearing is worn.

2. The Noisy Wheel Bearing Has a Loose Bearing

This is the most common cause of a noisy wheel bearing. A loose wheel bearing can cause a constant noise or a loud noise. This is because the bearing will not be able to spin freely.

3. The Noisy Wheel Bearing Has a Cracked Bearing

This is the most serious sign of a noisy wheel bearing. A cracked wheel bearing will cause a loud noise. If you are worried that your wheel bearing is cracked, you should take your car to a professional to be checked.

 

Final Thoughts on Noisy Wheel Bearing

In conclusion, it is important to understand the difference between a noisy wheel bearing and other noises that a car makes. A loud noise that is coming from your wheel bearing should be taken seriously. This is because it can be a sign of something more serious.

If you notice a noise coming from your wheel bearing, it is important to take your car to a professional to have it checked. The best solution to fix a noisy wheel bearing is to replace it in case of damage.

 

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