All About Wheel Bearings
Your wheel bearings may be something to which you’ve never given a thought while driving. Wheel bearings are what enable your wheels to spin smooth and free. Since they bear the entire weight of the vehicle, they have to be tough. Wheel bearings can last well over 100,000 miles. They do wear out though and must eventually be replaced.
Signs to look out for is you might hear a groaning or loud humming sound from your wheels. The sound might disappear at some speeds and reappear at others. The sound usually will change pitch with the speed of your vehicle. Our master certified technicians at Auto Care Plus can inspect and determine if your bearings are bad by raising the vehicle inspecting for any looseness or play in the wheel. If it isn’t loose we can still determine the offending wheelbearing by running the vehicle up on the lift and listening to each wheel with a stethoscope.
Many vehicles these days have wheel bearing assemblies that cannot be serviced (sealed type). Auto Care Plus will simply replace the entire wheel bearing assembly. Some wheel bearings come as an entire hub assembly that is bolted in and others come as just the bearing which will need to be pressed into the hub.
For those vehicles with wheel bearings that can be accessed, we can do some preventive maintenance. You may have heard the phrase ‘pack the bearings‘. With this procedure we remove the bearings, carefully clean them and inspect for any imperfection or wear. If the bearings can be reused, we reinstall them and pack them with new clean grease. If not, we put in new bearings. Check your owner’s manual or ask one of our service advisors at Auto Care Plus if your bearings can be serviced, and if so, when should it be done.
Now, taking care of bad bearings is extremely important. When bearings go bad, they generate tremendous amounts of heat – enough to lock up the wheel. That’s not a good thing at any speed. In some cases the wheel can even fall off. Either of these could cause a serious accident. So have your wheel bearings inspected if you suspect a problem and replace them right away before doing more extensive damage.
DID YOU KNOW?
If you drive in axle-deep water, like crossing streams, launching a boat or fording deep rain puddles, your wheel bearings are at risk for water contamination. You may need to inspect your wheel bearings more frequently. And don’t forget your trailers; especially boat trailers. It’s a good idea to get them serviced at the end of the season so bearings don’t rust over the winter.