Common Bad Wheel Bearing Symptoms You Need to be Aware Of

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Have you been hearing strange noises coming from your vehicle? Is it causing vibration or difficulty in the steering? It may be a sign of a bad wheel bearing. But what exactly are wheel bearings, and how do you know if they fail?

Wheel bearings are a crucial component in your vehicle’s suspension system. They allow the wheels to rotate smoothly while supporting the vehicle’s weight. Over time, they are subject to wear and tear and can develop faults if improperly maintained.

If you suspect your vehicle may have a bad wheel bearing, it’s important to get it checked as soon as possible. Delaying repairs could cause further damage to other parts of your vehicle and lead to costly repairs. This article will outline the bad wheel-bearing symptoms you need to know to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly and safely on the road.

What Leads to Bad Wheel Bearings? 

Over time, wheel bearings can become worn or damaged, leading to issues such as steering problems, vibration, or even accidents. One of the most common causes of wheel bearing damage is improper installation. 

If your wheel bearings were not installed carefully with the correct parts, they could become loose and cause your car to vibrate at high speeds. 

Another common cause of wheel bearing damage is improper lubrication. Without adequate lubrication, your wheel bearings can dry and cause excessive friction. This leads to mechanical failure. 

Keeping your bearings lubricated adequately is essential to ensure they last longer and perform better.

9 Common Signs of Lousy Wheel Bearing

Grinding or Roaring Noises

One of the most common signs of a bad wheel bearing is a grinding or roaring noise from the wheel area when the vehicle is in motion. This noise can be caused by worn-out bearings, which cannot support the car’s weight and cause friction between metal components.


Another symptom of bad wheel bearings is a noticeable vibration from the wheel area while driving at high speeds. This can be due to an out-of-balance wheel, which can cause excessive wear on the bearing.

Difficulty Turning

If your vehicle has difficulty turning or feels like it’s pulling one way, it could indicate that your wheel bearings are worn out and need to be replaced.

Uneven Tire Wear

Worn-out wheel bearings can lead to uneven tire wear, which can cause further damage to your vehicle’s suspension system. If one of your tires wears out faster than the others, it could be a sign of bad wheel bearings.

Excessive Heat

When wheel bearings become worn out, they can generate excessive heat. If you feel your wheels are too hot to touch, it could be a sign that the bearings must be replaced.

Clicking Noise

Driving may cause the wheel to click if the issue has advanced to that stage. Although it isn’t deafening, you can hear it by raising the window while driving. It feels like a small metal ball hitting the wheel at first, but it becomes much more audible as time goes on.

This is easily misinterpreted as, for instance, a failing CV joint, as with the humming sound. If this is the only sign you notice, you must adequately check the undercarriage to avoid making a mistake.

Wheel Sway

One sign of a highly damaged wheel bearing is this. Like when you hear grinding, you should change the wheel bearing immediately if you have this symptom. Damage causes unwelcome play while the bearing connects the entire wheel to the driving shaft.

This implies that there is undesired play throughout the entire wheel. The wheel bearing’s cage and rollers being damaged is the most frequent cause. Raising the car and trying to turn the steering wheel from left to right will quickly reveal this. Afterwards, the play will start.

Greasy Stains 

Greasy spots on the rim may be the least evident. Most of the time, every early symptom is already present. As a result, it’s unlikely that you’ll notice this. However, take a closer look if you notice this, such as while changing a tyre or inspecting. 

Make a quick inspection if you observe a heavy layer of oil, usually black or green, around the hub’s centre, on the hubcap.

This happens because the bearing’s seal is damaged or absent, allowing all lubricants to leak. The wheel bearing will eventually suffer significant damage if it is not lubricated.

The Car Veers to The Side

You might also notice that your car leans to the left, along with the wheel wobbling, because the wheel is almost out of balance. It’s highly comparable to when one of a car’s tyres is underinflated or when the tyres are improperly balanced.

The draw is barely noticeable at first, but if you fail to take action soon enough, it could pull you dramatically to one side.

The Bottom Line 

Wheel bearings may not be something you’ve considered, but they are a crucial component of your car’s suspension and handling. They are responsible for allowing the wheels to spin freely and smoothly while supporting the vehicle’s weight. 

Over time, they can wear out and cause potential safety issues on the road.

If you experience any of these symptoms, having your wheel bearings checked by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible is important. 

Worn-out wheel bearings can cause severe damage to other components in your vehicle and put you and other drivers at risk on the road.