What Can Actually Happen With A Bad Wheel Bearing?

It is safe to say that many people own cars and have no idea about the mechanics that come with them.

When your cars break down or have some minor problem, your trusty mechanic is always there to assist; at a very steep price, I’m afraid.

Some basic mechanical knowledge is handy, especially if you plan to have the car for a long time.

Next time your mechanic says you need to change your wheel bearings, flip the pages in your mind where you will have stored up what I am about to reveal.

What a Wheel Bearing Is

Almost every type of vehicle use wheel bearings; cars, trucks, aircraft, bicycles, you name it. So then, what are wheel bearings?

wheel bearings

Simply put, they are a set of steel balls lined in a metal ring called a race.

A quick look at the wheel’s connection to the car will solve your curiosity for the curious person wishing to know where to find them.

When bolting a car wheel to the wheel hub, the wheel bearings are found in the center between the hub and where the wheel is bolted. They allow the wheel to rotate with as little friction as possible.

Uses of Wheel Bearings

To understand what odds can happen with a bad wheel bearing, it is important to know what this bearing should normally do.

Because knowing the latter enables a driver to realize when something is wrong easily.

Wheel bearings are made to withstand long-term use. Being between two parts is reason enough to make them strong enough to withstand the abuse.

Aside from reducing friction due to the rolling motion of the wheel, wheel bearings have to bear the weight of the car and withstand the numerous corners you take over all kinds of bumpy roads and pothole ruts you run into.

All this while still managing to reduce friction – this is indeed one tough cookie.

What a Bad Wheel Bearing Does

As stated above, a wheel bearing takes a lot of abuse to ensure the car runs smoothly. But then, with this abuse comes the breakdown. Sad.

Noisy Wheel, That’s How It Rolls

The foolproof way to detect a bad wheel bearing is a loud noise coming from the wheel. This happens because of the increased friction caused by the rotating wheel. The noise gets louder the faster the car goes.

Your trusty mechanic needs a quick phone call. (“Money Money Money’s on the dresser”)

Slack Steering Wheel

Another symptom of a wheel bearing gone rogue is a loose steering wheel. The steering wheel starts to wobble, reducing the responsiveness of the car.

Now, I do not think I have to point out the dangers of this, but I will. You may crash the car. If you can’t control your vehicle, you might as well kiss stability goodbye.

Time to call the mechanic, don’t you think so?

Will Help People Die Soon

A missing wheel bearing should discourage you from using the vehicle, even for an emergency, especially during an emergency.

The bearing ensures that the wheel stays attached to the car. Therefore, the vehicle’s stability is highly compromised if it is missing.

Imagine driving down the freeway and seeing your wheel drive by you – that is a sight that should only be alive in your imagination and not reality.

Besides, it will cause a distraction to other motorists, not to mention resulting in possible multiple accidents.

Upsurge Sales of Tires

In addition to noise, instability, and possible accidents caused by faulty or missing wheel bearings, you risk having uneven tire wear. Since the car is unstable already, tires will wear out faster.

Also, if the bad wheel bearing is on one wheel, the tire on that wheel is worn out before the rest.

For peace of mind and further problems caused by a bad bearing to the whole car, it is better to change it immediately after you detect that it is faulty. Na?

Causes of A Bad Wheel Bearing

When the car is in motion, the wheel bearings heat up due to their metallic nature. As it cools off after a drive, a vacuum is created due to the contracting metal, lubricant, and air.

The seals around the wheel bearings hold these off, ensuring the bearing does not suck them in. But then, sometimes, they do get in.

Your mechanic should be on speed dial because heat and water do not go well with the wheel bearing correctly functioning. A lack of lubrication causes heat during vehicle use, destroying the bearing.

Water is corrosive to metal, and so when it gets in through the seal, the wheel bearing needs to be changed immediately to avoid the problems stated above.


Cars are convenient and might be the greatest invention on earth. However, a lack of knowledge about the basic mechanical functions that help run them could spell doom at one point or another.

Wheel bearings are crucial parts that enable a car to operate smoothly. Proper care of wheel parts will make your life easier and a lot cheaper.

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