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6 Symptoms of Bad Wheel Bearings

Your vehicle has countless components working together to provide a smooth and safe driving experience. Among these are wheel bearings, tiny yet essential components that play a pivotal role in your vehicle's functionality. Keep reading as we explore the crucial role that wheel bearings play in your vehicle's functionality and the various symptoms that indicate bad wheel bearings.

mechanic repairing wheel bearing

What Are Wheel Bearings?

A wheel bearing comprises steel balls or tapers, commonly called ball bearings or tapered bearings. These bearings are secured within a metal ring known as a race. Positioned within the wheel's core is a hollow metal piece referred to as a hub, where the wheel bearings are housed, facilitating the smooth rotation of your wheels.

Symptoms of Bad Wheel Bearings

1. Strange Noises

If you hear a consistent, rhythmic noise that sounds like growling or humming, it's a strong indicator of a bad bearing. These sounds often increase with speed and may be more noticeable when turning.

2. Grinding

Bad wheel bearings can produce a grinding sensation, especially when you turn the steering wheel. It might feel like your vehicle is dragging or rubbing against something, and this effect can become more pronounced at higher speeds or when turning.

3. Vibrations

As wheel bearings wear out, you may experience vibrations through either the steering wheel or the entire vehicle. These vibrations can make your driving experience uncomfortable and may worsen with speed.

4. Pulling When Applying Brakes

Worn wheel bearings can affect your braking system. If you notice your vehicle pulling to one side when applying the brakes, it could be caused by a bad wheel bearing.

5. Uneven Brake Pad or Rotor Wear

Inspect your brake pads and rotors regularly. If you notice uneven wear on either side or a distinct groove forming on the rotor, it might be due to a compromised wheel bearing affecting the alignment.

6. ABS Failure

Modern vehicles have Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) that relies on data from various sensors, including wheel speed sensors. A bad wheel bearing can disrupt these readings, leading to ABS failure and potentially compromising your vehicle's safety.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it's crucial to address them promptly to ensure your safety and the longevity of your vehicle.

Contact Your Trusted Auto Repair Experts

At Custom Complete Automotive, we offer comprehensive wheel and suspension services. Our technicians can diagnose and repair wheel-bearing problems, ensuring your vehicle runs smoothly and safely. Contact us for professional auto repair services.  

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About the Author
Eric Riddles

Eric Riddles is an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician who has been working as an auto mechanic since 1998 and originally joined the team at Custom Complete Automotive in 2005. Eric has numerous certifications in various aspects of car repair and spent 10 years training the next generation of auto technicians at a local high school Auto Shop classroom.

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