The Anatomy of Healthy Cars: A Service and Repair Blog

Don't Ignore The Warning Signs: What Are the Symptoms of a Failing Wheel Bearing?

by Brittany Marshall

A wheel bearing is an important part of your car's suspension system. It supports the weight of the vehicle, helps to keep your wheels turning smoothly, and contributes to your car's overall performance. Unfortunately, like all other parts of your car, wheel bearings can wear down over time and eventually fail. It's important to know what symptoms you should be on the lookout for so you can get help quickly if necessary.  

Strange Noises

Noise is one of the most common signs that something is wrong with your wheel bearing. If you hear a grinding or rumbling noise coming from the wheels when you are driving, it could be an indication that there is an issue with your wheel bearings. This noise will usually become louder as you accelerate, and it may even sound like metal scraping against metal when it gets really bad. If you notice any strange noises coming from your wheels, take note and have them checked out by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.

Persistent Vibration

Vibration is another symptom that could be caused by failing wheel bearings. If you feel a vibration in the steering wheel or in the seat when driving, this could be an indication that something may be wrong with your wheel bearing. This vibration can also worsen at higher speeds and can make for a very uncomfortable ride if left unchecked.

Clicking Noise

Occasionally, a dodgy wheel bearing may start to "click, " especially when you turn in a certain direction. The clicking will gradually increase in cadence as the vehicle accelerates.

Adverse Handling

If you start noticing any unusual handling while driving, this can also indicate an issue with your wheel bearing. Your car might pull to one side while driving, or there might be difficulty in steering due to increased resistance on one side where the affected bearing is located. These symptoms usually appear when significant wear on one side of the bearing causes it to become unbalanced and unable to perform its job properly.

What to Do Next

Wheel bearings are some of the most important parts of your vehicle, and if you suspect any problems, you should act as soon as possible. Remember, the wheel bearing helps to support the suspension and the wheel; if it fails, you could easily become involved in an accident. So, if you notice any strange noises, vibration, clicking or odd handling, this could be a sign that a wheel bearing is about to fail. Take the vehicle to a mechanic for repair work as soon as possible.

Contact an auto repair shop to learn more.