The Importance of Your Car’s Wheel Bearings
A wheel bearing is a crucial part of the wheel assembly that connects the wheel and the axle. It is a set of steel balls (ball bearings) or tapers (tapered bearings), held together by a metal ring. It enables the wheel to rotate smoothly with a minimum of friction. Wheel bearings are safety critical components designed to sustain radial and axial loads caused by gravitation, acceleration, breaking & cornering forces, so they need to be replaced when they stop working properly.
Faulty installation – inappropriate tools such as a hammer or an impact wrench can cause damage to the exterior and or interior of the wheel end bearing causing the wheel bearing to fail prematurely. Also, re-using the old accessories such as bolts, nuts, circlips, split pins, seals,… instead of replacing them with new ones can cause the wheel end bearing to operate under abnormal or unsafe conditions, increasing wheel end bearing wear and risk of a car accident.
Impact damage or poor road quality – all impacts from driving through a pothole, driving over speed bumps or hitting the curbstone can damage a wheel bearing and reduce its lifespan.
Poor quality wheel bearing – a wheel bearing is continuously under enormous pressure. Wheel bearings constructed of low-quality materials can have poor heat-treatment, resulting in premature wear and failure.
Driving conditions – driving through deep water or mud can cause your wheel bearings to fail. Water, mud or other contaminants such as dust or road salt could get past the seals and enter the bearing, polluting the grease and wearing away the bearings.
Car modifications – fitting bigger or wider rims, tires with lower thread walls, stiffer shock absorbers and suspension springs cause higher loads on the wheel bearing and can accelerate wear. Stick to rims, tires, shock absorbers and springs that are specified by the car manufacturer to minimize the impact on the longevity of the wheel bearings.
It’s very rare for wheel bearings to fail immediately and completely after you notice the first symptom(s).
Having said that, it is best to avoid driving with a worn wheel bearing for any length of time. As we’ve already seen, the wheel bearing is essential for connecting your wheel to your car, and any weakness in this connection could have severe consequences for your drive-axle and steering assembly – as well as for your safety.
Replacing your wheel bearings
Despite the fact that modern auto bearing are easier to install than previous generations, correct installation, the usage of appropriate tools and respecting the specified torque values are still essential for maximum performance, durability and safety. Therefore, we recommend having your wheel bearings fitted by a professional mechanic that has the skills and the tools to do the job.
The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.
The increasing preference for personal mobility in the post-COVID period will boost the growth of automobiles and components such as agriculture machinery bearing. Additionally, the Indian automotive bearings market is expected to benefit from the shift of production lines of the global automotive bearings manufacturers to the emerging economies.