Symptoms of damaged wheel bearings and how to maintain them

Car wheel bearings are essential components of the suspension system used to support the wheels turning smoothly and efficiently.

Everyone understands that good, strong wheels are essential for a car to function properly. However, you may not be aware of how important the simple components found in your car's wheels are for proper operation.

So, in this report, we monitor for you what car wheel bearings are, the importance of maintaining them, symptoms of damage, and other information that you may need to know.

Car wheel bearings

What are car wheel bearings?

Your car has components designed to move it on the road, wheel bearings are one of those parts, they actively promote wheel rotation through movement.

Car wheel bearings are one of the basic components of the car responsible for the proper and smooth rotation of the tires on the road. They consist of a group of rotating parts, including:

  • Inner ring: fixed to the wheel axle.
  • The outer ring: is fixed on the side of the frame.
  • Rotating objects: called balls or cylinders, which move between the inner and outer rings.
  • Cage: keeps the rotating objects in place and prevents them from rubbing against each other.
  • Grease: used to lubricate rotating parts and prevent friction and corrosion.

The function of wheel bearings

Car wheel bearings play an important role in the following:

Improving the stability of the car, as it helps keep the wheels rotating smoothly, which reduces vibrations and improves the stability of the car on the road.

It is also responsible for facilitating the steering process, as it reduces the friction between the wheels and the wheel axle, making it easier to steer the car.

In addition, it plays an important role in prolonging the life of tires as it reduces uneven tire wear, which helps to prolong their life.

Types of car wheel bearings

There are two main types of car wheel bearings:

Ball bearings: The most common type, they are distinguished by their simple design, durability, and efficiency.

Roller Bearings: Used in some high-performance applications, they offer better resistance to wear and load.

If your wheel bearings are defective, your brakes and tires may wear unevenly. Your vehicle may still sustain other serious damage. This increases the risk that you and your car's passengers will be involved in an accident.

Symptoms of damaged wheel bearings

There are many signs and symptoms that indicate that there is a problem with the bearings and that they require maintenance and repair, these symptoms include:

Loud voices

Hearing a buzzing or rattling sound is the most common symptom of damaged wheel bearings. This sound is caused by the damaged rotating parts of the bearing rubbing against each other.

The sound gets worse as the vehicle speed increases. The sound may be loud or low, depending on the extent of the damage present.

You may also hear a sharp squealing sound from the wheel when starting the car or when braking. This sound indicates severe wheel bearing damage.

If you hear a regular clicking sound from the wheel while driving it is also a sign of a problem.


Damaged wheel bearings may cause steering wheel vibration, especially at high speeds.

If you notice vibration throughout the entire vehicle structure, especially at low speeds, and the vibration may be intermittent or continuous, it is also a sign of a problem with the wheel bearings that need to be addressed.

Car performance while driving

Damaged wheel bearings may cause difficulty steering the vehicle, especially at low speeds due to additional friction between the wheel and the wheel axle.

Visible damage that can be seen

Damaged wheel bearings may cause uneven tire wear. This happens because the damaged bearing causes vibration in the wheel, causing it to wear unevenly.

The wheel may become very hot to the touch, especially after driving long distances. This indicates excessive friction within the bearing.

Grease leakage

Grease may leak from a damaged bearing, and signs of grease leakage may appear around the wheel or on the tire.

It is important to note that some of these symptoms may be caused by other problems with the vehicle, such as damage to the tires or suspension system. Therefore, it is always important to consult a competent mechanic to determine the exact cause of the problem and find out whether it is due to the bearings or not.

Maintenance and repair of wheel bearings

Wheel bearings are one of the parts that should be consulted by a qualified mechanic for maintenance, repair or replacement.

Driving a car with damaged wheel bearings is very dangerous, and may lead to loss of control of the car and traffic accidents. The process of maintaining and repairing car wheel bearings requires special tools and skills, so it should be left to a specialized mechanic.

wheel bearings

Wheel bearing maintenance

Wheel bearings must be checked by a specialized mechanic on a regular basis, to ensure they are safe and free from damage. It is recommended to check the wheel bearings every 20,000 to 30,000 kilometers.

When maintaining, use the appropriate lubricating oil recommended by the car manufacturer, and ensure that the level of lubricating oil in the bearing is appropriate.

Maintenance includes cleaning the wheel bearings from dirt and dust periodically using a soft brush or cloth to clean the bearings.

Repair wheel bearings

If any symptoms of damage to the car’s wheel bearings appear, they must be replaced immediately by a specialized mechanic.

Steps to replace wheel bearings:

  1. Car lift: The car is lifted using a crane or hydraulic platform.
  2. Removing the wheel: The wheel bolts are removed using a wheel wrench.
  3. Disc removal: The disc is removed using a disc driver.
  4. Dismantling the bearing: The bearing is dismantled using special tools.
  5. Installing the new bearing: The new bearing is installed using special tools.
  6. Installing the disc: The disc is installed in place.
  7. Wheel installation: The wheel is installed in place and its bolts are tightened using a wheel wrench.
  8. Lowering the car: The car is lowered from the crane or hydraulic platform.
  9. The steps and tools needed to replace wheel bearings may vary depending on the type of vehicle, so hire a professional.

What happens when you drive damaged wheel bearings

Driving with damaged wheel bearings is very dangerous and may lead to serious risks, including:

Loss of control of the vehicle

One of the most important functions of wheel bearings is to keep the wheels rotating smoothly and efficiently. When damaged, the wheels may become unstable and spin unpredictably, making it difficult to control the vehicle.

This may lead to loss of control of the vehicle, especially at high speeds or during sharp turns.

Serious accidents

Losing control of the car due to damaged wheel bearings may lead to serious traffic accidents. The car may collide with other vehicles, people, or objects on the side of the road. These accidents may cause serious injuries or even death.

Tire damage

Damaged wheel bearings may cause uneven tire wear. This happens because a damaged bearing causes vibration in the wheel, causing it to wear unevenly. Tires may become unusable prematurely, resulting in additional costs.

Suspension system damage

Damaged wheel bearings cause additional stress on the suspension system, which leads to damage to other suspension components, such as shock absorbers and suspension springs, and the vehicle becomes uncomfortable to drive and may make annoying noises.

Damage to the engine

In some cases, damaged wheel bearings may damage the engine. This happens because the damaged bearing causes additional resistance to rotation, forcing the engine to work harder, and causing the engine to overheat and damage it.

Ensuring the safety of the wheel bearings is an important matter that entails the safety of the car and the health of the passengers is the most important thing, so do not risk your life or the lives of others because of damaged wheel bearings, and always seek the help of a specialized mechanic to inspect and repair the car’s wheel bearings.


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