Yesterday we had a customer come in with a complain about 'annoying noise in the front left of the car' that we were told 'has always been there but lately just got worse'. We went ahead and lifted a car on the lift to shake the front end for the loose components to start with. It did not take us long to notice that front left wheel was loose. Apparently wheel bearing wore out and the customer was still driving the vehicle like that. I would like to take a second to go over what exactly wheel bearing is and why is it considered a safety item. Often it is made really complicated but I will try to put it in a simple way for everyone to understand:
What is a wheel bearing? wheel bearing is a part of vehicle steering and suspension system. Inside the bearing there are ball bearings lubricated with grease. There are usually two types of wheel bearing: the one you can press in or the one that comes as part of whole hub assembly.
What does wheel bearing do? wheel bearing allows a wheel to rotate freely due to rotation of above mentions balls inside of the wheel bearing. It essentially holds the wheel to the knuckle which is what keeps the wheel attached to the car along with the axle or spindle nut.
When does wheel bearing wear out? wheel bearing wear out due to different reasons and even though they are build to last usually insufficient amount of grease and lubrication will lead to chipping and damage of the ball bearing. Also moisture leaking into bearing through the seals will make it rust and cause damage.
What are the signs of wheel bearing wearing out? wheel bearing can have a number of different signs of damage that is why it is important to properly diagnose it before replacement. I usually will make noise while driving that intensifies on turns, become loose, or both.
Below there is a video provided how to press in a wheel bearing into a knuckle in case you are dealing with press in bearing. If you happen not to have a press handy and need a bearing pressed in, feel free to stop by Z Auto Service where we are always happy to help you out. Or call us if you have any questions or in doubly what to do next! We are here for YOU!