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5 Warning Signs Of Faulty Wheel Bearings

Wheel bearings connect your car’s wheels to axles. They’re steel rings with small, lubricated steel balls inside them that allow the wheels to spin at high speeds with minimal friction. Although rare, faulty bearings can cause an entire wheel to fall off your car while you’re driving.

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Learning when your wheel bearings need to be replaced can help you prevent dangerous driving situations and keep your car safely running.

Lifespan

Wheel bearings last a long time. Their average lifespan is between 130,000 and 160,000 kilometres. How and where you drive and the quality of the bearing itself will determine the longevity of the component.

Signs of deterioration

Never drive for any extended period with worn or broken wheel bearings. Here are some indicators that they need to be replaced.

1. There’s unusual tire wear. Abnormal tire wear may mean you have a problem with your wheel bearings. If you see unusual tread wear on your left tire, you may have a faulty left wheel bearing. Keep in mind, you can’t replace just one wheel bearing. If the left side goes, you need to replace the right side, too.

Uneven tire wear can be a sign of other problems (a wheel alignment may be needed, for example), so it’s best to get a professional to check it out.

2. You hear strange noises. Loud grinding or roaring sounds from the wheels are another sign of wheel bearing problems. If a bearing loses its lubrication, the metal inside grinds against the metal, producing an awful noise. See a mechanic if you hear these types of sounds.

3. The steering wheel vibrates. Worn-out wheel bearings will cause your steering wheel to vibrate. It’ll begin at slow speeds and get worse as you accelerate. If this occurs, get your steering and suspension checked by a mechanic to determine the nature of the problem.

4. You experience wheel wobble. A worn wheel bearing loose inside the hub will cause the vehicle’s steering wheel to feel different. In particular, your car’s steering may feel “loose” and not very responsive.

5. The vehicle pulls when you brake. Another symptom of a worn wheel bearing is if the car pulls to one side when you apply the brakes. This can also indicate seized brake calipers or collapsed brake hoses, so it’s best to get a brake inspection at a trusted auto centre.

Auto repair and tune-ups in British Columbia and Alberta

At Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres, we offer bumper-to-bumper repairs and maintenance inspections. Our technicians use only quality parts to ensure your car runs as efficiently as possible. Contact us at one of our many convenient locations across British Columbia and Calgary, or schedule an appointment online.

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