An automobile is made up of several components that interact and generate a great deal of friction. Often times, friction leads to the generation of heat. With a bearing, we can reduce frictional force. If there is no wheel bearing in a vehicle, the wheel will not roll. Instead, it will slide. When the sliding starts, the driver may find it harder to control the vehicle and its functionality is greatly affected. In this article, we will be letting you know the symptoms of a bad wheel bearing. We will also be discussing the features and importance of rear wheel bearings.
What is a wheel bearing?
Every wheel in the vehicle has a wheel bearing. A bearing may either be a steel ball or roller. It is usually covered in a metal known as a “race”. The spinning of the wheel leads to the generation of heat and frictional force. What a bearing does is to protect the wheels and tires by lowering friction. The wheel bearing is embedded in a hub assembly. The hub is responsible for holding the lug nuts which offers security for the wheels on the tires. A hub can move over different roads and handle a car’s weight. It also helps the wheel to work well as it spins continuously.
Wheel bearings wear out after traveling several miles. The wear and tear of the wheel bearing is caused by perpetual revolution and the heavyweight of the vehicle. This makes it harder for the wheel to roll as much as it should. Recently produced wheel bearings are sealed and this prevents moisture and debris from affecting it. The sealed wheel bearing is difficult to maintain as it cannot be cleaned or serviced. If the bearing is worn or bad, it has to be replaced out rightly along with the hub.
How do I know that a wheel bearing is worn?
When a wheel bearing stops rolling, heat generation increases, and frictional force will rise. This makes it harder for the vehicle to be controlled. In fact, the vehicle may become shaky and this is not safe. If you notice any of the under-listed symptoms, it means you may have to replace your wheel bearing.
- An unusual sound: If the wheel bearing is not able to roll the tires as well as it should, it creates noise (a grinding sound). This noise is often amplified as the vehicle moves faster. It simply means metals are rubbing on each other.
- Steering wheel shakes: The wheels of the steering will be unbalanced even if you move at a low speed. It needs to be attended to as quickly as possible, otherwise, it will get worse.
- Tire damage: If the wheel bearing is bad, there would be a need to replace the tires of the vehicles frequently. A faulty wheel bearing causes misalignment of the vehicle. A worn tire is unsafe, especially in bad weather.
- Unpleasant driving experience: This is the overall effect of a bad wheel bearing. It makes driving a lot more difficult and it can cause an accident.
If you notice any of the aforementioned signs, call a mechanic or technician. It is very unwise, risky, and hazardous to drive with a bad wheel bearing. The role a wheel bearing plays in an automobile is a delicate one. It helps to ensure that the wheel is attached to the vehicle. Traveling at a high speed or on a highway with a bad wheel bearing could lead to loss of control of the vehicle which can cause an automobile accident or loss of life.