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Removing tire to audit wheel bearings on Long Island, NY.

Is It Time to Replace Your Wheel Bearings?

Posted at Fri, Feb 11, 2022 9:00 AM

Most people know that a car cannot drive safely without wheels that are in good shape and correctly aligned. However, there is a lot more to your wheels than just the tires themselves – there is an entire complex system of components that work together to ensure your car both drives safely and correctly. One of the most important components is the wheel bearings, which function by letting the tire, assemblies, and hub work together to keep your car moving. Unfortunately, they are also one of the components that tend to suffer from a lot of wear and tear. Once they start to fail, your safety while driving is at stake, so it is important to be aware of just what they do as well as all of the warning signs that they are failing.

What Do Wheel Bearings Do

Wheel bearings play an important role in three different systems: Suspension, steering, and braking. The wheel bearings, along with the ABS speed sensor and mounting flange, are combined through a singular hub assembly that is situated between the brake disc (or drums) and the drive axle. This is the component that allows the wheels on your vehicle to turn. The wheel bearings are located inside a metal ring that is both waterproof and filled with grease, known as a housing. The housing is inside the assembly hub and there is one for each wheel. The job of the wheel bearings is a huge one, because they are designed to support the weight of the entire vehicle. This is why they endure a lot of abuse when driving from uneven roads and potholes, and a result of this abuse is that the wheel bearings will eventually wear down to the point of needing to be replaced.

Strange Noises Could Be Indicative of a Problem

Sounds emanating from your vehicle’s wheels are a probable indicator of issues with the wheel bearings. Below are the most common sounds:

  • Clicking noise – If there is a clicking noise that becomes more audible or frequent when you are accelerating, it could mean trouble with the hub assembly.
  • Growling or squealing noises – The most typical noise that worn out wheel bearings will make is a growling or squealing noise. This will become louder with increased speed.
  • Humming noise – While a humming noise is commonly linked to issues with the wheel bearings, it can also be linked to other issues and therefore your vehicle should be looked at by a technician as soon as possible.

Other Signs of Worn-Out Wheel Bearings

There are a few other signs that could be pointing to wheel bearing replacement, including:

  • Steering wheel vibrations – Another potential indicator that it is time to replace your wheel bearings comes in the form of vibrations in the steering wheel. Worn out wheel bearings can lead to these vibrations, which will likely increase in intensity in relation to speed and while turning.
  • Failure of ABS – Bad wheel bearings could lead to the ABS system not operating all the time (or at all), and the ABS light may come on as a result.
  • Wobbly wheels – while this can be difficult to ascertain for yourself, technicians can check for wobbly wheels by putting your car up on a lift and then manually checking for improper wheel movement.
  • “Loose” steering – If you find that there is a lot of give in steering or that steering is less responsive and precise, wheel bearings may be the issue. This problem will intensify at higher speeds.

Let Us Help Today

When such a crucial vehicular component starts to fail, the safety of you and all your passengers is at risk. If you suspect the time has come to have your wheel bearings looked at and replaced, do not hesitate to book your Toyota in with us here at Westbury Toyota. Our expert technicians will ensure you are back out driving safely in no time.

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