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Front Wheel Bearing – What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Wheel Bearing?

Front wheel bearing

A wheel bearing is a key part of the wheel assembly that connects the wheel to the axle. It is a set of steel balls or tapers that are held together by a metal ring. Wheel bearings are essential in the operation of your vehicle, and the proper function of the hubs, tires, and wheel by reducing the friction and keeping your car running smoothly on the road. Although you have brought your car to a local auto body shop, and your mehndi says they need to check out the front wheel bearing, you are not quite sure what that is. Is that important? Do you need to get it repaired? Well, here we will subscribe what a wheel bearing is and what a bad front wheel bearing sounds like in your car

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What is a front-wheel bearing?


A wheel bearing is a set of steel balls that are held together by a metal ring called a rise. They help wheels spin fast, smoothly and with title friction as possible to go the right speeds and glide smoothly. They are used on all kinds of cars, trucks, sedans, coupes, bicycles, and aircraft. 


On Your vehicle, they are generally on a metal axle shaft and fit tightly inside of the hub, which is a hollow chunk of metal at the center of the wheel. The hub then is in charge of holding the lug bolts that you use to connect the tire on the wheel. The wheel bearing is then pressed into the wheel hub from the back of the front wheel bearing. 

What does a bad front wheel bearing sound like?


If you have damage from wheel bearing or you know that they are damaged and making noise, it can be hard to diagnose since you have to drive the vehicle in order to notice when the sound occurs and what kind of sound it is. Here are some tips that can help you find the source of the issue.


First, when the seal on the wheel bearing is broken or damaged the noise might start out very faint and then grow over time when the front wheel bearing becomes more damaged. It sounds like a similar nose that your tires make when you hit a very uneven patch on the road while driving, just not quite as loud as when you hit significant pot holes. 


Second, when you are driving down the road and you are driving at least a speed of about 40 miles per hour, move the car side to side slowly, shifting the weight of the vehicle from one side to the other. Do not swerve side to side at high speeds, but just sway the car gently side to side. Notice whether the noise gets louder or softer in the front wheel bearing. If the noise is less when you turn to ascertain the side, the damaged front wheel bearing might be on that side, or vice versa. 


If you notice that your front wheel bearings are damaged then note if your tires are worn in specific patches and make a rhythmic noise that increases in speed. This can sound similar to a bad front wheel bearing, but make sure you check the uneven tread wear when you hear this noise.


You can determine if you have uneven tread wear based on a few different causes, like bad wheel alignment, improper tire inflation, unbalanced wheels, and bent or broken wheels. Bad wheel alignment can be caused by a suspension system that is not set to the proper specifications of the manufacturer, resulting in different patterns of irregular tire wear and front wheel alignment. 


Next, improper tire inflation can cause irregular tire wear across the width of the tire tread. If your tire shows more wear in the center of the tread than on the two sides, it is over inflated, but if the two sides of the tread are worn more than the center, then the tire is underinflated, causing poor front wheel bearing problems. 


In addition, unbalanced wheels can happen when your wheel and tire assembly is not balanced, causing a vibration and the tires to not rotate smoothly about the axle and hop up and down or wobble side to side as it rotates. Lastly, bent or broken wheels can be caused due to driving hazards like potholes, and can cause a crack to form in the portion of the wheel. 

5 Bad Front Wheel Bearing Symptoms


To determine the condition that your wheel bearings and front wheel bearing is in, there are common signs that you can look out for in your car. There are common symptoms that you can look for when determining the condition of the front wheel bearings.

Uneven Tire Wear


The first symptom of a bad front wheel bearing is uneven tire wear. When the front wheel bearings wear out, they tend to wear out unevenly from the rest of the bearings. This can cause the other tires to have abnormal tire wear when compared to other tires in your car. 


In a normal situation where your tires wear out after prolonged use or due to certain driving conditions, they would all be evenly worn out from the same driving circumstances and the same driving donations on them. If the tires are unevenly worn out, it could be due to a bad front wheel bearing. 


Along with this common wear, other issues known as bad wheel alignment, unbalanced tires, and others could also be the causes of uneven tire wear so do not assume that it is the wheel bearings unless the other symptoms are the same. This can mean the front wheel bearing is the real issue. 

Grinding Noise


The second symptom of a bad front wheel bearing is a grinding noise. A common symptom of bad wheel bearing in your car is when your tires have a loud grinding noise coming from them. This grinding noise is caused when the wheel bearings lose their lubrication and their movements, and build up a lot of heat and friction inside of the front wheel bearing instead. 


When you hear this sound in your car it will be like hearing two pieces of metal grinding together in your car coming from the front wheel bearing. Usually, you might only hear this sound coming from one of the front wheel bearings instead of all of them, since of how the wheels wear out unevenly after prolonged use. The noise will be most noticeable when you are shifting or turning your car. 

Steering Wheel Vibrates 

If the problem gets really bad in your front wheel bearing, then your steering wheel will start to vibrate. You will notice this steering wheel vibration when you drive at slow speeds, and the problem will get worse as you step on the gas pedal and accelerator the vehicle.


Although you might think that this symptom has to deal with unbalanced tires, the vibrations from an unevenly balanced tire occur at high speeds. But in any case with your front wheel bearing, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic and have them diagnose the problem.

Vehicle Pulls to One Side


When a wheel bearing is worn and the front wheel bearing becomes corroded or damaged, the smooth lining that the front wheel Boeing requires is no longer on the bearing and the rough surfaces cause the tire vibration. This vibration can cause your vehicle to pull to the side of the worn front wheel bearing.


You might also experience your car pulling to the side when you tatt to break your car. While this is a typical symptom of bad brake rotors or brake calipers, then the real cause might be the wheel bearings themselves due to the amount of runout in which the front wheel bearing damage is caused. 

Excess Wobble or Play in Wheels


Unlike the other symptoms, this symptom, the excess wobble in the wheels, is more difficult to diagnose since you need to have your car on a hydraulic lift or both wheels lifted up on the axle of jack stands. When the car is lifted, grab one of the front wheels and try moving it back and forth to see who much play or movement the wheel has. Now repeat this one the wheel at the other end of the axle. 


If the wheel moves back and forth when you rock the car, you likely have a bad front wheel bearing. Good wheel bearings mean the wheel has almost no wobble or excess play. 

Average Cost To Repair Bearings


Front wheel bearings cost – the front wheel bearings are built into the steering knuckle arm assembly and connect to drive axle components of your vehicle. These front wheel bearings are made to last for multiple years and shouldn’t have to be replaced. The cost to replace both front wheel bearing is between an average of $260 and $480


The parts line for replacing the front wheel bearings on both sides is between an average of $120 and $200. However, the labor will be more expensive than the parts, costing between $140 and $280. The exact cost will depend on the prices of your local repair shop and the specific make, model, and year of your vehicle. 


If you are just replacing the front wheel bearing on one side, then these costs will be half the price of both of the parts. For the total cost, expect to pay around $139 and $220, with e parts being between $60 and $100, and labor between $70 and $140. 

Finding the source of front wheel bearing noise 


If you want to know whether or not your noise is a front wheel bearing noise and if you can get the car up on a lift, you can use an improvised screwdriver to listen to the sound and find out where the sound is coming from in the car. Have someone in the vehicle start the car and run it at around 40 miles per hour.


While using the long screwdriver, rest the screwdriver on the hub near each wheel bearing. Don’t let the tool touch the moving part, as it could move and hit you by accident. Listen through the handle of the screwdriver and it can let you know if the front wheel bearing is bad.

What causes a bad front wheel bearing?


When a bearing is cooling off after being used, the contracting metal, air, and lubricant can cause a vacuum that needs to be held by the seals. If the seals are not able to hold the vacuum, the bearing or the hub will suck in any outside debris and water. In some parts, it is almost as bad as excess salt or ocean water on the front wheel bearings.


If you notice that your front wheel bearing is going bad, a driver may notice some steering wander or looseness in the steering wheel, or noise coming from the vicinity of the wheel. The noise may change when the wheel is turning, or when the front wheel bearing noise disappears at certain speeds. 


When a front wheel bearing wears out, it is usually a case of not enough lubrication, improper installation, or faulty adjustment. For the wheel bearing repair to be successful, you must first determine why the bearing failures previously occurred in your car. For sealed hub units, you will have to analyze the internal bearings and see the condition they are in. 


The most common failure pattern for front wheel bearings is for the bearings on the passenger side of the vehicle to fail first. The passenger side front bearings are exposed to the most standing water in the gutter. If the bearings on the driver side fail first, this can lead quicker to full failure. 


If a front wheel bearing overheats, the hot lubricant breaks down and can cause scoring and etching of the bearing surfaces. Also, water and other elements can create this condition, which can lead to problems while driving. 

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