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What Does A Bad Engine Bearing Sound Like?

What Does A Bad Engine Bearing Sound Like

An engine bearing is the mechanics or device used to reduce friction between moving parts of machine elements to provide the necessary movement in the right way with minimum power and performance loss. The development of bearings is a key step in the development of human machines. Now that you know the development importance of an engine bearing, you must know what a bad engine bearing sounds like. 

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Engine bearings reduce the amount of friction between the rotating and moving part of the engine and the stationary part and the crank. The bearings prevent excessive friction, overheating parts, and the internal engine components from getting worn down too quickly in your vehicle. In order for the bearing to withstand the internal heat, the engine bearings must be comprised of specific materials. 


The bearing material must be very strong and durable since the stress of the explosions inside the internal combustion engine can hurt the crankshaft. By figuring out “what does a bad engine bearing sound like,” you can keep the engine bearing working at a high level for a long period of time.

Causes of Engine Bearing Damage


In order to know what a bad engine bearing sounds like, you need to know the different types of engine bearing damage. 

  • Dirt or Debris Contamination

When finding out “what does a bad engine bearing sound like,” you need to know what an engine bearing sounds like after being contaminated or dirt-filled. Debris, like dirt or dust, can cause damage to the bearing surface and cause you to wonder what a bad engine bearing sounds like. If it is a problem with the lubrication system, then the dirt can leave scratches and will remain lodged in the surface. 

  • Insufficient Lubrication

The second type of engine bearing damage is insufficient lubrication. A lack of lubrication in the crankcase can lead to the seizing of the bearing and the engine’s failure, causing a very expensive replacement. The absence of a proper oil film will result in a high amount of friction and metal to metal contact, giving you an answer to “what does a bad engine bearing sound like?”

  • Engine Bearing Misassembly

In addition, misassembly can lead to engine bearing failure. Sometimes, failures can be the result of simple installation errors. If a connection rod or a bearing cap is installed in the wrong position, the bearing will not work, and the lubrication will be insufficient to cause failure. Without proper lubrication, you will have the answer to “what does a bad engine bearing sound like.” 

  • Crush of the Engine Bearing

Crush refers to the outward force created by the bearing’s portion that moves above the housing bore when the bearing halves are positioned in the correct place. This extra bearing material holds the outside diameter of the bearings against the housing bore. A bearing crush is what holds the engine bearing in place. 


When the crush is set correctly, the bearing shells conform to a perfect circle when they are torqued into place. If the crush is not set correctly, you will have the answer to “what does  bad engine bearing sound like?”

Bad Engine Bearing Symptoms


The best way to prevent issues with your engine bearing from happening in your vehicle is to notice, analyze, and repair the engine bearing issues as soon as possible. This section will show you what a bad engine bearing sounds like and other engine bearing failure symptoms that typically occur within common car engines. Analyzing the core issues of the problems in your vehicle can give you the answer to “what does a bad engine bearing sound like?”

  • Noise in the Engine

One common sign and symptom of your car’s engine bearing failing and noticing a bad engine bearing sounds like noise in the engine. Most car drivers will know about the symptoms and the causes of engine knocking and rod knock symptoms. Rod knock, which is when the RPM in your engine and transmission includes a stabilized hammering increase.


Rod knock means there is too much clearance due to the bearing wear, causing the rod big-ends to beat against the crankshaft. Therefore, rod knock is a huge symptom of bad engine bearings and means a bad engine bearing sounds like a knocking sound. With the loud knocking sound, you can find the answer to “what does a bad engine bearing sound like.”  


Additionally, other engine noises can show that an engine bearing is damaged, and that can occur in two places – either the lifter or the valve train. Most engines are configured with the main oiling system. Oil leakage at the rods and the crank mean that the engine bearing can be worn over time, answering, “what does a bad engine bearing sound like?”

  • Reduced Oil Pressure

When you notice a loss of oil pressure in your vehicle, this is a huge sign and symptom of a failed engine bearing and can clue you into what a bad engine bearing sounds like. Usually, in most modern cars, the oil pump flows a fixed amount of fluid, around 20- gallons per minute in most modern cars. 


Suppose there are some small leaks in the engine like if there are gaps or cracks between the pipes or the engine bearings, the rocker or the hydraulic lifter will cause your engine to lose oil pressure since the engine oil will be coming out of the oil channels and changing the engine bearing. When the loss of oil occurs, you can answer “what does a bad engine bearing sound like?”


The loss of pressure means that too much clearance between the engine bearings as a result of excess bearing can lead to a full loss of oil pressure typically at a low RPM when the pump is spinning at very slow speed. The loss of pressure can help give you the answer to “what does a bad engine bearing sound like?”

  • High Oil Pressure

If you are having the opposite problem with your engine bearings, high oil pressure readings can be caused by several things in your car. In general, high oil pressure signs are not as concerning as a low oil pressure in your vehicle. This is because high oil pressure is less likely to cause damage than low oil pressure. One exception to the rule is that there is too much oil within the engine. 


In some modern cars, the oil pressure runs too high when the engine first starts. High oil pressure can be a huge reason as to what a bad engine bearing sounds like. Since the oil is thicker at lower temperatures and is more viscous, this can produce more pressure. A faulty oil sender switch can also give the feeling that the oil pressure is too high. Different oil viscosity can cause high oil pressure, providing the answer to the question, “what does a bad engine bearing sound like?”

  • Transmission Noise

 If you notice that your engine bearing is failing and you need to know what a bad engine bearing sounds like, the worn belts and noise coming from your transmission is a huge sign of a worn engine bearing. The main engine bearings have two huge types of bearing face – either the main bearing surface in which the crankshaft works or the thrust bearing face in charge of keeping the transmission from moving back and forth. 


If the thrust bearing wears down over time with excessive use, this can give you the answer to “what does a bad engine bearing sound like?” The damaged thrust bearings have to crank backward enough and jam the torque converter into the transmission. Eventually, this can result in the transmission noise from your car, transmission, or letting you know what a bad engine bearing sounds like. 


The metal dirt resulting from the torque converter pushing on the oil pump can remain stuck in the filter, leading to a loss of fluid pressure and the brake pump’s ability.

  • Silver Shavings in the Oil

The appearance of silver shaving can show a problem with your engine or transmission. Normal bearing wear produces a small amount of aluminum, which has silver color in the oil. The next time you check the oil level, you will be able to see the metal sheen on the dipstick.


However, the dust should be no more than just a powder since the engine bearings can cause a huge buildup if your engine is suffering from not enough oil or an overheating engine, meaning the oil can shave away and form ribbons or splinters. The buildup within the engine means that when you check your oil level or need to change your oil, chances are you have a worn-out bearing or a broken engine bearing if you have oil ribbons or splinters.

  • Copper Sheen in the Oil

The last sign of a failed or damaged engine bearing and damage can help let you know about what a bad engine bearing sounds like is the copper sheen in the oil. Many bearings are designed with just three layers, a steel backing plate, a layer of copper wedge within the middle, and a soft aluminum outer layer. 


Since copper is softer and smoother than aluminum material, the copper is utilized in the engine bearings in order to give the owner a complete line of protection before the engine bearings break down to the steel layer. If the engine bearings break down, this can give you the answer to “what does a bad engine bearing sound like?” 


 The lifespan of a copper layer of the engine bearing is around 1,000-2,000 miles, meaning it gives the owners a chance to diagnose and find out where the coming bearing problems are occuring form before it gets to your motor and damages the overall components. If you detect a copper sheen in the oil or inside of the valve cover on your dipstick, this means that your bearings are broken or damaged over time. 

Engine Bearing Replacement Cost


The fee to replace an engine bearing is dependent upon the extent of your repair and how much you have to fix – i.e., the replacements necessary, the damage on your engine bearings, and what a bad engine bearing sounds like. In some cases, your engine might require a new crankshaft, which can be quite expensive, new connecting rods and new positions, new timing chains, and new camshaft bearings.


If you have to replace every single one of these parts in your engine system, then it is advised by most mechanics and autobody shops to replace the complete engine assembly, which can be quite expensive. The average cost for fixing the connecting rods itself is higher than a whopping $2,500. 



By figuring out the answer to “what does a bad engine bearing sound like,” you can prevent the signs and symptoms of this faulty part from getting any worse in your vehicle. Preventing the causes of a bad engine bearing, like insufficient lubrication, dirt contamination, misassembly, and engine bearing crush, you can keep the bearing durable for the intended use.


In addition, noting the signs and symptoms of a faulty engine bearing can help you keep your vehicle working at a high level. The main signs, like noise in the engine, reduced oil pressure, high oil pressure, transmission noise, shavings in the oil, and copper sheen in the oil, can alert you to internal problems happening within your vehicle.


Finding the answer to “what does a bad engine bearing sound like” ensures your engine and your car will run safely and effectively for as long as you need it. You can look up the average engine bearing replacement or repair cost for your specific vehicle – including the make, model, and year – to get an idea of how much the average price and fix will be for you or your mechanic. 

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