Do you know what happens when a wheel bearing goes bad?

Just like a human body requires a healthy diet for sustenance, a modern-day vehicle also needs quality parts to thrive in the long run. Every car component has its own unique identity that works to serve a greater purpose: the smooth functioning of the car.

But if one of these core parts begins to exhibit the slightest of problems, your driving experience may be more than just hampered. Such is the case when a car’s wheel bearing stops working. But what happens when a wheel bearing goes bad?

Before we delve into the details of how a wheel bearing causes problems, here is additional insight about what the part is and how it works.

What is a wheel bearing?

As the name suggests, a wheel bearing is a compact collection of steel balls. These steel balls are pushed together in a precise metal ring, which is also known as a “race.” Smack in the middle of the wheel lies the “hub”, a name given to the metal piece. And right inside the hub are the wheel bearings in question, fit tight inside to move on the ax shaft. Resultantly, these work to lessen the friction caused by the spinning of wheels.

Wheel-Bearing
Source: carfrom

Imperative for the smooth functioning of the car, these wheel bearings are a necessary automotive part. But just like other car parts, these bearings can also undergo damage and may need to be swapped. In this case, it is important to determine what happens when a wheel bearing goes bad. For this purpose, we have readied a comprehensive list of the warning signs of a bad wheel bearing. So, while driving, you can look for these key signs to ascertain the performance of this integral car part.

Signs to watch out for

Sound of music terror

If you want to know more about the status of your wheel bearing’s health, keep your ears open. As eerie as it may sound, your hearing sense is fully capable of picking out on your car part’s efficiency. If a wheel bearing has gone bad, chances are you’d be able to hear it.

Look out for a loud grinding sound coming from the car’s wheels. Plus, if this sound worsens as you drive forward, your wheel bearing has become bad and requires an appropriate replacement.

Doesn’t feel right

Just like your gut tells you a person’s vibe, the car’s overall feel and balance can speak volumes about its auto parts. New drivers may face difficulties in catching on to this sign, but an experienced driver will know when his/her car doesn’t feel the way it normally does.

when a wheel bearing goes bad
Source: instructables

If your wheel bearing has gone bad, the car may start to feel a bit loose. In a broad spectrum, the looseness of the car refers to a weak grip of steering or just less precision of drive overall. However, loose steering may not necessarily mean bad wheel bearing. But just to be on the safe side, look out for it.

The weird pull of nature

Many times, you may feel like your car is betraying you. Not to sound too dramatic, but a car betrayal is a real thing. Sure, it is nothing like a human betrayal, but a car being disloyal can point towards a bad wheel bearing.

Simply put, a car betrayal refers to the ability of your vehicle to move in a complete direction. Just imagine, you’re cruising along an empty road and the car starts to veer in a new track altogether. This can be caused due to the bad wheel bearing.

Tires are tired

You may not know it, but a bad wheel bearing can also be deduced through the appearance and strength of the tires. This is exactly why it is important to pay close attention to the state of your tires. Sure, a good rotation of tires is widely known to restrict overall wear and tear.

wheel-bearing-installation
Source: cashcarsbuyer

But, if you notice a significant amount of tear on your tires, it may just be because of the wheel bearing itself. If that is the case, have it checked out at the earliest.

What are the risks of driving with a bad wheel bearing?

As established above, a bad wheel bearing can hamper your driving experience to a great extent.  Sure, there are risks of driving with a damaged automotive part, but it won’t be too much of a threat at first. However, it is still important to consider the role of these auto parts and avoid driving with a bad wheel bearing for too long.

Since a wheel bearing plays the crucial connection between the wheel and car, any undiagnosed flaw can be a major safety hazard for your drive-axle, and even your safety. Having said that, it is important for you to consciously check the status of your car parts. And if you see any red flags, take action immediately!

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