Signs of a worn wheel hub bearing vary in severity. Some may be difficult to detect, leading to damage. Noise is a classic sign of a bad wheel bearing or wheel hub bearing.

“Snapping, clicking or popping“

This noise is typically heard when cornering or making sharp turns. This can indicate a worn or damaged outer CV-joint. However, it also can be related to excessive bearing endplay, usually associated with inadequate clamping.


“Grinding while going”

The noise is normally heard when turning or when there is a shift in load. Typically, this means there is mechanical damage in a wheel-end system. Related to a bearing, it means a loss of integrity such as roller or raceway damage.

“Wheel vibration and/or wobble“

This is generally associated with a damaged or worn tire, wheel or suspension component or severe chassis misalignment. When related to the hub or bearing, this normally indicates the loss of clamp or a bearing with extreme mechanical damage. It also can occur when lug nuts are not properly torqued.

“Abnormal side pull when brakes are applied“

This is normally indicative of a defective caliper or equalizer, but it also
can be a sign of worn brakes or rotors. However, severe looseness related to a bearing can also cause excessive runout, which may cause the brakes to pulsate or pull. The most common cause is a warped rotor due to the caliper not retracting.


“Uneven rotor or brake pad wear”

This is normally indicative of a bad caliper and/or a bad equalizer, which
is not bearing-related. Severe looseness related to a worn or damaged bearing can cause excessive runout, which can cause uneven wear on the brake pads and/or rotor. The most common cause is a warped rotor due to the caliper not retracting.

Tire wear

“Abnormal or uneven tire wear”

There are many causes of abnormal tire wear. The most common are worn or damaged suspension components, misalignment, improper inflation or tire selection. While extreme bearing wear or looseness can cause abnormal tire wear, it is typically related to other failure modes.

ABS pickup ring hub

“ABS failure, which could be internal or external to the bearing or
hub bearing assembly”

In extreme cases, internal and external sensors can be damaged from
excessive movement caused by too much end-play. This indicates a lack or loss of bearing clamp. This normally results from severe mechanical break up or damage. (Additionally, in designs where the sensor is mounted externally, sensor damage can result from corrosion, stones and other hazards.)

At Hillside Auto Repair, our ASE Certified Technicians diagnose and repair issues like these often. We are here to educate you, maintain and repair your vehicle and be your go-to when it comes to automotive!