What are the risks of driving with bad wheel bearings?
It is best to avoid driving with a worn wheel bearing for any length of time. The wheel bearing is essential for connecting your wheel to your car, and any weakness in this connection could have severe consequences for your drive-axle and steering assembly – as well as for your safety!
According to MOOG: “A wheel bearing is a crucial part of the wheel assembly that connects the wheel and the axle. It is a set of steel balls (ball bearings) or tapers (tapered bearings), held together by a metal ring. It enables the wheel to rotate smoothly with a minimum of friction. Wheel bearings are safety critical components designed to sustain radial and axial loads caused by gravitation, acceleration, breaking & cornering forces, so they need to be replaced when they stop working properly.”
Why do wheel bearings fail?
The main reasons that a wheel bearing fails are:
Faulty installation– inappropriate tools such as a hammer or an impact wrench can cause damage to the exterior and or interior of the wheel end bearing causing the wheel bearing to fail prematurely. Also, re-using the old accessories such as bolts, nuts, circlips, split pins, seals,… instead of replacing them with new ones can cause the wheel end bearing to operate under abnormal or unsafe conditions, increasing wheel end bearing wear and risk of a car accident.
Impact damage or poor road quality – all impacts from driving through a pothole, driving over speed bumps or hitting the curbstone can damage a wheel bearing and reduce its lifespan.
Poor quality wheel bearing – a wheel bearing is continuously under enormous pressure. Wheel bearings constructed of low-quality materials can have poor heat-treatment, resulting in premature wear and failure.
Driving conditions – driving through deep water or mud can cause your wheel bearings to fail. Water, mud or other contaminants such as dust or road salt could get past the seals and enter the bearing, polluting the grease and wearing away the bearings.
Car modifications – fitting bigger or wider rims, tires with lower thread walls, stiffer shock absorbers and suspension springs cause higher loads on the wheel bearing and can accelerate wear. Stick to rims, tires, shock absorbers and springs that are specified by the car manufacturer to minimize the impact on the longevity of the wheel bearings.
When replacing your wheel bearings, it is essential to look for high quality parts. When selecting parts, it is ideal to find, premium quality, long-lasting wheel end bearings that are engineered, manufactured, tested and validated to OEM standards for maximum performance and durability.
When you have Hillside Auto Repair install your wheel bearings, you can rest easy knowing that we stand behind the parts and the labor for 3 years/36,000 miles. That’s a nationwide warranty. Because We are The Professionals You Can Trust.