If a wheel bearing is bad, it will make noise when you turn. If you’re unsure which wheel bearing is bad, there are two ways to tell.
1. Listen for noise while driving at slow speeds. When the car is in gear and moving forward or reverse at low speed (10-15 mph), listen for a loud clunking noise when the car turns. This clunking is most likely coming from one of the front wheels, as they tend to wear more than the rears. If you hear this noise only when turning right, that indicates a problem with the right front wheel bearing; if you hear it only while turning left, that indicates a problem with the left front wheel bearing.
2. Look for visible movement from inside the tire well area under your car when you turn. If you see movement from inside your tire well when turning one direction (left or right), then that indicates that there is play in your front wheel bearings on that side of your vehicle.
Jack up your vehicle and secure it in place.
Put a jack stand under the frame of your vehicle, directly behind the wheel that is giving you trouble. Make sure that the jack stand is securely in place, then lower the jack until it touches the floor. Lowering your vehicle this way will take much less time than jacking up each wheel individually.
Put on safety glasses and use a torque wrench to loosen the lug nuts on both sides of your car’s axle. Once all of them are loose, remove both wheels from their mounting points on your car.
Look for signs of damage. If you see any cracks or chips in either wheel bearing, you’ll need to replace it before driving again. Any damage could cause further problems with your car’s alignment or handling down the road if left unchecked.
Spin the tire by hand and listen for any grinding or screeching noises.
The front wheel bearings are located in the front of your vehicle, while the rear wheel bearings are located in the back. You can tell which wheel bearing is bad by listening to it when you spin the tire by hand.
The front wheel bearings are located on either side of your vehicle’s steering system. You can easily tell which side is bad if you listen carefully to both sides while spinning the tires.
The sound should be smooth and consistent. If you hear any grinding or screeching, that means that there is a problem with one or both of your front wheel bearings.
If you hear grinding or screeching coming from the back end of your vehicle, it could mean that one or both of your rear wheel bearings are damaged or worn out. The process for identifying which side is bad is similar to identifying a bad front wheel bearing — simply listen for any abnormal noises coming from each side while spinning the tires by hand.
Feel the wheel while spinning. It should be smooth with no vibration.
Diagnosing wheel bearings can be a difficult process, but it is important to get it right. If the bearings are bad, they will eventually wear out and cause your wheel to shake. This can lead to more serious problems if not corrected. The first step in diagnosing wheel bearings is to determine whether it is a front or rear bearing that is causing the problem.
Front wheel bearings can be diagnosed by feeling for vibration in the steering wheel while you spin the wheel by hand. If there is any vibration, or if the steering wheel feels rough when you spin it, then this indicates that the front wheel bearing may be bad. In most cases, this will be caused by a loose nut or bolt on either side of your vehicle’s hub assembly. This type of problem is common with older vehicles because these parts tend to loosen over time due to age and exposure to road salt during winter months.
Rear wheel bearings are slightly more difficult to diagnose because they are located inside your vehicle’s differential case, which makes them harder to access without removing other parts first (like removing your drive axle).
Jack up the other side of the vehicle and swap tires.
If you have a jack, jack up the vehicle and swap tires. If not, drive to a safe place where you can jack up one side of the vehicle and swap tires. This will help eliminate wheel bearing noise caused by unbalanced tires (they are wearing on one side). Be sure to put weight on both sides of your vehicle when you lift it!
Listen for any unusual noises while you have your ears pressed against each wheel hub. If you hear an unusual grinding or clicking sound, this is likely your wheel bearing. It should be repaired immediately before it causes further damage to other parts of your car.
If the noise persists, your other wheel is bad as well.
The wheel bearing is the component that allows the wheel to rotate freely on the axle. When a wheel bearing fails, it causes a loud clunking noise when you hit a bump in the road or when you’re driving in reverse.
If only one wheel is making a noise, then it’s likely that your other wheel is bad as well. You can test this by jacking up both sides of your vehicle and spinning each wheel by hand. If it starts making noise while being spun, then you know that’s bad and needs to be replaced.
If there’s no noise while spinning but still makes noise while driving, then it’s more likely that it’s just one wheel bearing that needs to be replaced.
Wheel bearings are located in pairs on each axle and need to be replaced in sets.
Each pair consists of the inner and outer bearings. The outer bearings support the load while the inner bearings guide the wheels. If a wheel bearing fails, it can cause an irregular tire wear pattern or vibration at speed.
In conclusion, keep in mind that a wheel bearing can definitely fail without warning. It might make a small clicking noise when you first hear it, or maybe your wheel is out of balance and you won’t know it until your tire blows on the side of the road. Either way, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and have the wheel bearings in your car checked every 10-15,000 miles (or sooner if it begins to feel weird).