The most common way people fix a wheel hub and bearing noise….is turn up the radio. So let’s turn down the music and see if we can’t diagnose this properly.
Wheel hub and bearing assemblies are some of the hardest working parts on a vehicle. Not only do they support the weight of the vehicle as it runs over potholes and bumps, but it also has the task of holding the wheel on. Making sure that we correctly identify and diagnose a failure in a wheel bearing is a key to keeping vehicle safe. In most cases, the first sign of a wheel bearing failure will come in the form of a griding noise. A simple test drive can help to determine for sure if it is the bearing and which one. While driving, listen to figure out if the noise changes with road speed and not engine speed. A bad wheel hub and bearing assembly will change the noise it makes in relation to road speed. As you drive the vehicle, try different road surfaces. If the noise changes with the road surface, then it’s probably a tire noise instead of a wheel hub and bearing noise. What is sometimes tougher is to figure out which specific bearing is making the noise. To test this, long, easy turns will help you to load one side of the vehicle. If you go around a turn to the right and the noise gets louder, then it is the left side wheel hub and bearing that is worn. The opposite is true for a left handed turn. If the noise gets louder, it is the right hand or passenger side wheel hub and bearing assembly that’s faulty.
Once you’re done with the test drive, it’s time to put the vehicle on a lift to get a better look at things. You can spin the wheel and tire assembly to listen for noises and see if there’s any griding. Also, grab the wheel and tire assembly and shake it both from top to bottom and side to side. If you can see play coming from the wheel hub and bearing assembly, it’s time to replace it.
Replacing a worn wheel and hub assembly will help keep everyone safe, and also make it so the radio doesn’t have to be as loud.
This video is sponsored by GSP North America.