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What is a wheel bearing?

Wheel bearings are easy maintenance components however, this doesn’t mean that they will last for a lifetime. What exactly does the wheel bearing actually perform? What is its lifespan? How can you prolong its life?

What exactly is a wheel bearing? What is it used for in an automobile?

The wheel bearing a vital element of the wheel which connects the wheel with the axle. It’s a set made consisting of balls made from steel (ball bearings) or tapers (tapered bearings) that are joined by a ring of metal. It allows the wheel to spin without a lot of friction. Wheel bearings are critical safety components that are designed to withstand the axial and radial loads caused by acceleration, gravitational and cornering forces and therefore, they must replace when they cease to function in a proper manner.

For the best Alko wheel bearing get in touch with our team.

How long will the life of a wheel bearing?

Wheel bearings are able to last an average life span of 136,000-160,000 kilometers (approximately 85,000-100,000 miles). This is merely a standard of reference the actual life span of the wheel bearing is contingent on the condition of its wheel bearing as well as its operating environment.

What causes wheel bearings to fail?

The most common reasons why the wheel bearings fail are:

A poor installation or using the wrong tools like the hammer or the impact wrench may create damage on the outside or the interior of the wheel’s end bearing, causing it to wear out early. Re-using old components like nuts, bolts, circlips seals ,… instead of replacing them with new ones could result in the wheel’s end bearing to run in unsafe or unnatural circumstances, which can increase wear on the bearings at the wheel’s edge and the possibility of a car accident.

Damage from impact or poor road quality – any impacts caused by driving over potholes or speed bump or hitting the curbstone could cause damage to a wheel bearing and shorten its lifespan.

A poor quality wheel bearing the wheel bearing is constantly under immense pressure. Wheel bearings made from low-quality materials could have poor heat treatment that can cause premature wear and eventual failure.

Driving conditions such as deep mud or water can cause the wheel bearings to fail. Mud, water or other pollutants like road salt or dust could pass through the seals and get into the bearing, contaminating the grease and causing wear to the bearings.

Car modifications like fitting larger or larger rims, tires that have lower thread walls, and stiffer shock absorbers, and suspension springs can cause more stress on the wheel bearings and could accelerate wear. Keep tires, rims, shock springs and absorbers that have been recommended by the manufacturer of the car to limit the effect on the life span that the bearings on your wheel last.

What are the signs of worn-out wheel bearings?

The signs of worn wheel bearings are:

A rumbling, humming or growling sound that gets louder when the vehicle is moving or as the vehicle is turned.
A continuous, constant whining or grinding sound that occurs while the vehicle is moving.
Noises of clunkiness when driving on rough road surfaces.
Insufficient play, looseness in the wheel (vague steering);
Steering wheel vibration that is influenced by the speed of the vehicle or when the vehicle rotates;
ABS malfunctioning. ABS system problems could be caused by a malfunction in the ABS sensor that is embedded in the wheel’s bearing at the end.

What are the dangers of driving on roads with faulty wheel bearings?

It’s not common that wheel bearings fail in a single instance and then completely after you have noticed the first symptom(s).

But it’s important to steer clear of driving on an old wheel bearing for any period of time. As we’ve seen before that this wheel bearing will be vital for connecting your car’s wheel to the road and any weak spot in this connection could result in devastating consequences for your drive-axle and steering mechanism and also for your safety.

Removing the wheel bearings

Even though contemporary wheel bearings have become less difficult to install than older models and are more secure to install, the use of the right tools, and observing the stipulated torque limits are still vital to ensure the best performance, durability , and security. Therefore, we suggest having your wheel bearings installed by a qualified mechanic who has the expertise and tools needed to perform the task.