How do I determine if a front wheel bearing is bad?

Written by jay motes
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How do I determine if a front wheel bearing is bad?
Whether a wheel bearing is bad is not difficult to determine. (alloy wheel image by Alexander Kataytsev from

A bad front wheel bearing can cause major problems that might result in damage to your car as well as possibly a dangerous driving situation. However, it is generally not difficult to determine if a wheel bearing is bad.

Signs of a Bad Wheel Bearing

A driver may notice a rumbling sound or a vibration when wheel bearings are going bad. The sound and vibration may be noticed at one speed and not another, or may increase in volume and frequency at higher speeds.

Testing a Wheel Bearing

To determine whether a front wheel bearing is bad, you must test the wheel for play. The front of the car should be safely lifted and secured before testing the wheel. Once the car is secured, test the wheel for play by grasping it firmly on opposite sides and wiggling it in all directions firmly. If it moves side to side or in and out, you may have a bearing problem. Also spin the wheel on its axle to see if it is moving freely.

Wheel Bearing Replacement

Wheel bearings are generally not expensive to replace, though prices will vary from one vehicle to another. Replacing wheel bearings is not difficult, but the process can take some time--which means it will be expensive if you let a repair shop do the work.

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