A wheel bearing operates in a car as part of the suspension. They have two jobs. Wheel bearings support the vehicle's weight and allow the wheel to spin with minimal function. To perform these tasks properly, a wheel bearing must be in good condition. There cannot be any leaks. Once a wheel bearing starts to leak, your wheel bearing is in trouble. This allows water and dirt to enter in and the grease to leak out. The first sign of a bad wheel bearing is the noise it will make. The noise is usually a rumbling or thumping noise.
Recognising a Bad Wheel Bearing
Once you recognise the noise as a bad wheel bearing, you may also notice some other symptoms. The alignment will be off in your car. You will notice the car pulls to the side the bad bearing is on. The noise of the rumbling may disappear with certain speeds and may change when turning as well. A bad bearing is often mistaken for a bad CV joint. A bad CV joint noise is a clicking when turning. Your tire, when the car is parked, will move about 2 to 3 inches when you wiggle it. Your tire should not move at all.
What Happens When the Bearing Goes Out
After you have noticed your bearing is bad, you may unfortunately be driving when it goes out. If the bearing goes out while you are driving, the wheel may seize up. That means it will lock up and no longer turn like the rest of the wheels. One wheel not spinning may cause you to swerve off the road. Your wheel may also fly off the car. If the bearing goes bad while you are driving, it may also cause transmission problems. You won't be able to drive your car anymore after the bearing goes out. When the bearing goes out, it can also weld or melt to the wheel hub.
Repairing the Bearing
You want to do your best to keep control over the vehicle when the bearing goes out. As soon as you notice the bearing is bad, you want to take it to a mechanic or fix it yourself. A mechanic may charge between £195 to £325 to do the repair. Depending on the make of your car, it may cost you £39 to £97 to do the repair yourself. If you have never changed a bearing yourself and don't have the money for a mechanic, you can purchase a book on how to repair the bearing yourself.
Mechanic or Repair it Yourself
Repairing your wheel bearing as soon as you know it is bad is the safest option for you and your family. You can usually purchase a bearing at your local automotive parts store. If you are going to repair the bearing yourself, you can repair it on the spot. If you are going to have a mechanic do the repairs, you will want to tow the vehicle in.