Wheel bearings are an essential part of your vehicle’s suspension system. They are responsible for allowing the wheels to spin freely while supporting the weight of the car. However, over time, these bearings can wear out, leading to a host of problems, including strange noises. In this article, we will discuss what a bad rear wheel bearing sounds like and how to identify it.
What is a Rear Wheel Bearing?
A wheel bearing is a set of steel balls held together by a metal ring called a race. The bearing is located inside a hub, which is the part that holds the wheel. In most rear-wheel-drive vehicles, the rear wheel bearing is a tapered roller bearing. This type of bearing can handle both radial and axial loads, which is important since the wheels must be able to support the weight of the car while also handling the sideways forces of turns.
What are the Symptoms of a Bad Rear Wheel Bearing?
A bad rear wheel bearing can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Grinding or growling noise from the rear of the vehicle
- Vibration felt in the steering wheel, floorboard, or seat
- Pulling to one side while driving
- Uneven tire wear
- ABS light comes on
What Does a Bad Rear Wheel Bearing Sound Like?
The most common symptom of a bad rear wheel bearing is a grinding or growling noise coming from the tire area. The noise may start as a low-pitched hum and gradually get louder as the bearing continues to wear. You may notice the noise more when driving at higher speeds or when turning. The noise may also change pitch or go away when you apply the brakes.
How to Check for a Bad Rear Wheel Bearing?
If you suspect you have a bad rear wheel bearing, you can check for it by performing the following steps:
- Jack up the rear of the vehicle and secure it on jack stands.
- Grab the tire at the top and bottom and try to wiggle it back and forth. If there is any play, the bearing may be worn.
- Spin the tire by hand and listen for any grinding or growling noises.
Can a Bad Rear Wheel Bearing Cause Damage?
If a bad rear wheel bearing is not replaced, it can cause damage to other parts of the vehicle. For example, if the bearing is so worn that it allows the wheel to wobble, it can cause uneven tire wear, which can lead to premature tire failure. Additionally, if the bearing completely fails, the wheel can come off while driving, which can be extremely dangerous.
How to Replace a Bad Rear Wheel Bearing?
If you have determined that you have a bad rear wheel bearing, it is important to have it replaced as soon as possible. Wheel bearings are not a DIY job, and it is recommended that you take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for repair. The mechanic will need to remove the hub assembly from the vehicle and press out the old bearing before installing a new one.
A bad rear wheel bearing can cause a variety of problems, including strange noises, vibration, and uneven tire wear. If you suspect you have a bad rear wheel bearing, it is important to have it checked out as soon as possible. By identifying and repairing the problem early, you can prevent further damage to your vehicle and ensure your safety on the road.