The Importance of Your Car’s Wheel Bearings
The Importance of Your Car’s Wheel Bearings
A wheel bearing is a crucial part of the wheel assembly that connects the wheel and the axle. It is a set of
steel balls (ball bearings) or tapers (tapered bearings), held together by a metal ring. It enables the wheel to
rotate smoothly with a minimum of friction. Wheel bearings are safety critical components designed to sustain
radial and axial loads caused by gravitation, acceleration, breaking & cornering forces, so they need to be
replaced when they stop working properly.
Faulty installation – inappropriate tools such as a hammer or an impact wrench can cause damage to the
exterior and or interior of the wheel end bearing causing the wheel bearing to fail prematurely. Also, re-
using the old accessories such as bolts, nuts, circlips, split pins, seals,… instead of replacing them with new
ones can cause the wheel end bearing to operate under abnormal or unsafe conditions, increasing wheel end bearing
wear and risk of a car accident.
Impact damage or poor road quality – all impacts from driving through a pothole, driving over speed bumps or
hitting the curbstone can damage a wheel bearing and reduce its lifespan.
Poor quality wheel bearing – a wheel bearing is continuously under enormous pressure. Wheel
bearings constructed of low-quality materials can have poor heat-
treatment, resulting in premature wear and failure.
Driving conditions – driving through deep water or mud can cause your wheel bearings to fail. Water, mud or
other contaminants such as dust or road salt could get past the seals and enter the bearing, polluting the grease
and wearing away the bearings.
Car modifications – fitting bigger or wider rims, tires with lower thread walls, stiffer shock absorbers and
suspension springs cause higher loads on the wheel bearing and can accelerate wear. Stick to rims, tires, shock
absorbers and springs that are specified by the car manufacturer to minimize the impact on the longevity of the
It’s very rare for wheel bearings to fail immediately and completely after you notice the first symptom
Having said that, it is best to avoid driving with a worn wheel bearing for any length of time. As we’ve
already seen, the wheel bearing is essential for connecting your wheel to your car, and any weakness in this
connection could have severe consequences for your drive-axle and steering assembly – as well as for your safety.
Replacing your wheel bearings
Despite the fact that modern auto bearing are
easier to install than previous generations, correct installation, the usage of appropriate tools and respecting
the specified torque values are still essential for maximum performance, durability and safety. Therefore, we
recommend having your wheel bearings fitted by a professional mechanic that has the skills and the tools to do the
The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be
used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult
with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics
covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any
The increasing preference for personal mobility in the post-COVID period will boost the growth of automobiles
and components such as agriculture
machinery bearing. Additionally, the Indian automotive bearings market is expected to benefit from the shift
of production lines of the global automotive bearings manufacturers to the emerging economies.
Nachi-Fujikoshi, a prominent manufacturer of automotive bearings, has announced its plan to move its
production of general-purpose bearings from Japan and Taiwan to Thailand. The move is to reduce production costs
for automotive bearings. The recent introduction of production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes for automotive
components by the government of India will play a crucial role in attracting global players to set up
manufacturing facilities in India.
The growing demand for light-weight and durable bearings from the automotive industry is leading the prominent
bearing manufacturers such as SKF India, Schaeffler India, and NRB Bearings to focus on adopting new raw
materials, instead of traditional high-grade steel. For instance, SKF India is manufacturing automotive bearings
with alloys that are 10%-12% lighter than traditional bearings made from high-grade steel. The vendors are
increasing spending on R&D for the development of lightweight technology. In 2019, Schaeffler India spent 1.34% of
revenue on R & D.
Auto mechanics all over the country take advantage of the public’s limited knowledge about automotive
mechanics and engineering. Many drivers assume that their mechanic knows more about the subject of what’s going
on with their cars than they do, and feel they have no choice but to trust their “expert” opinions. This happens
frequently with recommended part replacements—especially with wheel bearings.
Wheel bearings play an integral role in your car’s overall functioning and performance. Wheel bearings can
indeed become damaged or worn out over time, and under these circumstances it is critical to replace them if need
be. However, this is one of the opportunities that automotive shops seize to upsell their product and services. If
you’ve ever heard the phrase, “well, if you’ve replaced one you should replace the other” then you’ve likely
overpaid for automotive services. In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of wheel bearings for your
car. We’ll also discuss when industrial bearing
should realistically be replaced and what you can do to keep your car in excellent condition moving forward.
Wheel bearings are critical for your car’s performance. They reside inside a wheel to help the wheel rotate
smoothly and competently by decreasing the amount of friction created by other various parts of the drivetrain
system. When wheel bearings become damaged or require replacement, it can lead to devastating effects if not
replaced properly. When wheel bearings are not replaced with the proper tools, equipment, and attention to detail,
it can cause further, more significant damage to the part over time. Bearing assemblies are a simple mechanical
design, but their function is essential to the smooth rotation of your wheels. When one wheel bearing goes bad, it
can cause a concerning noise coming from your wheel, especially at higher speeds, and it can cause other gradual
side effects to your alignment and wheel balance.
When Wheel Bearings Need to Be Replaced
Wheel bearings are made of tough, durable material, which means that they generally last a long time in cars.
However, they can still require replacement under the right circumstances. If you have noticed any strange noises
coming from your wheel as you’re driving, consider if any of the following could apply to your car:
Although wheel bearings are sturdy parts alone, the impact from an accident can cause the
auto wheel bearing to become
damaged. After the rough impact of a car accident, especially if the accident was a side impact, it’s common to
encounter broken seals in the bearing assembly, which leads to a contaminated bearing. When grease gets inside
through a broken seal, it causes too much friction, which can chip the bearings and cause them to begin to
Wheel bearings need to be replaced under somewhat rare circumstances, including when they are replaced
improperly to begin with. Whenever a wheel bearing or a bearing assembly is replaced, the wheels should be
balanced and aligned in order to prevent further damage. This can save you a lot of money in the long run, all you
need to do is find an honest mechanic!
Automotive engineering is not a perfect science; many vehicle parts come with defects and wear issues. Cars
that are well designed generally have fewer defects, but some cars were simply manufactured with a propensity for
wheel bearing issues somewhere throughout the course of the vehicle’s life.
Usually automotive shops recommend that if one wheel bearing becomes damaged that the corresponding wheel’s
bearing should also be replaced (i.e. front driver’s side and front passenger’s side). While this might make
sense for the sake of symmetry, depending on the condition of the other wheel bearing it is usually not necessary
to replace both for this reason alone. Here at Santa Barbara Autowerks we pride ourselves on honesty and
integrity; we don’t offer services or replacements to our clients unless they’re necessary for their safety or
will save them money and energy in the future. As one of the highest quality leading dealership alternatives in
Santa Barbara, CA, we tailor our services to German-engineered vehicles, making us experts in German vehicle
repair and maintenance. We are passionate about and highly experienced in working with cars like Audi, BMW,
Mercedes, Porsche, MINI, and Volkswagen. If you think your German car’s wheel bearing might need to be replaced,
please contact us for an honest, expert opinion without a hidden agenda.