Wheel bearings are what keep your wheels attached to the car. These simple components are generally constructed of high-quality steel and intended to last 100,000 miles — possibly longer with proper maintenance.
The Function of Wheel Bearings
The bearings have two crucial roles:
- Allow the wheel to rotate with as little friction as possible
- Support the weight of the entire car
Let’s say your vehicle weighs roughly 3,600 pounds. That would mean each wheel is roughly 900 pounds or so, and that can be significant lifting, particularly over the course of thousands of miles of travel.
These fairly simple parts of the vehicle need to be in nearly perfect condition in order to function properly. For lubrication and protection, the bearings are packed with heavy-duty grease, and a seal makes sure that no water or dirt is able to contaminate this oily substance. When these seals start to give, that’s when the real problems start. The grease can become contaminated with foreign debris, causing the wheel bearings to overheat and eventually fail entirely.
Signs of Wheel Bearing Problems
The tell-tale sign that your wheel bearings have a problem is a noise coming from the wheel. It may sound like anything, from a chirp to a growl, to a low rumble. The noise may become louder or go away while traveling at certain speeds. An auto mechanic in San Diego can inspect your wheel bearing by lifting the car and checking for any signs of wear.
Repairing Wheel Bearings in San Diego
Certain wheel bearings are factory sealed, meaning that they cannot be serviced at all. They have to be completely replaced. For bearings that are not sealed, they can undergo routine service on a set schedule. This involves the bearings being removed, cleaned, and inspected. If they are still operable, they will be re-installed. However, if they have gone bad, they will need to be changed. At that point, they are caked in grease and a new seal is installed.
For a factory-sealed bearing, the entire component will need to be changed at any sign of trouble. These parts can be fairly expensive, but most will last around 150,000 miles — as long as the seal doesn’t break.
Even the best seal is unable to keep water out that is putting pressure on it. If you have driven through deep water, your bearings should be cleaned and repacked if they can be serviced. With factory-sealed bearings, you will have to look for any signs of premature wear or failure.
If you have serviceable bearings, your owner’s manual will provide a recommended interval, which is usually every 30,000 miles or so. If you have any problems, bring your car to a local auto repair shop in San Diego to have it checked out.
Tire Wheel San Diego
Automobile Repair Shop San Diego is a family-owned and operated repair shop that has provided quality auto repair in San Diego for years. We offer you hassle-free estimates and repairs in San Diego starting with a precise assessment of your vehicle’s current issues. We will tow your vehicle for FREE to our shop, organize a rental car, and work directly with the insurance company to streamline the repair process. We will even pay up to $500 of your deductible. Contact us today at (619) 330-0862 to see how we can help.