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How Much Does It Cost To Replace Wheel Bearings?

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Jul 14,2023


Wheel bearings are a set of rigid steel ball bearings that form an essential part of a vehicle's steering, suspension, and braking systems. They are located inside a sealed metal casing in the vehicle's axles and roll around for the smooth spinning of the wheels.

Usually, wheel bearings are designed to last as long as the vehicle and don't require scheduled replacements or lubrication. They, however, wear out over time and will have to be replaced. These could result from water, sand, mud, or road salt that gets through the bearing seals and contaminates the grease, increasing friction and eventually causing the bearing to wear out. Also, driving over potholes, speed humps, and curbs with speed can cause premature damage to the wheel bearings. This article points out the tell-tale signs of worn-out wheel bearings and discusses replacement costs.

Signs Of A Worn-Out Wheel Bearing

Humming Noise

It is the most common and easy-to-identify symptom of a worn-out wheel bearing. The problem, however, is that such noises can result from multiple issues. Hence the best way is to identify where the noise emanates. If it's from one of the wheels, then the bearing on that wheel could be the issue.

Squealing or Grinding Noise

Pay attention to squealing or grinding noise as the vehicle moves. As the speed increases, the noise also increases, and it means the bearing needs a mechanic’s touch.

Clicking Sound

A worn-out bearing can also cause clicking sounds during movement and intensify as the vehicle accelerates.

Wobbling Wheels

The wheels of the vehicle wobble when in motion. To ascertain the possibility of a damaged wheel bearing, technicians put the vehicle on a lift and shake the wheels. You can also do this by jacking up the vehicle near the wheel with the issue and checking whether that wheel wobbles. Generally, a well-fit wheel assembly should not show any sign of shaking. Hence the wheel bearing needs attention if it shakes during the check.

ABS Failure 

The wheels' wobbling distorts the wheel speed sensor's proper operation, which leads to the anti-lock braking system (ABS) failure. The ABS warning light will illuminate as a result.

Vehicle Moves Sideways During Braking

The vehicle moves to one side towards the location of the worn-out bearing anytime the brake is applied. The movement could also result from a problem with the brake rotors. Hence it is vital to have a technician attend to the vehicle.

Vibrations In the Steering Wheel

Worn-out bearings cause vibrations in the steering wheel and make the vehicle turn left or right. The problem intensifies as speed increases. However, other issues can also lead to the same problem, such as unbalanced wheels, flat spots, or damaged suspension parts.

Reduced Steering Feedback

The steering wheel becomes less responsive or precise, making it difficult to control the vehicle. However, this could also result from improper wheel alignment.

Uneven Tire Wear

The tire on the wheel with worn-out bearings usually wears out faster than other tires. But other factors can also lead to the same problem. These include underinflated or overinflated tires, improper alignment, or damaged suspension components.

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