Rear wheel bearing noise diagnosis

Signs of a worn wheel hub bearing vary in severity. Some may be difficult to detect, leading to damage before corrective action can be taken.

Noise is a classic sign of a bad wheel bearing or wheel hub bearing. Here are some indicators of a worn wheel hub bearing or other wheel-end damage:. This can indicate a worn or damaged outer CV-joint. However, it also can be related to excessive bearing endplay, usually associated with inadequate clamping.

This noise is typically heard when cornering or making sharp turns.

rear wheel bearing noise diagnosis

Typically, this means there is mechanical damage in a wheel-end system. Related to a bearing, it means a loss of integrity such as roller or raceway damage. The noise is normally heard when turning or when there is a shift in load.

This can signal excessive play in the CV-joints or U-joints. It also can be caused by excessive backlash in the differential gears. This is not generally associated with bearings and is normally heard either when shifting from changing directions, such as from forward to reverse or transitioning from accelerating to coasting.

These noises are normally associated with tire, electrical or drivetrain components. If bearing-related, the noise or vibration is present when driving in a straight line, but intensifies when turning the steering wheel slightly to the left or right.

Typically, the side opposite the rumbling is the defective side. This is generally associated with a damaged or worn tire, wheel or suspension component or severe chassis misalignment. When related to the hub or bearing, this normally indicates the loss of clamp or a bearing with extreme mechanical damage.

It also can occur when lug nuts are not properly torqued. This is normally associated with worn or damaged suspension components or tires that are out-of-balance or out-of-round. It is not normally indicative of hub or bearing damage.

How to Diagnose Wheel Bearing Noise

This is normally indicative of a defective caliper or equalizer, but it also can be a sign of worn brakes or rotors. However, severe looseness related to a bearing can also cause excessive runout, which may cause the brakes to pulsate or pull. The most common cause is a warped rotor due to the caliper not retracting. There are many causes of abnormal tire wear.

The most common are worn or damaged suspension components, misalignment, improper inflation or tire selection. While extreme bearing wear or looseness can cause abnormal tire wear, it is typically related to other failure modes.

In extreme cases, internal and external sensors can be damaged from excessive movement caused by too much end-play. This indicates a lack or loss of bearing clamp. This normally results from severe mechanical break up or damage. Additionally, in designs where the sensor is mounted externally, sensor damage can result from corrosion, stones and other hazards.Identifying wheel bearing noise allows to solve problems occurring in the operation of the wheel in a timely manner.

If your vehicle has run for long miles and hasn't received any inmate servicing, it's time to get a thorough look, as this could lead to bearing related problems soon. Detecting the noise in wheel bearings can be a tricky job.

However, with the correct understanding of how to diagnose the problem, it becomes easy to solve noise-related issues in wheel bearings.

A rumbling or cyclic noise can be heard in wheel bearings with problems in their smooth functioning. If the driver senses even a slight problem in the smooth running of wheels, he should go for wheel bearing noise diagnosis.

If the problem of bearing noise is not addressed in a timely manner, it can hamper the functioning of wheels. The noise emanating from wheel bearings can differ from wheel to wheel depending on the degree of damage caused to them. At first, the noise originating from wheels might sound like a whistle. However, if the problem worsens, the noise could grow louder. Therefore, it is necessary to find out the exact cause of noise. Would you like to write for us?

Well, we're looking for good writers who want to spread the word. Get in touch with us and we'll talk One should drive the vehicle along a circular path, both clockwise and anti-clockwise, in order to find out which of the wheels left or right emits the sound caused by a damaged bearing. Therefore, one can say that the noise heard at regular intervals, while driving at a steady speed, is a sign of problem associated with bearings. Friction between dry areas of bearings produces a humming sound; the sound repeats at regular intervals.

While spinning the wheel with one hand, one should place the other hand on the strut assembly. If there is any problem in the smooth functioning of wheel bearing, a noise can be heard. It is necessary to lift the vehicle to find out the side from which the noise originates. Wiggling the tire back and forth should helps us understand whether the tire is fitted loosely or not.

In such cases, diagnosing the problem associated with bearing noise can be difficult. It is important that you vary the speed because there are certain cars which make noise only at certain speeds. It must be dealt with or repaired at the earliest.

While diagnosing the problem of wheel bearing noise, one should check if there are any cracks on the surface of the bearing.

How to Diagnose Rear Differential Noise

Even smaller cracks can later on cause big problems. To detect the minute cracks, one should diagnose the bearing in bright light. Cracked, pitted or worn out bearings should be replaced. The parts which bear the hub bore and spindles should also be checked for any kind of damage.But how exactly does the motion of the piston or crankshaft convert to the rotational motion of the wheels? The differential is the final end mechanism that enables the creation of torque in the crankshaft before it is distributed through the transmission, to the drive shaft, and then to the wheels.

This part serves to transmit engine power to the wheels while also enabling them to have different rotation speeds. The pair of driving wheels in a vehicle does not rotate at the same speed during a turn. In situations like this, the wheel on the turning side inside wheel rotates slower than its counterpart outside wheel. To put it simply, this mechanism is the one that decides the speed and the frequency of the turning of the axle and wheels in relation to the turning of the drive shaft.

This is often referred to ring and pinion ratio. If for example you have a rear gear ratio of 3.

Learn How to Identify Wheel Bearing Noise to Avert Danger

The differential doses the power to the two wheels at the exact proportions and speed to ensure that stability is kept to the maximum and strain on the drivetrain, differential components and tires is kept at a minimum.

Two wheels on a drive axle without a differential in the middle would result in both wheels receiving the same power at all times. Having a differential however, enables each wheel to act individually. Why should you care? Well this makes a world of a difference when turning. Simply put, the differential allows each wheel to be independent from the other while still sending power to both of them.

When one wheel is spinning slower on a curb, the mechanism will keep driving the other wheel without any skidding, binding or jerking. It the differential would not be present, we would have wheels locked together at the same speed in a turn.

This would make turning difficult and with a high probability of losing control. Besides turning, other issues could arise from the drivetrain as it would be exposed to high forces.

What would happen is that one tire would need to grab and slip in order to maintain the same speed as the other one leading to the transmission of the force through the axle to all its components resulting in a huge strain on axle components and tires that leads to premature wear.

Rear differentials give out noticeable symptoms once they start wearing out or getting damaged. Usually once your differential goes bad you might experience any of the following:. The rear differential is made up of many gears with teeth entwined with each other. The effectiveness of its function is dependent on how precise these gears are arranged and oriented relative to each other. If, for example, lubrication runs low on the mechanism or the arrangement of the gears goes out of place, rear differential noise occurs.

Gear whine, bearing noise and clunking are common rear differential noises that should be a concern to vehicle owners. As a bearing begins to wear, friction increases and metal material is worn down making often bad noises until it finally fails. Failing bearings can make whistle noise or a roaring grinding type of noise. Often the noise get louder as the cars speed or load increases.So if your mechanic tells you that the wheel bearing has to be replaced, you have no other choice but to replace it.

Here, you will learn what a wheel bearing is, what function it performs, and how to diagnose wheel bearing noise in car. The idea is to enable you to easily recognize next time when wheel bearing makes noise in the car. Though the shape and the type of the bearing may differ from vehicle to vehicle but their purpose always remain the same — to help rotate the wheel. The wheel bearing is installed in the hub where it fits nicely so that it can perform its function of spinning the wheel.

Over time, wheel bearings lose their strength and become weak.

BAD wheel bearing sounds \u0026 how to diagnose them - In depth

As they get weak, they make noise and this is where you have to figure it out, and replace them. It is destroyed by water and excessive heat. Though all the bearings are properly sealed, wear and tear eventually damages the seal. When a seal is damaged, water and debris enter the bearing and it fails to perform its function.

Wheel Bearing Warning Signs

When a bearing fails, it makes noise. Initially, the noise will be too quiet to hear. You will not be able to notice it, but within a few weeks, the noise will get louder. Soon, you will hear a constant noise throughout the journey. Because you have to drive the car to hear the noise. When the car stops, the noise stops.

When you are in the driving seat, listen closely. Do you hear a rotating sound that is rhythmic and increases with the speed? Does it gets louder and then disappears at certain speeds? If so, you probably have noise from a wheel bearing.

With another person in the vehicle, get your car on a lift and have them run it at a decent speed. Listen to the noise from all the wheels. You will be able to point which wheel bearing are making noise.

This is a pro method where you have to drive your car at 50 mph and sway your car to the right and then to left, and so on. Do it slowly. If the rhythmic sound shifts from left to right, your car has a wheel bearing issue. To spot the exact wheel which has the issue, listen closely when you sway car to the left if noise decreases the issue is on the right side.

If the noise decreases when you sway to the right, one of the wheel bearings on the left side has failed. Once you have spotted that one or more wheel bearings are making noise, the only solution is to replace the damaged ones, and your ride will become noiseless once again. Share Pin Tweet 0 shares. Table of Contents. Facebook Pinterest Twitter.If you want detailed guide to help you handle various kinds of Wheel bearing noise diagnosis, this is a complete guide for you to apply.

In this post discussed both front wheel bearing noise symptoms and rear wheel bearing noise symptoms. One of the symptom of a bad wheel bearing is a cyclic chirping, squealing or growling noise that changes as the vehicle is on motion.

This sound sometimes goes away at some speeds level or only occur at certain speed level.

rear wheel bearing noise diagnosis

And sometimes the noise might get worse when turning, or it may disappear momentarily. We will explain it in a simple way for you to understand it. This is a set of steel balls that is held together in a metal ring, called a race. And at the center of your wheels, there is a hollow piece of metal, called a hub. However, this wheel bearings fit tightly inside this hub, and ride on a metal axle shaft, which helps in reducing friction when the wheel spins.

Please note that these are different from the engine bearings, because as you should already know that there is no constant source of lubrication for the wheel bearings, and this simply mean that they need to be tight enough to keep away water and road dust. And another thing is that they also support the entire vehicle weight while driving, which is why they suffer a lot of abuse from rough roads, potholes and as well as lateral forces when turning. If they are not properly functioning, a car runs with the risk of accidents.

And similarly, wheel bearings are very critical for the wheels to work in harmony with the hub and tires. So how do you tell which wheel bearing is bad? To answer this, the first thing is to make sure that the bearing is really the one that is producing the noise you hear since this one is very subtle, and it is better heard at slower speed. To identify which one is bad, you have to drive and be attentive to the sound. And in case the noise decreases when you slowly drive to the right, then the damaged bearing might be on the left wheel.

It has been noticed that the noise of a broken wheel bearing sounds similar to a brake pad dragging or humming. But you should check if there is any clearance between the wheel and the part that supports it. To solve this, lift your vehicle with the help of a hydraulic jack and push the wheel towards you with back and forth movements. However, if one wheel is hotter than the others, then it might be a bad bearing. But you want to know how long will a wheel bearing last after it starts making noise or exhibiting symptoms of failure.

First, how is the bearing failing? Is it howling, or is it grinding? Does it have excessive free play in the wheel or hub? And when did the noise becomes unbearable?

However, what you should know is that if you can hear the noise or feel it, then the bearing has already been damaged. Although this is only a rule of thumb, the actual lifespan of a wheel bearing depends on the quality of the wheel bearing and the operating conditions. Our best recommendation is to change it once it starts making noise to avoid the risk of accident.

For those who keep wondering what can happen if you have a bad wheel bearing, you should know that it can lead to pulling to one side while braking which can be very risky for you. Below are what can happen if you have a bad wheel bearing. Whenever you are turning, the outside wheel works harder, which means the bad wheel bearing, will not amplify in sound anytime you turn on the side with the good bearing and the bad wheel bearing will reduce in sound when turning on the side with the bad bearing.

Note that if there is any noticeable sound from the wheels while driving that amplifies or reduces when turning can indicate that the wheel bearing is bad. Anytime you accelerate, a bad wheel bearing with a broken seal can wear down the parts inside the bearing, which leads to a grinding noise or vibrations that amplifies. A wheel bearings have seals which protects the inner working parts, and they are made to reduce friction and let the wheel spin in a smooth way.

But bad wheel bearing will prevent this from happening. And also, a worn down wheel bearing can lead to a play at the wheel, which leads to looser steering.

However, this usually happens from dirt or debris going inside, causing it to work less smoothly. However, if the wheel makes a noise while turning or does not turn in a smooth way, the wheel bearing is likely to be replaced. Once done, the wheel will feel loose at either of these positions if the bearing is bad, and, since many vehicles come with the bearing and wheel as an assembly, both will likely have to be replaced.You already know that your car cannot function safely or properly without good, sturdy wheels.

What you may not know is that the wheel is far from a simple component. Actually, there is a lot of complexity that goes into the design of a wheel, and several components that must all be integrated together.

A good example of this is the wheel bearing. Wheel bearings are critical for your wheels to work together—specifically, for the hub, tire, and assemblies to work harmoniously. A wheel bearing is a set of steel balls held together in a metal ring, called a race. At the center of your wheels, there is a hollow piece of metal, called a hub. The wheel bearings fit tightly inside this hub, and ride on a metal axle shaft, helping reduce friction when the wheel spins. These are different from the engine bearings, as there is no constant source of lubrication for the wheel bearings, which means they need to be tight enough to keep away water and road dust.

They also support the entire vehicle weight while driving, which is why they suffer a lot of abuse from rough roads, potholes, as well as lateral forces when turning. As with most automotive components, the wheel bearing can eventually give way to wear and tear, and may even need to be replaced. Pay attention to some of the key warning signs of a bad wheel bearing. Other types include tapered roller bearings, mainly used for trucks, and precision ball bearings, designed for intense radial loads.

Regardless of the type your vehicle has, the warning signs are the same, specifically a bad wheel bearing sound. Noise can be misleading: a humming noise while driving can be caused by several different issues, starting with your tires, but it can also be the wheel bearing or CV joint.

You can also tell that the sound is related to wheel bearings if it changes in proportion to vehicle speed. The sound can get worse with every turn, or it can disappear momentarily. Howling noise that solely occurs during deceleration is a pretty good indicator of loose pinion-bearing preload. They also tend to make a rumbling sound when turning.

In short: A problem with the wheel bearings can compromise the smoothness of your ride and the longevity of your tires, but more than that, it can cause real safety concerns. As such, it is important to have wheel bearings inspected at the first sign of trouble.

Be attuned to these warning signs. At the first sign of trouble, take the vehicle in to have the wheel bearings inspected by a pro. Find a Meineke Shop Nearby. A: No. It can, in fact, be very dangerous to drive if one of your bearings is worn out, especially since it may cause the wheel to stop while driving.

Additionally, a damaged wheel bearing puts a lot of stress on the hub, the CV joint, and the transmission itself. A: A bad wheel bearing can cause several potentially dangerous situations, starting with your vehicle not being as responsive as it should be.

Your tires will also wear out faster, and you can experience uneven tire wear. Last, but not least, your wheel can fall off completely while driving, as the bearing is an essential part of keeping the wheel attached to your car. A: A wheel bearing replacement is a standard job, so the cost should be very straightforward, depending on your vehicle year, make, and model. However, if other related issues are discovered, such as having to remove the steering knuckle in order to replace the wheel bearing, or having to replace some suspension components, then the costs will vary.

A: Noise is the most common symptom of a bad wheel bearing.Eddie spent 35 years in the automotive business with Honda.

Your mechanic says you need a wheel bearing, but you wonder "What is that? I'll tell you what a wheel bearing is, its job, where it's located, and what it sounds like when it's damaged.

A wheel bearing is a set of steel balls held together by a metal ring called a race. They help wheels spin fast with as little friction as possible. They are used on all kinds of vehicles, from bicycles to aircraft and cars.

On a car, a wheel bearing rides on a metal axle shaft and fits tightly inside the hub, which is a hollow chunk of metal at the center of the wheel. The hub holds the lug bolts that you use to bolt the tire onto the wheel. The wheel bearing is pressed into the hub from the back.

rear wheel bearing noise diagnosis

When bearings are damaged and making noise, it's hard to diagnose because you have to drive the vehicle in order to reproduce the sound. Here are tips to help you find the source of the problem:. Most wheel bearings are hardened steel and can withstand a lot of abuse. Its two worst enemies are heat and water. Heat caused by lack of lubrication can destroy a wheel bearing. Water that penetrates a sealed bearing will also destroy it. Most wheel bearings manufactured today are sealed.

They come from the factory pressed together as an assembly: front race, bearing set, center race, bearing set, and outer race, with seals on both the front and rear. Seals protect bearings from the elements, water, and debris, and they also seal in the high-temperature grease the bearing needs. When a seal is broken or damaged, the wheel bearing will fail and start making noise.

As explained in the video below, if you really want to know whether your noise is a bearing noise and you can get the car up on a lift, you can use an improvised stethoscope actually a big screwdriver to listen to the sound and find out where it's coming from.

Have someone in the vehicle start it and run it at about 40 mph. Using a long screwdriver or stethoscope, rest it on the hub near each wheel bearing. Don't let the tool touch a moving part, or it could fly up and hit you. Listen through the handle of the screwdriver or through the stethoscope for the noise, and I guarantee you will be able to determine which bearing is bad. Wheel bearings do not fail immediately, and usually give you some time before you need to have them replaced.

I suppose if a wheel bearing failed completely it could lock up and prevent the car from moving. Then again, my daughter drove on a noisy bearing for six months and nothing happened except that it got louder and louder. You shouldn't necessarily have the bearings on both sides replaced.


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