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Why do wheel bearings fail?

Wheel bearings are easy maintenance components however, it doesn’t mean they’ll last for a lifetime. So, what exactly does the Alko wheel bearing actually accomplish? How long will it last? What can you do to prolong its life?

What exactly is a wheel bearing? And what is it doing in an automobile?

The wheel bearing an essential element of the wheel which connects the wheel to the axle. It’s a set comprising steel balls (ball bearings) or tapers (tapered bearings) that are joined by a ring of metal. It allows the wheel to move effortlessly with minimal friction. Wheel bearings are crucial safety components that are designed to withstand the axial and radial loads caused by acceleration, gravitation and cornering forces which is why they should be repaired when they cease to function correctly.

How long will the wheel bearings last?

Wheel bearings can have an average life span of 136,000-160,000 kilometers (approximately 85,000-100,000 miles). This is merely a standard of reference the actual life span of the wheel bearing will depend on the condition of its wheel bearing as well as its operating environment.

Why do wheel bearings fail?

The primary reasons why wheel bearings fail is:

Incorrect installation or the use of tools, such as the hammer or the impact wrench could create damage on the outside or the interior of the wheel’s end bearing, causing it to wear out early. Additionally, using older accessories like nuts, bolts, circlips and seals ,… instead of replacing the old ones with new ones may result in the wheel’s end bearing to function in unsafe or unnatural conditions, causing more wear on the bearings at the wheel’s edge and the possibility of a car accident.

Damage from impact or poor road quality – any impact from hitting potholes or speed bump or hitting the curbstone could harm a bearing on a wheel and decrease its life span.

A poor quality wheel bearing A wheel bearing is under a lot of pressure. Wheel bearings made of poor quality materials may have inadequate heat treatment that can cause premature wear and eventual failure.

Driving conditions such as deep mud or water can cause the wheel bearings to fail. Mud, water or other pollutants like road salt or dust can be able to pass through seals and into the bearing, contaminating the grease and causing wear to the bearings.

Car modifications like fitting larger or larger rims, tires that have lower thread walls, and stiffer shock absorbers and suspension springs create more stress on the bearings of the wheel and may cause wear to increase. Make sure to stick with tires, rims, shock springs and absorbers that have been recommended by the manufacturer of the car to limit the effect on the lifespan of wheel bearings.

What are the signs of worn-out wheel bearings?

The signs of a damaged wheel bearings are:

A rumbling, humming or growling sound that intensifies when you accelerate or the vehicle is turned.
A continuous, constant whining or grinding sound that occurs while the vehicle is moving.
The sound of a clunk can be heard when driving on rough roads.
Insufficient play, looseness in the wheel (vague steering);
Steering wheel vibration that is influenced by the speed of the vehicle or when the vehicle rotates;
ABS malfunctioning. ABS system problems could be due to a failure in the ABS sensor that is embedded in the wheel’s bearing at the end.

What are the dangers of driving on roads with faulty wheel bearings?

It’s not common that wheel bearings fail instantly and completely once you first notice the symptom(s).

But it’s important to steer clear of driving on an old wheel bearing for any period of time. As we’ve seen before that this wheel bearing will be vital for connecting your vehicle’s wheels to your vehicle and any weakness in this connection can have serious consequences for your drive axle and steering mechanism and also to ensure your safety.

Removing the wheel bearings

Even though new wheel bearings can be simpler to install than older models and are more secure to install, the use of the right tools, and observing the stipulated torque specifications are essential to ensure maximum performance, durability , and security. We recommend that you have your wheel bearings replaced by a qualified mechanic who has the expertise and equipment to complete the task.