How to Determine Bad Wheel Bearings on a Buick Rendezvous

by William Zane

When it was launched in 2002, the Buick Rendezvous was meant to bridge the gap between minivan, luxury sedan and SUV. The wheel bearings on the Rendezvous are an important aspect of the suspension. The wheel bearings are located in the hub and allow the wheels to spin freely without resistance. Though the bearings are sealed and contained in grease, dirt can still enter the wheel bearing housing. If this happens, over time the wheel bearings can wear out, which can cause a potentially dangerous situation if the bearings are not replaced. A Rendezvous' wheel bearings should be inspected regularly and replaced if necessary.

Test-drive the vehicle. Bad wheel bearings can cause symptoms that are noticeable when the car is being driven. The steering may feel vague and imprecise and may also slightly wander back and forth. If you suspect the bearings need to be replaced, the vehicle should not be driven, particularly at freeway speeds, until the problem is fixed.

Listen for noise while the Buick is being driven. A bad wheel bearing may make a rubbing or a "shushing" noise when the wheel is rolling. This noise may become more pronounced when the wheel is turned and the vehicle is being driven around a corner. Other noises may include chirps, squeals, and rattles.

Check the wheels for free play. A bad wheel bearing will allow the wheel to move more than it should, a symptom that can be checked with a floor jack. Place the jack under the Buick and jack it up high enough that the wheel is in the air. Place your hands at the top and bottom of the wheel (at 12 and six o'clock) and attempt to move the wheel. If the bearings are in good shape, the wheel should not move at all on the hub. If the wheel exhibits excess movement, the bearings may be bad.

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About the Author

William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.