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Symptoms of Bad Wheel Bearings

by Robert Tomashek

You may feel as if you are under attack by a tank when you hear that roaring noise of a lifted truck driving past you on the freeway. The noise, caused by the large tires, is the sound of resistance of the rubber to the road. It is normal for those types of tires, but can also be the first symptom of a failing wheel bearing on your vehicle.


A failing wheel bearing will start to make noise. Due to the loss of lubrication the bearing will make a low pitched growling or rumbling noise as the vehicle is moving. Generally, but not always, the noise will be louder during low-speed turns.


If the bearing is worn out then it tends to cause excessive free play in the wheel. If you have the vehicle off of the ground and can feel movement in the hub assembly, the bearing may be failing.


If the vehicle pulls to one side while driving, it may be caused by the rolling resistance caused by the failing bearing.

Tire Wear

Due to the excessive movement caused by the failing bearing the tire can develop an uneven wear pattern such as cupping

About the Author

Robert Tomashek is an automobile technician and educator with more than 15 years of experience. He is ASE master certified and also carries certifications from IMACA, MOOG, Monroe, EPA and Four Seasons. He has a degree in automotive/diesel technology. He has written articles for various websites and teaches automotive technology at Universal Technical Institute.

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