Wheel Bearings | Why Should I Care? | Sparks Auto Care


Why should I worry about wheel bearings?

Why are wheel bearings for Reno and Sparks vehicles important? It’s simple: your wheel bearings keep the wheels on your car! In today’s Waynes Automotive Center post, we’ll discuss more on wheel bearings and how you can make sure they do their work correctly while you drive around town.

Wheel bearings are pretty simple parts. They’re made of high-quality steel and are engineered to last 100,000 miles (160,000) or more if properly maintained. The bearings do two jobs: First, they allow the wheel to turn with as little resistance as possible. Second, they support the weight of the car or truck. For example, if your car weighs 3,600 pounds (1600 kilogram), each wheel has to sustain approximately 900 pounds (400 kilograms). That’s a lot of significant lifting over those long distances.

Ball Bearing Facts

Even though wheel bearings are pretty straightforward, they need to be in near ideal condition to do their job for Reno and Sparks vehicles. The bearings are stuffed with heavy grease to lubricate and guard them. A seal keeps the lubricant in and water and grimes out. It’s when the seal begins to leak that problems start. The grease can become contaminated, causing the wheel bearings to overheat and ultimately break.Wheel Bearings

The first indication that your wheel bearings are having a problem is an odd sound coming from a wheel. It could be a chirping, growling, rumbling or a cyclic sound. The noise could get louder or even disappear at certain speeds. Your technician at Waynes Automotive Center can inspect for bearing wear by lifting the vehicle and checking for play in the wheel.

Are all wheel hub bearings replaceable?

Now some wheel bearing assemblies are factory sealed so servicing them is impossible – replacement is the only possibility. Those that aren’t sealed are serviceable on a schedule at Waynes Automotive Center. The bearings are removed, cleaned and inspected. The bearings are scrutinized and examined; if they are sound then they are reinstalled, if not, a technician can replace them by stuffing them with grease, and a new seal is installed into the bearing.

If your car or truck has a factory sealed wheel bearing assembly, the entire assembly needs to be replaced when trouble arises. Unfortunately, the parts can be expensive– but they usually last about 150,000 miles (240,000 kilometers) as long as the seals stay in good shape.

Now, even a good seal cannot keep out water that’s exerting pressure on the seal. So if you’ve driven through hub-deep water, your bearings should be cleaned and repacked if they’re serviceable. If you have factory sealed bearings, you need to watch for signs of early wear and failure. If your wheel bearings are serviceable, your manufacturer’s owner’s manual will advise an interval, usually about 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers).

Don’t forget about trailer bearings!

If you ever pull a trailer, don’t overlook its wheel bearings. They probably need to be serviced even more regularly. Servicing is particularly beneficial for boat trailers that are used to launch the boat by reversing it into the water. These should be maintained every year, usually at the end of the boating season so that the bearings don’t have the likelihood to rust all winter.

So what happens to Reno and Sparks vehicles if wheel bearings fail? Well, the wheel can fall off the car or truck. I don’t need to tell you how that could be. So check with your service advisor at Waynes Automotive Center and see if your vehicles have maintainable wheel bearings. Listen for warning signs. If you’ve been fording streams or puddle surfing after rainstorms, be especially vigilant.

Visit the auto repair professionals at Waynes Automotive Center for a wheel bearing inspection.  Follow this link to learn more about the various parts of a wheel on your car or truck.

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Wayne’s Automotive Center is a NAPA AutoCare center. As a gold certified shop, all qualifying repair or service work comes with a FREE 3 year/36,000 mile “peace of mind” nationwide warranty through Napa AutoCare.

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