How to Tell Which Wheel Bearing Is Bad

Noises and Questions

After getting inside of the car for a drive and turning it on, some noises come to the consideration of a car owner’s mind.

 There are good noises like the healthy revolutions of an engine, and there are noises that might feel like the tedious beginning of a process that will involve cost and sacrifice.

However, car noises heard on time are also the ones that warn us that some things can be amended before the whole mechanical burden arises.

One of the most common noises that a person might detect in a car is the one that indicates that a bearing may be excessively worn and not in good condition.

 How can you tell if a defective bearing is the cause of these strange noises? And if it is… Which bearing is it? Watch the video below:

Dissimilar to engine bearings, wheel bearings don’t have a constant supply of oil lubricating and cooling them, so this means they have to be autonomous and also be sealed constricted enough to keep road dust and water out of them. 

The wheel bearings in your car have to support the full weight of your vehicle while you’re driving through roads.

Likewise, they need to take the lateral forces of corners you take and need to do all that while enabling your wheel to turn at a huge number of cycles every moment, so regardless of what sort of bearing you have, the side effects of a fizzled bearing are the same.

 A wheel bearing will go for the most part flop because of setting or harm on the surface of the rollers or the bearing race.

How Can I Know Which Bearing Is Damaged?

The first thing you will need to do is to ensure that the bearing is really the one that produces the noise since this one is very subtle, and it is better heard at slow speeds.

How Can I Know Which Bearing Is Damaged?

 So you have to move and be attentive. You can test this by gently swaying your car while driving slowly. If the noise decreases when you move to the right, then the damaged bearing might be on a left wheel. 

If it lessens when you sway left, the right wheel bearing might be probably wrecked.

The noise of a broken wheel bearing can sound similar to a brake pad dragging or humming. You will need to check if there is any clearance between the wheel and the part that supports it.

The best would be to raise the vehicle with the help of a hydraulic jack and push the wheel towards you with back and forth movements.

If you notice that it moves in an inflexible way, the problem is the one you suspected. If not, it could be a gap in the tires, suspension or steering

Rule out any tires noise after rotation or grinding noises that usually have more to do with brake or wheel spacer problems rather than bearings.

The noise of a broken wheel bearing

​A ragged bearing will release more hotness than a decent bearing so you can once in a while locate a good or well-used bearing by feeling your vehicle's wheels close to the fasteners. On the off chance that one wheel is hotter than the others, it might be a bad bearing.

In conclusion (but more welcoming words), the best way to check for bearing damage is:

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    Raise both front wheels off the ground if it is a front wheel bearing matter. If the noise is coming from the rear, check the back wheels.
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    Grab the tires and spin the wheels. They should both spin effortlessly in their usual rotation.
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    Persist in spinning after you stop pushing them. If one wheel turns more rigid than the other, then it has a broken wheel bearing
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    If your wheel feels loose on your car and all the screws are tight, then you have an extremely damaged wheel bearing and should consider switching it before you drive your car again.
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    Push the wheel towards you with backward and forward movements. If you feel that it moves, your bearing could be ruined. If not, as said before it could be just a tire gap or mismatch in the hydraulic system.
the best way to check for bearing damage

Significant Notes for the Reader

The last thing to consider before closing this read is the wheel spacers as a handling agent. Are wheel spacers good or bad? You might have heard a lot of questions like this, and the answer is, they are not bad to use at all.

By positioning the wheels further apart using wheel spacers can get the car to stabilize and corner smoothly, making the life of the bearings longer and useful.

Bearing damage generally occurs slowly over the course of days, weeks or maybe even months. You may notice this since the noise will start getting louder and louder.

 It’s important to replace wheel bearings since failing to do so can cause further (and more expensive) loss to your drive axle and the outcome could be your wheel completely coming off while you drive.

Be on the lookout for the signs we mentioned before to avoid this from happening.

Are wheel spacers good or bad

Make an effort to replace your wheel bearings continuously, depending on how much you put them to good use. Moreover, try to apply the manufacturer-recommended bearings.

This will ensure your bearings will last longer and also they are made for your car model with exactitude and special detail. Or you might consider tire replacement, and if so, Westlake tires reviews could help.

If you have any questions about this article, kindly leave a comment below.


Hi there! I’m Jordan, chief editor of Crush the Road and I’m a self-confessed automative fanatic. Cars or vehicles has always been a passion of mine and will always be my favorite pastime. Now that I am married and has one adorable son, I have the time to write and share my personal experiences with other automative enthusiasts like me. Welcome to my fantastic blog!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
Avatar for Carmen
Carmen - March 21, 2019

Greetings hope you and yours are doing well.
I have a 06 Chevy Impala both front wheel bearings are from AutoZone and one only 2 days old and one from last fall
Above 35 I’m hearing a howling /
roaring sound I trust my mechanics done with them 10 years now but they’re saying a back wheel bearing but not sure which one?
I know I have a bed ABS wire causing a light to be on
My question is do something I read reading your page I was told both ends of my sway bar are bad and it needs to get replaced could that give the same symptoms?
The reason I’m bringing this up is because both wheel bearings are fairly new I know the sway bars in the front and my opinion I swear I hear it on the same side in the front as to where my AutoZone wheel bearing hub was replaced yesterday I apologize so long-winded but I’m just reaching out for another opinion and maybe you could get me in the right direction
When it’s over $100 apart and $100 labor to install each part process of elimination can be costly
Sincerely Carmen

Avatar for Dana
Dana - April 9, 2019

If you sway left and noise lessens ,I would think you have a bad driver side bearing . Because when you sway left you lighten the load on the drivers side.

Avatar for Jim
Jim - May 21, 2019

Your video says the opposite of what your article says (swaying left throws weight on right tire, so if sound lessens then it’s your left wheel bearing):
“So you have to move and be attentive. You can test this by gently swaying your car while driving slowly. If the noise decreases when you move to the right, then the damaged bearing might be on a left wheel.

If it lessens when you sway left, the right wheel bearing might be probably wrecked.”


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