What Causes Wheel Bearings To Go Bad?

What Causes Wheel Bearings To Go Bad? (Top 4 Causes)

Don’t get caught in the breakdown lane! Learn the top 4 causes of wheel bearing failure and protect your ride from potential damage. Discover how to prevent wheel-bearing issues now!

If you own a vehicle, you know how much maintenance it needs, right? Some parts are more exposed to outside weather and need frequent checkups and maintenance. Wheel bearings are one of them. They can go bad pretty easily, but What Causes Wheel Bearings To Go Bad?

Usually, water, mud, salt, and salt are enemies of the wheel bearing. Wheel bearings can also go bad by any type of outside impact. These can be caused by a speed bump, other cars, etc., but there could be other reasons, too.

In this article, we will cover every piece of information about wheel bearings, what they are, and what type of reasons make them bad and prevent any future mistakes. 

So keep reading to get to know more about wheel bearings.

What is a wheel bearing?

Normally it looks like a wheel that connects the wheel with the axle. It is made with metal and normally consists of steel balls or tapers held together by a mental ring. A wheel bearing is a crucial part of every vehicle that enables the wheel to rotate smoothly, maintaining minimum friction.

Simply saying, it is a friction reduction device that is used to maintain efficient rotation of the wheel. That delivers less friction force which is a fundamental term for great speed. Wheel bearing has small metal balls that roll between two rings of metal.

These small balls allow them to rotate the wheel freely. Wheel bearings have an average lifespan of 136,000 to 160,000 km. Although it is a normal counting, the actual lifespan of a wheel bearing depends on the quality of the wheel bearing and the maintenance procedure. 

There are many components of a wheel that help the wheel to work. All of these components are important for your car to drive smoothly without any issues. A wheel bearing is one of the important components of a wheel. There are many reasons why a wheel bearing can go bad. 

4 Common Causes Wheel Bearings Go Bad

In order to maintain your vehicle, you need to know all those reasons to avoid wheel bearing failure.

Driving into deep water

1. Driving into deep water

Water, mud, and dust all are enemies of the wheel bearing. When you drive your car into deep water, this creates heavy water pressure. This time water can enter your car’s wheel bearing. This will contaminate the lubricant, which later causes the wheel bearing failure.

Most of the time, these are dirty water. Mud from this water can also create hindrances for your wheel bearing. It is advised that you check your wheel bearings condition after a deep water ride. But avoiding these types of rides is safe to maintain your car’s condition.

Bad road conditions

2. Bad road conditions

A bad road is an enemy for any type of vehicle. It can also be said that bad roads are the enemy of the driver and passenger too.

If you continuously drive your car through bumpy roads, it will pressure your wheel bearing. And eventually, your wheel bearing will go bad. A wheel bearing is responsible for carrying your whole car as well as the spin of your wheel. And if a wheel bearing has to take so much spin in a day, it’s normal that it will shorten its lifespan.

When your car faces a bump, you are putting an extra strain on your wheel bearing. Salt and dirt are known as the common enemy of the wheel bearing. Salt is responsible for wearing out your seals, which will later allow dirt to sneak into your wheel bearing.

The lubricant works inside the bearings to prevent too much friction. And these contaminants can compromise the lubricant. Maybe these don’t cause instant harm, but this will cause wheel bearing failure over time.

If you consistently drive on bad roads, be prepared to change your wheel bearing to more frequently than you do. For better car condition, try to avoid bumpy roads as far as possible.

Extra load

3. Extra load

If you carry extra weight in your can, it will normally pressure the wheel. Extra pressure for your wheel means extra pressure for your wheel bearings too. This action will cause a short lifespan for your wheel bearing. That’s why you will need to replace your car’s wheel bearing more frequently.

Improper Installation

4. Improper Installation

Another common cause of wheel bearing failure is improper installation. Improper installation happens when a mechanic is negligent in his work or doesn’t install the wheel bearings according to the system.

A bad quality wheel bearing is also one of the biggest reasons why your wheel bearing goes bad so quickly. Bad-quality wheel bearings are made from a mixture of hard and soft metal, which causes the occurrence of spalling. This is one of the biggest reasons for premature failure of the wheel bearing.

For the spalling, it will peel off in flakes. It is more common for the new wheel bearing. If you recently installed a new wheel bearing and still experiencing problems. Maybe it is because of bad installation. It is advised that you take it back to your mechanic immediately. Finding a good and honest mechanic for any type of car repair is important.

How to know you have a wheel bearing failure?

How to know you have a wheel bearing failure?

A wheel bearing is an important feature for your vehicle to keep moving. If you have a defective wheel bearing or a bad one, you certainly have many issues. 

These are the symptoms that tell you to replace a new wheel bearing. 

  • The most typical sign of a wheel bearing failure is the sound. It is also the most easily identifiable and common symptom of a bad wheel bearing. You can experience a humming noise. You can also experience squealing, growling, and clicking sounds as you drive your car.
  • Wheel wobbling or unbalanced wheels are bad signs on any car. If the wobble can be felt through the steering wheel and you’re having trouble keeping your car pointed straight, You should check your wheel bearing as soon as possible and get it replaced; otherwise, you can make an accident.
  • Uneven tire wear is another system to know that your wheel bearing needs a replacement.
  • You can also experience that your vehicle is pulling to one side. If you experience this incident again and again, you may have a faulty wheel bearing.
  • Faulty wheel bearings can cause steering wheel vibration. Check your wheel bearing to prevent an unwanted incident like this.

Precaution you can take.

  • Always try to install your wheel bearing from an authentic and honest mechanic.
  • Use good quality wheel bearings to maintain the good state of your vehicle. This will also ensure a long lifespan of your wheel, ensuring better performance as well.
  • Check your wheel bearing from time to time to be updated about its condition it.
  • Ignore dangerous or bumpy roads as long as possible. 
  • Keep your car away from deep water, dust, and salt.


Now you know all about wheel bearings. What Causes Wheel Bearings To Go Bad? What should you do to maintain the good state of your car?

As mentioned above, You can now implement your knowledge to keep your wheel moving and take preventive measures to make your wheel bearings last longer.

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