How To Tell If Your Wheel Hub Assembly Is Failing

Wheel hub assemblies are built to last 100K miles or more. Many last the lifetime of the vehicle. Yet, it’s also common for wheel hub assemblies to fail well before 100K miles. Some factors that would cause wheel hub assembly failure include:

  • Contamination (water, dirt, dust, etc.)
  • Impacts (potholes , curbs, etc.)
  • Improper installation

Do you have a hunch that you’re dealing with a bad wheel hub assembly? It’s best to diagnose the issue ASAP.

Image Credit: CarThrottle

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you think that a customer’s car may have a bad wheel hub assembly, it’s worth taking the time to investigate. Or even if you’re just rotating a customer’s tires, it’s worth taking the time to check for wheel hub assembly failure.

So how can you figure out if you’re dealing with a bad wheel hub assembly? Read on to find out.

Signs Of Wheel Hub Assembly Failure

The most common signs of wheel hub assembly failure include:

  • Roaring or rumbling noise
  • Vibrating or loose steering wheel
  • The vehicle pulling to the side when braking
  • Uneven rotor and brake pad wear

If you notice at least one of these symptoms, inspect each wheel hub assembly.

Listening For Wheel Hub Bearing Failure

If your wheel hub bearing fails, you’ll notice a roaring noise at high speeds. So when test driving the vehicle, be sure to push the odometer over 50 mph. If you hear a roaring noise, try to narrow it down to one of the axles. It will save you time during inspection.

If you’re wondering how to replace a bad wheel hub bearing, this guide will walk you through the process.

How To Inspect Each Wheel Hub Assembly On A Vehicle

bearing noise

The inspection process is pretty straightforward. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lift the vehicle.
  2. With the wheel still on the vehicle, grab it with one hand at the 12:00 position and another hand at the 6:00 position.
  3. Firmly rock the wheel and see if there’s any play.*
  4. If you notice any play:
    1. Remove the tire and wheel.
    2. Remove one slide pin and tilt the caliper. This prevents the pads from dragging on the rotor. You can remove the caliper if it’s easier.
    3. Spin the hub by hand. Look for any unusual resistance or vibration. If you’re not sure what to look for, try this with all the hubs on the vehicle. Look for any difference between the hubs.

* Keep in mind that in the early stages of wheel bearing failure, there may not be any play.

Do you have any questions about checking for wheel hub assembly failure? We can answer them if you contact us here.


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