Wheel bearing repair isn’t something the average car owner thinks much about when maintaining their vehicle. What many people don’t know is without regular inspections and lubes your bearings can seize up cause a multitude of additional problems to your vehicle. At Orozco’s Auto Service part of our FREE brake inspection includes checking all your bearings. Also part of our brake repair process is repacking and lubing your bearings. Something many people overlook when trying to do a DIY brake job at home.
To understand why the problem is so serious, first we must know what a wheel bearing is. A wheel bearing is a set of steel balls held together by a metal ring called a race. They help your vehicle’s wheels spin fast with as little friction as possible. On cars, the wheel bearing rides on a metal axle shaft and fits tightly inside the hub, which is the part that holds the lug bolts used to bolt each wheel onto your car.
When the seal on your wheel bearing is damaged, it will start to make a noise. This noise will start out very faint and become louder over time. It may sound like your tires are louder than normal, like when you drive over a rough surface. If you notice that it is louder when you are turning, it may mean that the wheel bearing on only one side is damaged.
Most wheel bearings are made of hardened steel, and are very durable. Their two worst enemies are heat and water. These can destroy a wheel bearing, especially once the seal is broken. Seals protect the bearings from water and debris and seal in the high-temperature grease that lubricates the bearing, but a wheel bearing will start disintegrating quickly once the seal is broken and begin to make noise.
Wheel bearings do not fail immediately, and usually once you notice a sound it is still safe to drive your vehicle to the shop to have it replaced. However, if neglected for long enough, a wheel bearing could fail completely and lock up the wheel it serves, leading to loss of control, or even your wheel falling off completely.
If you suspect that your wheel bearings are beginning to fail, come in to Orozco’s Auto Service today and let our ASE certified mechanics take a look at it. Orozco’s – service you can trust.