Bearings

Bearings

Wheel bearings perform two important functions in a car’s suspension. The wheel bearings allows the wheels to rotate with minimal friction while supporting the weight of the vehicle. In order to be able to perform both of these functions, suspension bearings must be in perfect working conditions. Although suspension bearings are engineered and manufactured to last over 150,000 miles, the constant load gradually affects the bearings, the grease and the seals. Suspension bearings wear depends on the front to rear weight distribution of the car. Usually, the first symptom of troubles on a suspension bearing is noise. Very often you will hear a rumbling, growling, chirping or cyclic noise of some kind somewhere close to the wheels. The moment this noise appears, it will be a good indication that the wheel´s suspension bearing is starting to wear out and therefore immediate attention is required. Ignoring these noises would be dangerous as the suspension bearing could suddenly fail, which could be fatal as this could occur while you´re driving your car. Suspension bearing noises can remain stable while accelerating or decelerating but it may change when turning. They could also become louder or even disappear at certain speeds, nevertheless, it will be time to have them checked or replaced with newer suspension bearings.

 

If a suspension bearing fails prematurely, it is probably as a result of maladjustment, contamination or loss of grease. Once a seal starts to leak, the bearings start to wear out faster since dirt and water can then enter the bearing cavity.  If the seals on sealed bearing assemblies fail, the seals cannot be replaced separately, therefor the entire suspension bearing assembly must be replaced. However, in some older cars, a damaged seal can still be replaced for new one to extend the life of the bearings. Most car´s suspension bearings seals are not designed to keep out water that is exerting pressure against the seal. Therefore any vehicle that has been driven through hub-deep water should have its suspension bearings cleaned and serviced with fresh grease. Obviously with sealed suspension bearing assemblies, this won’t be possible, therefore the only thing to do is to be aware of  any noise or play that may appear.

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