Every smart driver knows there are dues to be paid for the smooth ride. That durability in cold weather or the great performance on the summer family vacation is a result of a good maintenance program that keeps the car moving as it should. An automobile is going to give out very firm clues of when there are problems. These warning signs, no matter how minor they may appear, need to be taken very seriously. The wheel bearings of your car will tell you long before a major breakdown that there are some problems that have to be taken care of as soon as possible.
What are wheel bearings?
If you wonder what the wheel bearings are the answer is simple, and tells you how important they are. They keep the wheels on the automobile. That gives you a fairly good idea of the damage that can happen if the wheel bearings go bad. These are very durable parts to the automobile and the intention is that they should have a lifespan of 100,000 miles or more. Thanks to the wheel bearings, the wheels can rotate freely and not create a lot of friction (needless to say, a car going 60 mph could generate enough friction to set the chassis on fire). They also support the weight of an automobile that could weigh close to 2 tons or more. When the wheel bearings are in great condition there are no problems.
Warning signals of wheel bearing problem
Most wheel bearings are factory sealed and cannot be serviced, but replaced instead. They are packed with heavy lubrication and it is the seal that keeps contaminants from coming in. Leaky seals allow in both dirt and water. That can ultimately result in the wheel bearings to overheat (problems can also arise if the car has been in an accident or the wheel bearings were poorly installed in the first place). The warning signal that comes from the car are noises coming out of the wheel. These can become loud rumbling sounds that cannot be ignored. Another signal that danger is ahead will come from the steering wheel in addition to the wheels of the car. Both will begin to shake. Driving forward is going to become increasingly more difficult as the condition of the wheel bearings gets progressively worse. These red alerts tell you that the car is becoming increasingly more dangerous to drive. Attention is needed and it should not wait!
Let the trained mechanic deal with wheel bearings
Wheel bearings should be replaced all at once, even though some may not be as worn as the others. Not doing that would still mean that eventually the remaining wheel bearings will go bad, needing the same quick attention. If the car’s wheel bearing assembly was initially done at the factory, the whole assembly is going to have to be replaced. You can replace the wheel bearings yourself but you will need to have the right tools. These will include a 12 Ton Hydraulic Shop Press among other specialized maintenance equipment. You will need to know exactly what you are doing, or risk causing damage to the new wheel bearing or the hub of the car. This type of work is also going to take a fair amount of time. It perhaps would be a more cost and time efficient idea to leave this work to the skills of a trained mechanic.
Take the help of owner’s manual
A full assembly replacement is not going to be cheap, but the trade-off is in durability. The new wheel bearings will have a life of over 100,000 miles on average; longer than the owner will have the car. There are wheel bearings that can be serviced and checking the owner’s manual will indicate whether or not the car can have the wheel bearings serviced. The manual may suggest mileage intervals and that information ought to be noted.
The wheel bearings’ warning signals are pretty dramatic. A shaky steering wheel would be enough for most people to know that things are not the way they are supposed to be. It is the mark of a smart driver to know that the sounds from the car are not something that can be ignored. The last thing anyone would want to have happen is one or more wheels to come off suddenly on the highway. That of course is an extreme situation but do not think it cannot happen.