The Complete Buying Guide For Wheel Bearings
Ultimate Wheel Bearing Buying Guide
Behind the wheel of a vehicle, there is a set of tiny wheel bearing that keeps the wheels of the vehicle rotating smoothly. The importance of these bearings cannot be overlooked because they reduce friction to a great extent and ensure a smooth and safe ride. Wheel bearings can deteriorate with time, and it is essential to know how they work when it comes to repairs. Our comprehensive wheel bearing buying guide will answer all your questions and help you choose the perfect wheel bearing for your vehicle.
Top Picks For Wheel Bearings
Table Of Contents
1. What Is A Wheel Bearing?
A wheel bearing is a metal ring or a race that holds small metal balls. This assembly of balls and races form a bearing that allows the wheel to spin smoothly by reducing friction. Apart from allowing smooth rotation, the wheel bearings also sustain the weight of the vehicle and are located within the wheel hub, which connects the wheel to the axle. Usually, the front and the rear wheel bearings are similar and function in the same way, but they can differ in size and construction in some vehicles.
2. What Type Of Wheel Bearings Should I Go For?
2.1 Based On Construction
The wheel bearing is a crucial component for the hub, tire, and wheel assembly to function together properly. The wheel bearing is located in the wheel hub and connects the axle and the wheel. Each wheel has its own set of wheel bearings, and these bearings can be of different types. Some wheel bearings used in vehicles are mentioned below.
A. Ball Bearings
Ball bearings are the most common type of bearings used in vehicles. The ball bearings comprise round metal balls that allow them to spin in any direction. These bearings can withstand radial load (weight of vehicle) and thrust or axial load (experienced by cornering forces). The spherical balls in the ball bearings have a very less contact area that limits them to specific applications and vehicles, as they cannot withstand heavy shocks and impacts.
B. Roller Bearings
A roller bearing is a type of rolling-element bearing that uses a cylinder (roller) instead of a ball. Roller bearings have cylindrical metal rollers enclosed by the inner and outer races. The rollers have a constant diameter across their length that allows them to spread the radial load across a wider contact point. This makes the roller bearings capable of withstanding heavy thrust loads and makes them ideal for heavy-duty applications. Roller bearings do not handle axial loads very well therefore, they are used in non-cornering wheels.
C. Tapered Roller Bearings
Tapered roller bearings are similar to straight roller bearings, but the rollers are tapered and placed at an angle. Thanks to the geometry of their design, tapered roller bearings can withstand combined loads (axial and radial). Tapered roller bearings have a cone-shaped assembly that helps in reducing the friction at greater axial loads while cornering. When the vehicle corners, the wheels tilt at an angle depending on the weight. Tapered roller bearings protect the shifting parts from grinding and offer a smooth operation. Tapered roller bearings are often used in the wheel bearing assemblies.
3. What Factors Should I Consider Before Purchasing Wheel Bearings?
3.1 Ceramic Vs Stainless Steel Wheel Bearings
Wheel bearings are usually made of stainless steel because it is corrosion resistant and does not rust. Stainless steel wheel bearings can last a long time, even without lubrication, and can withstand high temperatures. Ceramic bearings, on the other hand, are self-lubricating and last longer than stainless steel wheel bearings. Ceramic bearings are very tough and reduce the rolling resistance to a great extent, reducing the load on the driveline. Stainless steel wheel bearings are relatively cheap and perfect for daily commuting and passenger vehicles, whereas ceramic wheel bearings are used in performance cars and for racing purposes.
3.2 Wheel Bearing Kit Vs Individual Wheel Bearing
Wheel bearings are available as a single unit and as a kit. The wheel bearing kit comes with several other parts like a bearing protector, bearing cover, lock nut, O-ring, spacer, split pin seal, and a bearing cover. An individual wheel bearing is relatively cheap and can save you a lot of money, whereas a wheel bearing kit allows you to restore the other worn parts of the wheel bearing assembly.
Wheel bearings are available in various types and sizes depending on the vehicle and use. Wheel bearings are designed for a specific load-carrying capacity, and this can differ from vehicle to vehicle. Therefore, it is necessary to choose the correct wheel bearing for your vehicle. You can find this information by checking your vehicle's manual or you can look for the perfect fitment wheel bearings for your vehicle on PartsAvatar.
4. What Are The Top Brands Of Wheel Bearings Should I Choose From?
4.1 Mevotech Wheel Bearings
Wheel bearings play an important role in the functioning and driveability of the vehicle. Wheel bearings by Mevotech wheel bearings are designed to support the load of the vehicle and minimize friction. The wheel bearings by Mevotech are offered in cup and cone and tapered/cone-shaped designs that provide efficient vehicle control, stability in both straight lines and turns, and performance.
- Mevotech bearings reduce noise and vibration.
- Reduces friction and wear.
- Direct replacement and easy to fit.
- Offers excellent radial and axial support.
- Made from high-quality and corrosion-resistant materials for long life.
- Manufactured to meet high-performance standards.
For more information and a detailed product line, visit the Mevotech Wheel Bearings section.
4.2 SKF Wheel Bearings
SKF wheel bearings are premium quality bearings that are made from high-quality steel and advanced manufacturing methods. Wheel bearings by SKF are tested and manufactured according to the OE specifications for perfect fit and function. SKF offers the broadest range of bearings that are easy to install.
- Designed to maintain original reliability and performance.
- Optimized for vehicle and car wheels.
- Constructed from premium quality materials for long-term durability.
- Ultimate load-carrying capacity.
- Specially designed seals ensure lubrication and noise-free operation.
- Greased for efficient operation and can be used on both driven and non-driven wheels.
For more information and a detailed product line, visit the SKF Wheel Bearings section.
4.3 Worldparts Wheel Bearings
Worldparts wheel bearings are manufactured from high-quality materials and are extremely durable. Wheel bearings by Worldparts offer enhanced durability and a comfortable ride. Wheel bearings play an important role in increasing the comfort, fuel efficiency, and performance of the vehicle.
- Engineered with precision for improved load distribution.
- Improved metallurgy for reduced friction and increased fuel efficiency.
- Easy to install and ready to fit.
- Manufactured from high-quality materials for reduced corrosion from dust and mud.
- Made according to OE specifications for perfect fitment.
For more information and a detailed product line, visit the Worldparts Wheel Bearings section.
4.4 Transit Warehouse Wheel Bearings
Driving with worn out wheel bearings is dangerous. Transit Warehouse manufactures durable and advanced wheel bearings using advanced technologies and premium materials. The easy to install bearings by Transit Warehouse provide smooth functioning and increase fuel efficiency and performance.
- Manufactured from top quality materials.
- Rigorously tested to meet the most stringent industry standards.
- Excellent performance and stability.
- Exceptional service and reliability.
- Exact fit and manufactured according to OE standards.
For more information and a detailed product line, visit the Transit Warehouse Wheel Bearings Section
5. How Long Does My Wheel Bearings Last?
6. What Are The Symptoms That My Wheel Bearings Are Bad?
Although wheel bearings can last up to 160,000 kilometers, there are some other factors that can significantly affect its life. The lifespan of wheel bearings depends on several factors, and they can deteriorate with time leading to several problems. Some telltale signs of a failing wheel bearing are as follows.
A. Unusual Noise From The Wheel Area
Wheel bearings can fail and break abruptly with no signs of potential failure. If you are lucky, you can notice unusual noises from the wheel area. A failing wheel bearing creates grinding noises that can arise due to lack of lubrication, worn-out metal balls or rollers. These bearings can wear out and lead to metal-to-metal contact, causing excessive clunking and humming.
B. Uneven Tire Wear
The wheel bearings can wear out, causing the wheel to loosen up and wobble. This wobbling can increase due to worn-out bearings and can lead to uneven tire wear. Always check for signs of uneven tire wear during vehicle maintenance.
C. Steering Wheel Vibration
Another symptom of a worn-out wheel bearing is a vibrating steering wheel. The wheel can become loose if the wheel bearing starts to wear out. Although steering vibration can occur due to improper wheel balancing, there's a way to distinguish between the two sources of problems. An imbalanced wheel will cause the steering to vibrate at high speeds, whereas a worn out bearing will cause the steering to shake even at low speeds.
7. How Much Will It Cost Me To Replace The Wheel Bearings?
When purchasing a wheel bearing replacement, always choose the part according to the specifications of your vehicle, as it will help you avoid compatibility issues and related vehicle problems. The price of wheel bearing depends on several factors such as the vehicle type, materials, and brand. Wheel bearing prices can range from $3 to $300. This also depends on the quantity. If you are running custom wheels always remember to check the product details before purchasing.
Q. How To Check Wheel Bearings?
One way to check the wheel bearings is to look for any unusual sounds like humming or whirring from the suspected wheel. Another way is to jack the car up and check for any movement, slack, or play in the wheel. Any slack will loosen up the wheel and cause wobbling while driving.
Q. Can You Drive Your Vehicle With A Bad Wheel Bearing?
Yes, the car can be driven on worn-out wheel bearings, but it can cause stress and damage to other components like the hub, CV joint, and transmission. If you notice any symptoms of a bad wheel bearing, drive your vehicle home or to a repair shop and get it checked.
Q. What Can Happen If You Have A Bad Wheel Bearing?
Driving too long on a bad wheel bearing can lock the wheel, and it can be hazardous. In the worst cases, a worn-out wheel bearing can cause the wheel to fall off. This can lead to a catastrophic accident while driving.