What Causes a Wheel Bearing to Fail

Are you frustrated by replacing the wheel bearings too frequently? Don’t worry here I write this article explaining the causes of wheel bearing failure. Read it completely, so you don’t have to replace it in a very short time. 

As you know, wheel bearing will heat up during the rotation of wheels and cools down after the usage. During the cooling process, the air, contracting metal, and lubricant will create a hollow vacuum; it will be held by seals. If seals can’t be able to hold that vacuum means bearings will be stuck in outside air, water and debris. Imagine if you are driving on the ocean side means saltwater will stay on bearing, and it will rust the material.

If a wheel bearing goes to fail means, it will make some noise while driving. You can clearly hear those noises from the driver seat. Once you hear the noise, you have to make yourself ready for the replacement of wheel bearing. Check the wheel bearing replacement cost as early else you will end up paying huge money.

You don’t want that to happen means read the below-mentioned causes for wheel bearing failure and take precautions accordingly.

wheel bearing failure causes

Metallurgy

During the manufacturing of wheel bearing, components will be heated heavily to harden the metal. But the heat penetrates only outside of the metal. If a wheel bearing lose this layer means catastrophic, and rapid wear will cause the metal to soften. This type of failure is termed as “spalling”.

In some cases, bearings will face heavy heating rather than normal. Under this circumstance, hot lubricant substances will break and create etching and scoring on the surface of bearings. Not only these but water and many other corrosive elements can able to create this condition and leads to the failure of the wheel bearing.

An oxidized or burned lubricant will leave some dark layers on the surface of bearings. The damage is the same as before with the tapered roller bearings too. Excessive heat that received by a wheel bearing will leads to the lock-up.

In bearings, seals play a major role in protection. If it goes down and contaminants found a way to come inside, bearing means it will create a wear pattern on its surface. So you have to take care of the seals more efficiently. 

Rash Driving

Some studies proved that rush driving also makes the wheel bearing to fail. In rash driving, the bearing will face heavy pressure, so heat will be created accordingly. But all bearings can’t be able to withstand this heating pressure. So be on the safer side and don’t make rash driving.

damaged wheel bearing

Quality Matters

Bearings are the most crucial part of any car. Also, it requires a very complex manufacturing process. Low-quality bearings mostly use poor quality steel and heating treatment, so it will wear and fail easily. And some brands use a combination of both soft and hard metal that causes premature failure. All you have to understand here is using the best quality bearing will work for a long time rather than a poor one.

Adjusting

During the installation of the wheel bearing, you have to concentrate more on the adjusting process. Because the over-tightening of wheel bearing will lead to premature failure. In RWD vehicles, tapered roller bearings are never preloaded. It will be fixed with more than 13 to 18 in. Lbs of torque while rotating. Then nut will be adjusted about 1/5 to 1/3 turn and locked with a new cotter pin.

For FWD cars, the adjustment procedure is the same as the RWD cars but requires some preload of 22 to 26 in. Lbs. So depends upon the model of car, preload will vary. Check the manual and fix appropriate preload else your wheel bearing will fail very quickly.

Conclusion

Now you understood the causes of wheel bearing failures. So take the correct prevention method in order to improve the lifetime of your wheel bearing. If you have more questions means, please feel free to comment below.

Author: henderson

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