What are Axle and Wheel Bearings?


Bearings are components that are common to countless assemblies, often being used to facilitate and constrain motion while reducing friction between moving parts. Axle and wheel bearings in particular are two components that are common to automobiles and similar vehicles, allowing for wheels to turn with freedom while ensuring that the weight of the vehicle is supported and that assemblies have proper alignment. As both bearings are crucial for the standard functionality of wheels, it is important that one amply understands their functionality and maintenance.

Axle bearings in particular are placed where the axle is supported, often being implemented within the central hole of a wheel or gear so that it may rotate around the axle. The role of the bearing is to permit spinning while preventing resistance and wear that can be detrimental to such assemblies. To amply protect axles, axle bearings require lubrication and proper placement. There are a few common signs that an axle bearing is beginning to wear down, and it is important to understand each.
 
If there are unusual sounds sourcing from the axle as the speed of the automobile increases, it may be a sign that the bearings are deteriorating and causing friction. As the noises are a result of grinding, it is important to remedy such issues before a large amount of damage ensues. Uneven tire wear is another telltale sign, caused by one bearing’s impending failure. Alongside such signs, other common things to look out for is steering wheel vibration, wheel wobbling, steering difficulty, or the vehicle pulling to the side while on rough surfaces.
 
Wheel bearings, on the other hand, serve as common components for the braking, steering, and suspension systems of a vehicle. These bearings ensure that the wheel is able to turn, and they are sealed metal rings that are grease-filled and waterproofed. While wheel bearings are meant to last the entire lifetime of the vehicle itself, they can be damaged as a result of hitting curbs, driving over potholes, crossing speed bumps too quickly, and more. Additionally, contaminates such as salt, sand, and mud can cause issues over time, eventually leading to failure. If wheel bearing issues are ignored for too long of a time, the automatic transmission may also face damage. As a failed transmission can be extremely expensive, it is important to prevent such issues ahead of time with proper wheel bearing maintenance.


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August 17, 2021

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