Bad Wheel-Bearing Symptoms (11 Things To Be Aware Of)

Imagine being in a moving vehicle traveling 65 miles per hour when your right front tire and wheel suddenly come off. Of course, your car will start to skid over several traffic lanes.

If you ignore the warning signs, this is a possibility if you don’t repair your wheel bearings immediately to avoid further damage. So, let’s discover more about bad wheel-bearing symptoms!

Bad Wheel-Bearing Symptoms

1. Unusual Popping Or Clicking Sounds

When you are driving, strange noises are not a healthy sign. That said, the source of the noise will indicate the kind of difficulty you’re dealing with.

For example, if you hear your wheels popping, clicking, or breaking sounds, your bearings may have trouble, which frequently involves improper clamping.

Further, you might hear these sounds when turning sharply or traveling around corners if the issue is about your bearings.

2. Growling Or Rumbling Sounds

Rumbling, buzzing, or growling noises are among the numerous types of sounds that bearing problems could cause.

With that, the most common causes of these noises are problems with the drivetrain, tires, or electrical systems, which could be a bearing-related issue.

In such a scenario, the noise is more likely to be loud when traveling straight ahead and becomes louder when you make a slight left or right turn of the steering wheel.

3. Steering Wheel Vibrations

Typically, steering wheel vibrations won’t be apparent until the wheel bearing is severely worn out.

In addition, when a bearing is damaged, its vibrations can become so intense that they can pass through the axle and reach the steering wheel.

So, the vibrations would be audible at slower revs and grow more pronounced as your speed; making turns will also serve to intensify the vibrations.

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4. Grinding Whenever The Vehicle Is Moving

The most typical sign of a failing wheel bearing when driving is a grinding noise; the excessive friction created by the bearing’s metal components rubbing against one another causes this.

That said, the bearing will produce many sounds if particles or insufficient oil are inside it.

Also, be warned that the noise will intensify the more quickly the wheel bearing rotates.

As a result, the grinding sound will get louder the faster you drive. In addition, the noise is typically more audible when the steering wheel is rotated, such as when rounding a bend.

5. Faulty ABS

The excessive movement brought on by too much end-play, which denotes a damaged or absent bearing clamp, may cause some of your externally and internally sensors to malfunction.

Further, it typically happens as a result of severe mechanical damage. Therefore, you will have to solve this issue right away.

6. Uneven Tire Wear

Uneven Tire Wear

Unusual or irregular tire wear can be caused by various problems, most of which aren’t bearing-related.

However, it is crucial to remember that high bearing looseness or wear might cause uneven tire wear, so if you’re having these problems, you should at the very least inspect the bearings.

7. Your Car Pulls From One Side

If your car pulls to one side while driving, that’s another indicator of a faulty wheel bearing.

For example, the wheel will turn slightly more slowly than the others because of the excessive internal friction.

So, if you don’t constantly countersteer to make up for it, this will cause your car to drift to the side.

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However, there are a few additional reasons why a car could pull to one side, such as when the wheels need to be realigned.

Yet, observing this symptom and some of the others mentioned in this post will help you isolate the issue as a faulty wheel bearing.

8. Uneven Brake Discs Or Brake Pad

Uneven brake pads could point to an equalization or caliper issue unrelated to the hub.

For example, a rusted caliper slider bolt can bring stuck brake noise and unusual pad wear or brake disc.

Of course, severe wheel bearing damage can produce run-out, leading to uneven pad wear or rotor. Also, it frequently happens because of a deformed rotor from an unretracted caliper.

9. Wheel Wobble

You can examine for excessive play by waggling your wheel from side to side.

Then, to quickly validate a suspected faulty wheel bearing, jack up your vehicle and try to rock the suspected wheel back and forwards.

Generally, severe play (or excessive wobbling) is a vital sign that a wheel bearing is failing.

Conversely, there should be almost no side-to-side movement if your vehicle’s wheel bearing is in excellent condition.

However, if you’re unsure, try shaking the other wheels of your car to see if there’s a noticeable difference.

10. Wheel Heat

Your wheels are accustomed to friction; it is produced every time you apply the brakes, in addition to the friction brought on by the rolling resistance of your tires.

As a result, your wheels would always feel a little heated after a long drive.

Of course, a damaged wheel bearing can make it difficult for your wheel to revolve freely, causing extra friction that instantly produces heat.

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In most circumstances, the tires won’t cause fires, but excessive friction might make your wheel feel extremely hot.

For instance, your alloy brake disc and wheels could develop stress fractures if you suddenly experience heat shock after running into a puddle.

11. Axle Damage

Your wheel bearing issue can create damage to your vehicle’s axle. Also, a worn wheel bearing puts other motor and suspension hardware components on your car under stress.

For instance, contamination of the wheel hub and additional wear and tear can result from metal shavings from a failing wheel bearing.

Further, your CV joint boots and seals are susceptible to damage from excessive wheel heat.

In addition to wearing grooves in your vehicle’s axle shaft, defective wheel bearings can likely fail catastrophically.

To know more, you can also read our posts on bad water pump symptoms, Chevy bad alternator symptoms, and Ford F150 horn not working.


A faulty wheel bearing might show itself in several ways. First, before appropriate action is performed, some may not show signs while severely damaging other wheel components.

But, of course, the most prevalent and obvious symptom of a bad hub bearing is the different noises.

So, as soon as you notice evidence of severe wear and tear, you must have your vehicle’s wheel bearings replaced. If not, the wheel can lock up, resulting in you losing control of your car.

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