Bad Wheel Hub Symptoms (8 Things To Be Aware Of)

For their car to function properly, vehicle owners need to pay attention to smaller parts that are critical, and one of these parts is the wheel hub, which is needed for the car to move forward without a problem.

Wheel hubs are the mounting assembly that includes sensors, bearings, and seals. But, if your wheel hub is damaged, how can you know? Here is the complete list of common things to look out for!

Bad Wheel Hub Symptoms

1. Unusual Noise

Automakers and tire manufacturers have invested in innovations such as noise reduction technologies, which allow tires to have a much quieter sound.

However, if you notice that your rides are noisier than usual, you need to check your wheel hub. This unit connects all the bearings, sensors, and the entire wheel unit, meaning when any of them are loose, the wheels become noisy.

You can hear growling, snapping, humming, crackling, knocking, or rumbling sounds when the wheel hub is damaged, which all indicate that the hub unit has a problem.

If you’re driving on off-terrain roads, you might not notice these kinds of problems until you get back on a well-paved road. However, wheel bearing noise stays consistent despite the road surface.

Bad wheel hub noise typically increases when you accelerate, change direction, or steer the wheel in a different direction.

However, this noise could be due to other vehicle problems, such as cupped tires which produce the same sound as a bad wheel hub.

Therefore, you should have the car checked professionally to diagnose the correct problem. Even if the wheel hub isn’t the cause, there’s definitely a problem with your vehicle.

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Further, if one side of the wheel hub assembly is damaged, you’ll need to replace both sides on the same axle.

2. Uneven Tire Wear

A damaged wheel hub can affect your vehicle’s alignment contributing to uneven tear wear. Therefore, if you notice that your tire treads on one or some tires appear different, you need to confirm whether your wheel hub is okay.

When the wheel hubs are damaged, the tires get affected because they’re not rolling on the road smoothly, which leads to tread wear.

Note that abnormal tire wear can be due to different reasons, so you’ll need to diagnose the correct problem thoroughly before changing or replacing your wheel hub.

3. Loose Steering Wheel

3. Loose Steering Wheel

For your car to move, you need a stable steering wheel; therefore, when the hub is damaged, it affects your bearings, loosening the steering wheel.

When the wheel hub assembly malfunctions, the steering wheel vibrates even at lower speeds and becomes worse as you accelerate, which occurs because of a damaged wheel bearing, which is part of the hub unit.

4. Steering Wheel Vibrations

If your wheel hub assembly is faulty, it can lead to a vibrating steering wheel. These sensations will change as the vehicle accelerates or corners.

On the other hand, vibrations on your steering wheel can result from other issues apart from a bad wheel hub. For this reason, you’ll need a thorough diagnosis to confirm the actual problem.

5. Abnormal Side Pull

If your vehicle is drifting to one side more than the other, you should have your wheel hubs checked (this happens mostly during braking).

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Although this problem could be due to other issues such as faulty brake components, you should rule out the hubs.

Additionally, before replacing the wheel hub assembly, do your homework or have a professional mechanic do it for you.

6. ABS Warning Light

If your ABS light is on and you’re unsure what’s causing it, you should check whether you have a faulty wheel bearing.

The ABS sensors are connected with the wheel hub assembly on some cars, so when the hubs fail, they’ll trigger the ABS light. Therefore, when the ABS sensors get damaged, the warning light comes on to indicate a problem.

7. Uneven Brake Pad Wear

Brake pads get affected the same way as tires when the hub assembly has a problem. This happens when the bearings are damaged, which in turn affects the brake pads.

When the brake pads are worn out, this is also a sign of a bad equalizer. Therefore, have your mechanic check out your car to identify the correct issue.

8. Wobbling Tires

When the wheel hub assembly is damaged, the wheel and rubber components get affected, and on extreme occasions, the wheel might come off, which can be very dangerous when driving.

If you want to know more, you can also see our posts on what are wheel bearings on a car, bad tire symptoms, and unbalanced tires syptoms.


A bad wheel hub can stall your car because your wheel will not turn, so it’s advisable to check it often.

Like other car parts, wheel hubs are prone to damage. Fortunately, you can look out for these symptoms to identify a problem. Once you notice any of these signs, have the wheels checked as soon as possible.

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