Looking after a car

How to Check Car Bearings

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Check Car Bearings

You may check car bearings of your vehicle to make sure that they are in good condition, and do not need repair or replacement. Wheel bearings consist of outer and inner bearings which allow your car’s wheels to turn left and right. With lots of grease, these bearings create a cushion between your wheel and spindle. Although bearings are protected by their disc, brake drum and hub, they tend to accumulate dirt, dust and metal particles with use. Before taking your car to a mechanic, you can check your car bearings yourself. This OneHowTo.com article will tell you how to check car bearings.

You may also be interested in: How to Check Ball Joints for Wear
  1. In case of disc brakes
  2. In case of drum brakes
  3. The process of checking the car bearings
  4. How to deal with bad car bearings

In case of disc brakes

If your car has disc brakes, you will have to remove its caliper and get access to the car bearings. Although it is quite simple to do, it may prove to be a challenge for beginners. If you fail to re-assemble it properly, it might prove to be fatal for you and your family. So, make sure to do that under supervision only, especially if you are doing it for the first time.

In case of drum brakes

Always check your car bearings every time you check your car’s brakes. This will ensure that grease has not fouled or if it needs a refill. If it has fouled, the particles tend to act coarsely and wear away the connection that the bearings are intended to protect. This usually results in a loud noise while driving. In some but rare cases, the wheel may even come out lose. If your car bearings look saturated with grease and other particles, you need to get them repacked as soon as possible.

The process of checking the car bearings

A professional mechanic will remove your car’s wheels to check your car bearings. But if you want to check them yourself, you can do so without removing them too. Follow this step by step procedure:

  • Jack up your car and support it with jack stands
  • You may go under the car, but if that’s difficult for you, you can grasp one wheel at the bottom and top, and try to move it in a rocking motion.
  • The wheel should hardly move. If it plays freely, it may indicate that the car bearings have worn out and they need replacement or at least adjustment.
  • If your car has an automatic transmission system, put your gearshift on neutral, and if it has a manual transmission, take it out of gear.
  • Now try to rotate a wheel.
  • If you can hear any strange noise, of if the wheel feels rough when you try to rotate it, it may indicate a damaged bearing that needs replacement.
  • Make sure to shift the gear to park or gear before you lower down the car.
How to Check Car Bearings - The process of checking the car bearings

How to deal with bad car bearings

Bad car bearings can significantly affect your car’s fuel mileage, ride quality and performance. So, make sure to get them repaired, adjusted or replaced as soon as you identify the problem.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Check Car Bearings, we recommend you visit our Car Maintenance and Repair category.

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1 comment
Caitlin Martin
Car bearing is a type of rolling element bearing that uses balls to maintain the separation between the bearing rears. Working principle for a ball bearing is to reduce rotational friction and support radial and axial loads. An axial ball bearing uses side- by- side races. An axial load is transmitted directly through the bearing , while a radial load is poorly supported and tends to separate the racers , so that a larger radial load is likely to damage car bearing.
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How to Check Car Bearings