Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Is It Safe to Drive With a Damaged Wheel Bearing?

Is It Safe to Drive With a Damaged Wheel Bearing?

In order for your wheels to turn, they need bearings. Wheel bearings fit into the hub (inside a race) and allow the wheel to turn freely. However, bearings wear over time and they’ll eventually fail. Is it safe to drive with a damaged wheel bearing? The answer is no.

Some things to watch out for include:

  • Roaring: The most common symptom of a failing wheel bearing is a roaring sound from the affected wheel while you’re driving. It may become more pronounced during turns as the car’s weight shifts and a different load is placed on the wheel. In some instances, you’ll only hear a noise under specific driving conditions (it depends on where the wear in the race is occurring). If you notice a roaring sound from one of the wheels, it’s vital to have it inspected as soon as possible.

  • Wheel play: If you grab the tire by the top and bottom edges and wiggle it up and down, movement should be very minimal or nonexistent. However, if you notice a lot of movement, it means that your bearing is nearing the end of its life.

  • Progressive damage: Once a wheel bearing begins to fail, it will affect other components. The bearings won’t allow the wheel to turn freely, which exacerbates the problem. It also puts stress and strain on the hub, the CV joint, the axle, and the transmission.

  • Ultimate damage: If you don’t replace a damaged wheel bearing before it fails completely, the wheel will completely seize up. If this happens while you’re driving, the results can be catastrophic. This is not a component to take chances with.

If you suspect that one of your wheel bearings is damaged or beginning to fail, have it inspected immediately. It is not safe to drive on for any length of time. YourMechanic can diagnose the problem and replace a damaged wheel bearing.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


More related articles

The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP)...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...

Related questions

Q: Wheel bearing hub assembly

Based on the Factory Service Manual (FSM), you remove the hub/wheel bearing assembly (on 4WD vehicles) without axle or knuckle removal. That means you might have to use a regular thin wall socket and an offset (wobbly type) extension. The...

Q: On a 1994 c280 the wheel stud plate is stripped. Is there any way I can fix that?

Hello, thanks for writing in. With a good tap & dye kit, you may be able to re-tap the threads. However, if this is not done properly, you run the risk of making the bolt hole too big and will...

Q: When replacing a wheel hub on an acura , do I have to replace the wheel bearing to? 1997 Acura RL

Hello - perhaps the question should be "Do I have to replace the wheel hub/bearings if one or more studs are broken off?". And, the answer is "No, simply replaced the broken studs." That is - unless the hub or...