Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: How do I know when my wheel bearings are going out?

asked by on

How do I know if front wheel bearings are going out and are they difficult to change? Also, I have had someone change the water pump & replace the belts a couple years back and whenever cold weather hits, it makes chirping noises, what could cause this?

My car has 199000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Your accessory and serpentine belts may squ...

Your accessory and serpentine belts may squeak or chirp a bit in cold weather due to the fact that the belts become brittle and less pliable during the cold weather months. When they go from a cold stand still to instantly turning a very fast pace when you start the motor before having a chance to warm up, this is what causes the chirping sound. Some belt dressing and/or tightening up the belts a bit will usually correct this.

A wheel bearing will usually fail due to pitting or small damage on the surface of the rollers or the bearing race. Both the surface of the rollers and the race is precision machined to tight tolerances and highly polished to allow the rollers to pass easily over the race with the addition of bearing grease for lubrication and cooling. Over time the bearing will wear slightly, allowing microscopic pieces of metal into the grease.

Bearing noise can sound a lot like a brake pad dragging or grinding. It can also sound like whirring, whining or humming depending on how much sound deadening material your vehicle has in it. Bearing noise will always be dependent on vehicle speed meaning as you speed up or slow down the noise should change frequency or loudness. Cornering may affect the noise from a damaged front wheel bearing and is usually more pronounced as you make turns. I would suggest having a professional from Your Mechanic come to your home to take a look at the car and check your wheel bearings for failure.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Rear brakes replacement

If the rear brake calipers have an integrated parking brake in the caliper then you have to use a special tool to turn the caliper piston back in. If you tried to use a c-clamp to push back this style...

Q: Motor rattles around randomly leaks fluid

This is a common problem with the Toyota 2AZ-FE engine. The bolts that are referenced are actually the cylinder head bolts. Due to a design flaw, the bolts strip out of the engine block, causing head gasket issues. Toyota released...

Q: Head Gasket

Hello. Unfortunately, there is not really anyway to tell whether or not a genuine head gasket was replaced or sealer used. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your home to take a look at the car...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...