Q: Will a bad wheel bearing cause a transmission not shift into overdrive

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I was told wheel bearing is bad. i took wheel off and saw the axel nut was loose. i replaced it with a new one and tightened it up. the escape still won't shift into past 2nd. The engine sounds like it's revving high but it only revs between 3 and 4000 rpms. it won't move over 40 mph. when I turn the wheel it makes a noise.it also makes a light grinding or rubbing noise when moving..seems like its stuck in limp mode..any ideas?

My car has 177000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

If the wheel bearing is mechanically “seized” or so hung up that it is preventing the wheel from turning reasonably smoothly, then yes of course the vehicle might not be able to accelerate enough to reach the shift points. But, the damage to the bearing would have to be really exceptional. You can simply test for that by driving to the top of a hill and letting go off the brake. If the vehicle moves forward and picks up speed readily on its own, it is really unlikely the bearing is so bad that that is the cause of the failure to accelerate and shift gears. Note that axle nuts can only be tightened with a torque wrench to the precise value in the Service Manual because overtightening the axle nut will drive the ball bearings into the races and cause very early bearing failure. If the bearing has already been diagnosed as bad, of course definitely request bearing replacement but at the same time you may need to obtain diagnoses of the acceleration and failure to shift issues as well. It is possible that the latter problem(s) may simply be a coincidence, arising at the same time that the bearing failed.

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