How To Tell If Hub Bearing Is Bad

What are the signs of a bad wheel bearing? YouTube
What are the signs of a bad wheel bearing? YouTube from


Hub bearings play a crucial role in the smooth functioning of your vehicle’s wheels. Over time, these bearings may wear out or become damaged, leading to various issues. It is essential to identify if your hub bearings are bad, as driving with faulty bearings can pose significant safety risks. This article will guide you through the signs that indicate a bad hub bearing, allowing you to take necessary action promptly.

Unusual Noises

One of the most common signs of a bad hub bearing is strange noises coming from your wheels. These noises can range from grinding or clicking sounds to a constant humming or rumbling. If you hear any of these noises, especially when turning or driving at higher speeds, it’s likely that your hub bearings need attention.

Vibrations in the Steering Wheel

Another indication of a bad hub bearing is vibrations felt in the steering wheel. As the bearing wears out, it may cause the wheel to wobble or shake, especially when turning. These vibrations can be a sign of a severe problem and should not be ignored.

Uneven Tire Wear

Worn-out hub bearings can also lead to uneven tire wear. If you notice that your tires are wearing down more on one side than the other, it’s a clear sign that the bearing is not distributing the weight of the vehicle evenly. This can result in costly tire replacements and poor handling.

Loose Wheel

If you feel a loose or wobbly sensation in one or more wheels, it could be due to a bad hub bearing. A failing bearing may cause excessive play in the wheel, leading to an unstable driving experience. If left unattended, this can result in a dangerous situation on the road.

Difficulty Steering

A bad hub bearing can also impact your ability to steer the vehicle smoothly. You may notice increased resistance or a stiff feeling when turning the wheel. This can make it challenging to navigate corners or maneuver your vehicle effectively.

ABS Warning Light

Many modern vehicles are equipped with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) that relies on data from the hub bearings. When a bearing becomes faulty, it can trigger the ABS warning light on your dashboard. If you notice this warning light, it’s crucial to have your hub bearings inspected as soon as possible.

Excessive Heat

If you suspect a bad hub bearing, you can also check for excessive heat around the wheel after driving. A failing bearing may generate increased friction, causing the hub and wheel to become hot. Use caution when checking for heat, as it can cause burns.

Visible Damage

Inspecting the hub bearing visually can also help determine if it is bad. Look for any signs of physical damage, such as cracks, rust, or missing parts. If you notice any visible damage, it’s best to replace the bearing promptly.

Professional Inspection

If you experience any of the above signs or suspect a bad hub bearing, it is highly recommended to seek a professional inspection. A qualified mechanic can thoroughly examine the bearings and provide an accurate diagnosis. Timely repairs or replacements can prevent further damage and ensure your safety on the road.


Identifying a bad hub bearing is crucial for maintaining the performance and safety of your vehicle. By paying attention to unusual noises, vibrations, tire wear, and other signs, you can take prompt action and prevent potential accidents. Remember, if in doubt, always consult a professional mechanic to ensure your vehicle’s hub bearings are in optimal condition.