Wheel Bearings – Auto Repair Kenner

Wheel Bearings: Principle of Operation, Maintenance and Service

A rotation or linear motion requires smooth movement of parts. Friction can restrain smooth operation for which a device called a bearing can be used. Its function is to allow forced relative motion between the parts. There are various kinds of bearings, mostly classified according to the motions they allow and the principle of operation. 

Bearings such as low friction bearings are improve the efficiency by reducing wear and facilitate high speeds. It is the material, the shape and the fluid used in the bearing that can reduce friction.

Principles of operation

Wheel bearings are placed in the wheels of the car to support the weight of the vehicle and minimize the friction during the rotation of the wheels.

In this way wheel bearings carry out the very important function in a vehicle’s suspension and for both these functions, the bearings have to first be in optimum condition.

It all depend s on the weight of the vehicle. For example in a standard sedan of 3,400 lb, the front wheel bearings and the rear wheel or axle bearings can support 850 lbs. Again this depends on the front-to-rear weight distribution.  This indeed is a quite a heavy weight and could be too stressful to the bearings in spite of good lubrication and adjustment.

Most of the wheel bearings are designed to carry on over 100,000 miles, but in case of misadjustment, contamination by dirt or water, or low lubrication they can fail.

It is very important to service your vehicle because if the grease seals ware out or brake, the grease will leak out allowing dirt and water to enter the bearing cavity causing rust and contamination.

Maintenance & Service and Packing 

Wheel bearings need be maintained regularly especially the ones that that are not sealed by the manufacturer. Cleaning, inspection and greasing is recommended about every 30,000 miles or as per the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.

Make sure the bearings are dry before they are repacked with grease. Do not spun dry them with an air gun to save them from being damaged. Always use a lint-free paper towel for drying them to avoid the cotton rags fibers which could be a trouble later on.

The main reason why a bearing fails is lack of lubrication, therefore it is recommended you repack bearings once or twice a year regardless of the distance traveled.  While packing bearings, you should not only apply grease to the rollers but rather place a glob of grease in your hand and keep dipping the bearing into the grease until grease flows out the other side. You can also buy bearing packers.

New Orleans Auto Repair also known as C.A.R.S has been handling New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, and Harahan automotive and car care needs since 1981. Voted best car care service in Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish.

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