A hub assembly appears to be quite simple but without it the car would not move very far. It is the hub assembly, which is located between the suspension and the brake disk that the vehicle wheel is fastened to. To ensure the wheel turns smoothly the hub contains the wheel bearings.
This assembly is considered as a low to no maintenance component, basically it should last for the life of the car. The hub takes the weight of the vehicle and must withstand road conditions. If the car is driven consistently over rough roads or roads with large potholes there is the distinct possibility that there will be a need for wheel bearing replacement.
There is very little that can be done about the condition of the roads but there is a little that you can do to extend the life of the wheel bearings in your car; use high quality grease. But even ensuring that your bearings well lubricated, damage and eventual failure can still happen.
Keep your ears open:
If you should hear unusual noises coming from your car, do not ignore them. The greatest majority of wheel bearing problems are found from noise; other ways that problems are identified is during wheel alignment and brake repair.
There are a few things that might indicate the need for wheel bearings replacement:
- Unusual noises such as grinding or squealing that change their intensity and pitch as your vehicle speed changes
- A “humming” noise that increases in volume when you turn a corner
Have the car checked:
A failure of a wheel bearing actually can be catastrophic, in a worst-case scenario the wheel of the car could actually come off. If you hear odd noises make sure your look into it, try to identify the problem early if there is one. If your technician feels that there is too much play in the wheel or excessive drag when the wheel turns, then it is time to replace the hub and bearings. It is suggested that if one side needs replacing, the other side should be replaced as well; sooner rather than later you can expect the so-called “good” side to fail as well.
When your technician undertakes wheel bearings replacement ensure that he uses only high quality bearings. Less expensive hubs may use less expensive bearings, even bearings that are smaller and lighter duty than the original bearings specified by the vehicle manufacturer.