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Three Effective Methods for Testing Wheel Hub Functionality

Whether you’ve just installed a wheel hub or you’re examining existing units, there are three effective methods you can use to test wheel hub functionality. Rotating vehicle tires and assemblies by hand can alert you to major defects, and using a measurement gauge on units can give you insights into more subtle problems. None of these techniques are foolproof, but they can provide you with a high level of assurance regarding wheel hub functionality.

Rotate Tires

If you rotate tires by hand, clockwise and counterclockwise, you can get an indication of whether or not wheel hub assemblies are performing appropriately. Any difficulty rotating tires in either direction is a red flag there is a problem. You have to pay attention for any slight bumps or noises that are out of the ordinary. If you start to hear metallic grinding sounds without any unusual vibrations, dismounting the tire is the next step in troubleshooting the variance and identifying the root cause.

Rotate Wheel Hubs

Rotating wheel hubs by hand will give you a better indication of whether or not the unit is performing correctly. You need to watch for difficulty in rotation, similar to the process used when rotating tires. Variations can be an indication that the wheel hubs are damaged, not torqued enough or not attached properly. In any of these situations, you’ll have to adjust the unit. The effectiveness of this method is contingent on the experience and skill of the technician performing the procedure. However, major defects can be detected with ease.

Gauge Hub Rotation

There are many different machines on the market for testing the functionality of tires and wheel hub assemblies, some of which cost many thousands of dollars. Rotary fatigue and wheel impact test machines can be used to gauge hub rotation, but you can also use gauges similar to micrometers to take precise measurements by hand. Your shop resources will often dictate the level of sophistication of your testing, but it’s important to take a scientific measurement when analyzing wheel hub functionality.

Testing wheel hub assemblies is an important procedure when installing and replacing units. Use these three methods to your advantage, and keep your customers’ vehicles performing optimally.