What Happens When Your Front Wheel Bearings Fail?

Front wheel bearings like every other part of your vehicle will over time wear out. As part of a good maintenance plan, you should think about replacing them at one point during the life of your car. In many cases the front wheel bearings will outlast every other part of the vehicle, in others, they have to be replaced long before you would expect. There are several things that affect the life of your wheel bearings, like weather, driving habits and age of the vehicle.  There is one thing that you want to avoid at all costs. You do not want to wait to replace your front wheel bearings until you have no other choice because by then you may be in trouble.

What Can Happen?

Your wheels turn because of the action of the bearings. With that being said the worst case scenario is that your wheels will stop turning because the bearings go bad, and it stops turning when you are going 65 miles down the crowded highway. The accident would be horrendous. Typically, wheel bearings do not just “fail” it is a process that is a recognizable process. It takes time for bearings to fail and before the actual fail there will be noticeable signs that something is not right.

What to Look For

Most people that know anything about their vehicle will make the mistake of attributing squeaky or chirpy wheels to a brake issue because in most cases it is your brake pads that need to be replaced but if you know that your brakes have been done in a reasonable amount of time, then the sound may be the bearings. Bearings will make noise as they are starting to deteriorate. It may be a chirping. It may be a squeaking or it may be more of a grinding (metal on metal) sound but there will likely be a sound.
Also look for:

  • A pulling feeling in the wheel
  • A skidding feeling in the wheel or skipping feeling

You may notice that your tire feels like it “skips” while you are driving or that it suddenly feels like it stops and then catches again.

Take Care of It

Nothing good happens when your front wheel bearings fail. It can be a very dangerous situation. The fix is easy. To avoid the problems, change out your front wheel bearings as part of your maintenance.


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