Do I Have a Bad Wheel Bearing?

The wheel bearings in your car take a lot of abuse.  Not only do they have to support the entire weight of your vehicle while it is traveling over rough roads, potholes and maybe the occasional curb, they also have to take the lateral forces of corners you take and have to do all that while allowing your wheel to spin at thousands of revolutions per minute.  Unlike your engine bearings, your wheel bearings don’t have a constant supply of oil lubricating and cooling them, they have to be self-sufficient and also be sealed tight enough to keep road dust and water out of them.

Tapered BearingWheel bearings are impressive machines that accomplish all these tasks for hundreds of thousands of miles.  Wheel bearings can support both horizontal loading of the lateral loading of corners by being tapered.  This means the bearing surfaces, in most case tiny drums that ride in a bearing race, are situated at an angle.  Mechanics call these taper roller bearings.  The roller bearing is the tiny drum that supports the load while allowing the wheel to turn and the taper is what supports both horizontal and lateral loading.  These types of bearings work in conjunction with bearing grease that is added just before the bearing is installed and a seal that is installed outside the bearing to keep the grease in and dust and water out.   If your vehicle has a solid axle like a truck or SUV’s rear axle you may have a variety of bearing types depending on the manufacturer of the axle.  Also, many new vehicles today come with sealed bearings which are entire units that cannot be serviced but must be replaced in their entirety.  Sealed bearings are very convenient and easy to replace but sometimes cost more than old tapered style roller bearings.  Sealed bearings are mostly found on the front wheels of trucks and SUVs with independent front suspension and on most newer cars.

No matter what type of bearing you have, the symptoms of a failed bearing are the same.  A wheel bearing will usually fail due to pitting or small damage on the surface of the rollers or the bearing race.  Both the surface of the rollers and the race is precision machined to tight tolerances and highly polished to allow the rollers to pass easily over the race with the addition of bearing grease for lubrication and cooling.  Over time the bearing will wear slightly, allowing microscopic pieces of metal into the grease.  These microscopic pieces of metal, as well as any contamination that gets into the bearing, will wear away at the highly polished surfaces causing pitting and deformation.  Since so much weight is riding on your wheel bearings, and so much load is put on them in corners, even the smallest amount of surface damage to your bearing can cause a lot of noise.Bearing Noise

Bearing noise can sound a lot like a brake pad dragging or grinding.  It can also sound like whirring, whining or humming depending on how much sound deadening material your vehicle has in it.  Bearing noise will always be dependent on vehicle speed meaning as you speed up or slow down the noise should change frequency or loudness.  Cornering may affect the noise from a damaged front wheel bearing but you may not notice it if it is a rear wheel bearing issue.  Also, the longer you drive, the often the louder the humming or whining will be as the bearing grease heats up.  Bearing damage usually happens slowly over the course of days or weeks or maybe even months.  You may notice the noise getting louder and louder over 50-100 miles.  Make sure you replace a worn bearing quickly, but it may be ok to drive for a few days to verify you have a bearing problem.  A worn bearing will generate more heat than a good bearing so you can sometimes find a worn bearing by feel your vehicle’s wheels near the lug nuts.  If one wheel is significantly hotter than the others, it may have a bad bearing.

The best way to check for bearing damage is raise both front wheels off the ground if it is a front wheel bearing issue, or both back wheels if the noise is coming from the rear.  Anytime you have multiple wheels of your vehicle off the ground, be careful to have it properly supported and blocked.  Make sure your vehicle is in neutral and the emergency brake is off.  Next, spin both of the wheels.  They should both spin freely and easily and continue to spin after you stop pushing them.  If one wheel turns significantly harder than the other then it has a bad wheel bearing.  If your wheel feels loose on your car and all the lug nuts are tight then you have an extremely damaged wheel bearing and should consider replacing it before driving the vehicle again.

Always replace your wheel bearings with the manufacture recommended bearings.  Wheel bearings can effect fuel mileage, performance and ride quality so make sure you get the right replacement parts.

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118 responses to “Do I Have a Bad Wheel Bearing?

  1. Hey BlueDevil Pro,

    I found this article in my search for possible answers regarding some symptoms of my 1998 Saturn SL2. At freeway speeds, it feels like I have an off-balance tire accompanied by a harmonic singing. The reason I describe it as similar to an off balance tire is that it doesn’t happen under about 55, then goes away at about 60, then comes back at 75 or so. If I jerk the steering wheel slightly to the right (short but sharp, keep in mind I was doing this at US highway speeds ~75-80mph), the sound goes away and the ride becomes smooth again. Jerk it back left and the symptoms all show up again. Unfortunately I noticed this a little over halfway through a 1,000 mile drive, so I chose to push on and hope for the best. When I arrived at my destination I checked my CV shafts for torn boots and they seemed fine.

    My next step will be to jack up the front end and test the wheels like you described here, but I wanted to ask if there might be anything else I should check while I do that, or if you have any other suggestions about what may cause these symptoms.

    Thank you very much!
    Alex

    1. Alex,

      Sorry to hear about your Saturn giving you problems, but I’m glad you made it to your destination safely. Our best guess is that you have a bad wheel bearing, but it is also possible your actual tires are causing the problems. A poorly worn tread pattern could cause the same sounds you are describing. While you have a wheel jacked up, you might also check for loose lug nuts and proper tire pressure.

      Besides a bad wheel bearing, you may still have a bad CV joint, even with good boots, or it may be worn suspension components. For another great article on the noises all these components make when they fail, try reading here: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/steering-wheel-noise/.

      If you have any more questions, please leave us a comment on that article as well.

    2. Alex, what was the problem with your car? I’m wondering because I also have a Saturn SL, only mine is a ’99. And what you described sounds just like what is going on with my car, and everyone is arguing over it being a wheel bearing or a CV joint. Of course I’m still going to take it to a mechanic, I just want to know what your issue was.

  2. I was at work one night last week when I went to move my car I got about 10 feet from my parking spot and it sounded like maybe I hit a pot hole and something dropped my car didn’t wat to move it felt like my brakes locked up when I was pushing the gas the next day it didn’t do it but it did twice last night my car over heats easily because my fan don’t kick on when it should only if my car has heat or a.c going but I’m sure that is a different problem because my car is 12 years old my miter says it could be something to do with my traction and my uncle says it could be the wheel bearing just wondering what the problem sounds like to you

    1. Amber-

      Thanks for your question about your vehicle. It sounds like your problem is coming from your transmission or axles. Most of the time if brakes or wheel bearings lock up, they don’t let go without replacing or rebuilding them. It sounds more like one of your CV joints is completely worn out and locking up or the differential in your transmission is broken and similarly causing the problem. Since this could be a safety issue if it happens at speed, we recommend you having your vehicle looked at by a mechanic as soon as possible.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  3. Good article, and very accurate. I am sitting at a repair spot right now getting my front drivers side wheel bearing replaced. There was a hum that started at 15mph and got pretty loud at speed. And it got louder as I turned right. And thankfully, my ASC Warranty is covering the repair.

  4. I have a 1998 Ford Ranger that is 4 wheel drive when I’m going down the road, even in a straight line, I hear a grinding sound coming from the front end. Some people have told me that it could be a wheel bearing. It starts at different speeds but always stops when it gets below 5 MPH. The wheel bearing seems good with no movement. Any suggestions on what it might be?

    1. Mike,

      Bad wheel bearings are usually associated with humming noises, not grinding sounds. Grinding noises usually have more to do with brake problems rather than wheel bearings. Try reading our article about brake noise to see if that is the problem you are having. You can find that article here: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/squeaking-brakes/.

      -BlueDevil Pro

        1. Mike,

          A bad road could indeed cause a humming noise, but grinding seems a little unlikely. For example, concrete roads with grooves cut in them for water control can sometimes sing or hum as you drive on them. Also if you have a road covered by stone and oil it can cause a significant amount of road noise. You can prove the noise is coming from the road by checking for a difference in noise when you change roads, or by driving a different car on the same road and seeing if you get the same noise.

  5. Hi, I’m wondering if it’s just my tires there’s not much tread left they are 35″ mid tires, the sound is loud like a rotational hum then goes away at 50 km a hour no noise change left to right and jacked front end up no play when pushing top and bottom and very little when pushing on sides (steering wheel movement) wondering if it’s wheel bearing or just bad tires thanks

    1. Cal-

      With 35” mud tires it is very possible the noise you are hearing is simply tire noise. This is even more likely the case if the tires have not been properly rotated over there life time. If tires, especially mud tires, are not regularly rotated, the tread can become scalloped and uneven causing strange noises while driving. The best way to check to see if this is the problem is to rotate your tires and see if the noise changes. It may not completely go away but badly worn tires usually wear differently so you should hear a change in the sound when rotating the tires front to back. If it sounds the same after a tire rotation you may have just the start of a bad wheel bearing.

      Thank You!

      -BDP

      1. I recently had the 2 front struts and tires on my 04 suzuki forenza replaced, and now 3 days later, I get a loud hum in the front end that starts at 40mph, (almost sounds like an exhaust leak) but stops when I slow down under 40mph, would that be a wheel bearing or just the tires?

        1. Mike-

          Thanks for your question about your Suzuki Forenza. Based on your description, the noise you are hearing could be a wheel bearing going bad. If it is a bad wheel bearing, the noise should get louder as you put more miles on your car and you should start to notice it even at lower speeds. If it is just noisy tires, the sound should stay constant as you put more miles on them.

          The other possibility is that you have a front CV joint going bad. Try reading our article about CV joint issues to see if that sounds like it is your problem. https://www.gobdp.com/blog/steering-wheel-noise/.

          -BDP

  6. I just bought an 04 Chrysler Pacifica friday drove it out of town for the weekend no problems on the way home driving at 80 mph my car jerked left and when i corrected it by pulling it back right and got it straight it jerked to the right. Now it is tuesday and my car is still doing it between 60-80 mph any idea as to what this problem could be?

    1. Tiffany,

      Thanks for your question about your Pacifica. It sounds like you had a component in your steering system fail pretty suddenly. Usually, this doesn’t happen without hitting a pothole or curb. Unless the problem is accompanied by clunking or other vibrations, the problem most likely lies with a broken tie rod or tie rod end. Even if you did identify the broken component, once it is replaced you would need to get a front end alignment which isn’t something you can do at home. It would be best to have your Pacifica looked at by an alignment shop to make sure they can replace the part and perform an alignment at the same time. We would recommend you having this done as soon as possible as poor alignment can really wear down your tires quickly.

      1. Im taking the car back to see if the dealership i bought it from will look at it and do something but thank you for your reply

  7. I have a 2005 ford explorer I was taking a three hour trip home on all highways when I started to hear a grinding and humming to me it sounded like the breaks were worn down until the truck started to sway back and forth as if the rear driver tire was wobbling could this be my wheel bearing and will this be dangerous to drive till I can get it to a shop? Please help!!!

    1. Nicole,

      Thanks for your question about your Explorer. The noise you are describing does sound like a bad wheel bearing. The fact that you noticed the rear tire wobbling makes me think that you have a major issue in the rear of your truck! We don’t recommend you driving it anymore until you get the problem fixed. If you do drive more a bad wheel bearing could turn into a broken axle or other problems with your rear end costing you more money in repairs.

  8. I have a 2005 tahoe I noticed with in just a month or so that it was swaying pretty bad. Expecially when I would go over a bridge and come off of the hump right after it. Sometimes with dips in the roads. I talked to a friend who is a mechanic and he said the back rear tire was leaning slightly and that it could be my problem. As of now I still havnt heard a noise like I’ve hear with other wheel bearings it does vibrate about 55 to 60. And I have shook the tire and it wabbles. My next thing is feeling the heat on it after r I drive it a short ways. ( not getting to far from home)

    1. Beth-

      It does sound like you have a wheel bearing issue on your 05 Tahoe. The fact that you can physically wobble the wheel makes us think it’s getting pretty bad and may be worth looking at very soon to make sure you don’t cause any more damage. Since your truck has a solid rear axle, if your tire is wobbling badly you may also have other problems inside your differential so we would recommend having a mechanic do the work that understands differentials as well.

      Thanks!

      -BDP

      1. Hello. I’m not sure if I’m asking in the right place. I have a 03 Mazda b3000 truck with a limited slip differential. I bought the truck in February of this year. Out drove extremely south and very well during the rest drive and during the first week I had it. I ended up having a blow out on a Sunday, so I had no choice but to use Wal-Mart to fix it. I bought 2 new rear tires which ended up being a fiasco. Can you believe that they didn’t even put weights on my tires the “second” time they put them on? So I had a terrible vibration while trying to drive it home but ended up turning around and going back. Not to mention the fact that they replaced the wrong tires on their first try. they balanced all 4 for free. That fixed most of the vibration that was caused by weightless tires. But I still had a pretty bad vibration that felt like was coming from the rear end to me. Not only that but it’s not constant. It starts only on the highway between 60mph and 70mph. Also it comes and goes at those speeds. Say for instance, the truck will be driving south for a mile or 2, but then I’ll hit a bump. The vibration will start up. then I’ll it a bend in the road or hot another bump and it will vanish. Only at highway speeds though. So I took it to discount and they told me the balancing on my tires was pretty damn good. They went ahead and rebalance all 4 anyway. Still didn’t fix the vibration. I’ve had my driveshaft balanced, my front bearings, breaks, and rotors replaced. Because that’s what the Mazda dealership said was causing the issue. Still didn’t fix it. They said they seen my rear driver tore going crazy when running it up on the jack. They think I have a bad axle. But wouldn’t it vibrate constantly if it were a bent axle? They couldn’t get my drums off supposedly to check. They hammered and pulled, but still couldn’t get either rear side drum off the truck. I don’t hear any squealing or grinding noises coming from any of my wheels. I’m thinking it’s a bad rear axle bearing which I’m going to replace myself tomorrow. If I can get the drums off. But this truck drove like a champ for the 2 hour test drive I took it on down the highway when I bought it. Wal-Mart replaced 2 rear tires and ever since then I’ve been taking this issue down. Hopefully I’ve pin pointed out with it being the rear axle bearings. Any ideas of what’s causing this slightly rough/bouncing/vibration that comes and goes when I’m driving on the highway? Again no odd noises. At all…

        1. Ryan,

          Thanks for your question about the vibrations in your truck. It sounds like you’ve had quite a mess so far, but it sounds like you’re close to solving the problem. It is possible that the vibrations tore up one of the bearings in your rear end. It could be the outer bearings or maybe even the input shaft bearing. If you’re having trouble getting the drums off, that seems possible that you have a bad bearing as it would allow the axle to shift in the tube pinching the drum on the hub. The other possibility to consider is that your rear shocks or blown out and once vibrations start after a bump the shocks aren’t properly damping the vibrations allowing them to continue.

  9. My daughter’s older Dodge Neon’s rear wheel is no longer turning (she hasn’t driven it for 2 or 3 days). I don’t know if it’s wheel bearing/suspension problem or a brake problem – I’m going over to heck it later today. She mentioned the car seemed to have been worker harder recently. I was hoping it was a brake problem, but after reading this now I think it may be a bearing or some other drive/suspension problem. Either way it sounds like she’ll be without a car for a few days.

    1. Alan-

      Sorry to hear about your daughter’s Neon breaking down. Whether it is a brake issue or a bearing issue, it should be relatively easy to fix on her car. Start by removing the wheel and the brake drum in the rear. Once that is off the brakes are no longer engaged and you will be able to try to turn the wheel hub where the lug nuts are. If you can turn the hub easily by hand then her problem was sticking brakes. If the hub is difficult to turn or doesn’t feel very smooth then you most likely have a bad wheel bearing and need to replace it first.

      Thank You!

      -BDP

  10. I had a wheel bearing noise, had passenger front replaced. Noise went away. 8 months later it was back, assumed it was front drivers side so had that replaced. Noise still exists.
    1 Garage said its passenger front again, so took to garage that replaced that as would be under warranty. They cant find any signs of a bad bearing but the noise is that of one.

    They are stumped. Can anyone help?

    1. Dene,

      Most phantom wheel bearing noises we find are actually due to tire noise rather than bad wheel bearings. Try rotating your tires to see if it changes the noise. If your tires are poorly worn, it may take a few hundred miles after the rotation to smooth them out.

  11. My 97 Jackaroo makes a noise from the right rear when turning right from stand still and only last for a few seconds. From reading forums I think it might be pitted bearings. Is this possible as it does only last for seconds. No other issues or sounds when I drive back and forth to work each day in 35 and 60 mile speed limits.
    Cheers
    Jay

    1. Jay,

      Thanks for your question about your 97 Jackaroo. Usually, wheel bearing noises are more noticeable at speed than when going slowly. It is possible that the sound stops since you aren’t turning as sharply at the end of the turn and the lateral weight is off of the bearing so it is a possibility. If that is the case it should continue to get worse as you drive.

      Usually, low-speed wheel noise is associated with brake issues rather than bearings. Try reading our article about brake noise to see if anything sounds like your problem: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/squeaking-brakes/

  12. Hello there. I have a 2010 f150 supercrew 2×4 I noticed a humming/shaking noice on the rear when traveling at 45 50 steady speed. It lasts a couple of seconds but it comes and goes often. Need ur help

    1. Leo,

      Thanks for your question about your F-150. Often times in pickup trucks if the bed is empty you can get some shaking or bouncing if your shocks are going bad but aren’t quite all the way shot yet. The rear suspension of your truck is designed to carry a heavy load so it can bounce and vibrate when it is empty.

      The other possibility is that you do have a bearing going out in the rear end. It is possible it is a wheel bearing, but with it coming and going it could also be your pinion bearing or another bearing in your differential. If you don’t have play in your driveshaft, or in your wheels yet, keep listening for the sound. If a bearing is going bad it will get more consistent and louder.

  13. I am driving my mother’s 1987 Chrysler LeBaron that had 6K miles on it when she died. She always maintained it, kept it garaged, and as a result, looks showroom new. It now has 27K miles on it. Over the past several weeks I have been diving my mechanic crazy for the past several weeks. I had my front shocks replaced with an alignment and now my car shakes when I drive. Slow, fast, it doesn’t matter. I brought it back to the shop and they rebalanced my tires. Problem still happens. Gets worse the faster I go. I feel the vibration in my seat and to a lesser degree, the steering wheel. The shaking is predominately in the front passenger side. Mechanic checked the tires for wear (only 21K miles on them but they are switched to winter every fall so even less wear than that). No problem found. We are at a loss. The mechanic doesn’t think it has anything to do with the bearing. I do hear a slight (road?) hum but always associated that with the tire going over the road surface and the hum doesn’t get loader or softer. Any idea what could possibly be going on here? I really don’t want to throw any more money into an older car.

    1. Ana,

      Thanks for your question about your LeBaron. You’ve done just about everything we would recommend for the problem you are having. A bad wheel bearing wouldn’t cause vibrations like you are describing. Depending how old the tires are, the problem might not be that they’re out of balance but that they have flat spots on them from sitting in the garage. Try rotating the tires front to back and seeing if the issue moves to the back of your car instead of the front. If that is the case, a new set of tires should solve your problems. If not, we would recommend checking for worn suspension components. Even if they don’t look worn, years of sitting could have allowed the lubrication in them to dry out and not allow them to flex like they should.

  14. Had my Prius inspected and they failed it due to a rear break issue. they also mentioned that I have a failing bearing and were not able to figure out which one it was while inspecting and putting new tires on.

    I am unsure if it is both rear or just 1. RL had the bad rotor when I took it off to replace it with no breaks on it rotating it was not overly easy and a ticking sound came from it like you had stuck a playing card in the spokes of a bike only quieter.

    When I went to the RR after removing the breaks I rotated that one and it was only a bit stiffer to turn and made a growling noise. I am quite sure that one is bad but I am not quite sure what to make of the other one.

    when turned neither one would continue rotating on its own with or wo breaks. The article was a bit vague on what freely spinig means. should they continue to rotate a few times or stop before half a rotation and is that with or wo break pads?

    1. Kendrick,

      Thanks for your question about your Prius. Without a wheel and tire on the hub, it probably won’t rotate very far (1/2 turn at most) after you finish spinning it. Sometimes it can be easier to tell by putting the wheel and tire on snug with a lug nut or 2 and spin the assembly using the tire. The weight of the wheel and tire should allow the hub to spin freely even after you stop pushing the wheel for a few full rotations. In any case, if you are hearing noise from the bearing while spinning the hub it’s a good indication that the bearing is bad.

  15. I have a 2001 Buick century with 82000 miles on it and I pulled out a drive way Saturday whent about 20ft forward my driver right side wheel locked up for about 2 secs then went another 20ft did it again for a few seconds then after that I drove it cautiously home for about 10 miles stoping and going hitting speeds of up to 45mph had no problems. Didn’t drive Sunday then Monday morning I back up 10 feet then go in drive went 30 feet then the driver tire locked up and remains locked up in drive. I jacked up the one side and put the car in neutral and the tire spins both ways but when it’s on the ground it completely stuck but it will drive in reverse but only moved in reverse about 10 feet. So you have any ideas of what it could be?? Thanks for the help.

    1. Matt-

      Thanks for your question about your Buick Century. It was difficult to tell from your description if it was the front or rear tire. If it is a rear tire then it’s most likely a problem with your brakes being out of alignment. Consider having those services and possibly your drum or rotor resurfaced. Make sure when the mechanics service the brakes they lubricate the slides or shoes well.

      If it was your front wheel that locked up you most likely have a problem with your CV joint on that side. For a quick read on CV joint problems, check out our article about that here: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/steering-wheel-noise/.

      Thank You!

      -BDP

  16. I got a wheel bearing replaced last Saturday. got my car back and ever since then when I hard lock left my car is screeching. it doesn’t do it any other time just when I turn left. have had it back 2 times and its still there. have had the discs and calliper off cant find anything. can you please help. desperate

    1. Paul-

      Thanks for your question about your vehicle. The only other thing besides a brake problem that we would suggest checking is your alignment. It is possible that with the new wheel bearing your alignment is slightly off so when you turn one of your wheels is dragging and screeching. It’s always a good idea to have an alignment done after having any front end work completed.

      Thanks!

      -BDP

  17. Within the last few weeks my truck has had a nasty “thumping” when driving slow. Like backing out of my drive way and pulling into driveway, basically driving under 10 mph. Noticed I needed a front end alignment. The inside wear was horrible and I just got all 4 tires brand new in Dec. Also driving on the highway I was hearing a humming sound. Also, before the humming and thumping I was hearing squeaking coming from the front. I feel the driver side… then came all of the other issues.
    So Fri I had 2 new tires and an alignment, thinking this was all due to the tires. Well I picked it up after work fri and still have the thumping sound. Yesterday driving home I was doing 40 and the thumping started. Freaked me out because it was only ever when I would drive really slow. I also hear like a clicking sound when I first start to pull off. To me it kinda of sounds like something breaking, it’s the only way I can explain it. It’s not a nice sound! I’m afraid my truck is just going to break.
    I didn’t go to work today because I work 40 miles from home and that’s on the highway. I no longer want to drive…
    I don’t know if my wheels are wiggling, I have no one to check for me and before I take it to my garage, I want to see if it’s what I think it may be….
    Please help.

    1. Thanks for your question about your truck. The noises you are describing do sound pretty bad so it seems smart that you didn’t make the 40 mile drive. Since a lot of your issues seem to be related to your front end, that would be a good place to start. The humming you are describing sounds like it could be a bad wheel bearing and with the extra wear on your front tires, it is possible that you wore out your wheel bearings very quickly and they need to be replaced. To see if this is your problem, check out our article about bad wheeling bearings here: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/bad-wheel-bearing/.

      The other things that might be worth checking are the condition of your shocks and your drive shaft u-joints. You can check your u-joints by holding the brake and shifting from drive to reverse and back a few times. If you hear a clunk or a thump then you probably need to replace your u-joints. If your truck is 4-wheel drive it may also be worth checking your CV joints. For more information on bad CV joints, check out our article about that here: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/steering-wheel-noise/.

      -BDP

  18. I have a 2005 Chevy Silverado 4×4. Whenever I brake and when I first take off it makes a pretty rough sound and vibrates the whole truck. My front tires also make this metal shaving sound like when your pads are worn but I just replaced my pads rotors and calipers in the front. When I was driving it started making a clinking sound almost a knock by my tires. I drove home slow about 15 miles and every so often the truck would jerk left and right. It would still make that knock(clicking) sound but if I sped up above 45 or 50 it would go away. I know previously before this whenever I would drive above 70 I would feel the truck vibrate and feel it in the pedal. The vibration was pretty consistent when it came to doing it at 70mph. A few time it would do it at 65-70. I was wondering if this may be a wheel bearing or cv joint or something.

    1. Miguel,

      Thanks for your question about your 2005 Silverado. Based on your description and considering you’ve recently replaced your brake components in the front end, it sounds like your problem either is coming from a bad CV joint or from the 4×4 engaging mechanism in your front hubs. If you had a bad wheel bearing making that much noise you would be able to see the tire wobbling while you were driving. Since you said it sometimes grabs and jerks the truck left or right we would recommend starting by checking your 4×4 system at the front hubs.

  19. Hello,
    I have a 98 Ford Explorer. About two weeks I started hearing a grinding noise. I took it to Sears Auto and they said the entire rear differential is shot. They don’t do this repair and so I called the dealer. The parts alone run about 1500.00. In light of the age and mileage (206,000), and multiple little things I need to fix in addition to the differential, I’m looking for a new car. However, can I drive the Explorer as is for a week or two? Or…is that too risky.

    1. Annetta,

      Thanks for your question about your Explorer. If you are already hearing grinding noises then a bearing somewhere in your rear differential is in pretty bad shape. The worst that would happen if you continue to drive is that your rear tires would lock up while you are driving which can be very dangerous. This scenario is unlikely as bearings start to make a lot of noise even when they are only slightly damaged. A good way to tell how bad your problem is is by checking for oil leaks around the ends of the axle and where the drive shaft enters the differential. When bearings get very worn they will cause leaks at those seals.

      We would recommend getting a second opinion on your Explorer as the entire rear differential will almost never go bad. Most of the time it’s simply one out of a few different bearings that goes bad, or the gears or worn out. A specialty shop may be able to replace just the gears or worn bearing for much less. A second option would be to find an entire used rear axle at a junkyard and have a shop change the entire unit. Explorers are popular vehicles so you may be able to find the whole axle at a reasonable price.

  20. HELPPP…. 1996 Lexus es300… Right rear making a rumble.. I know the parking brake is gone.. However my wheel has some play when I have the Car stationary… If I wiggle the wheel back and forth it moves probably an 1/8 of an inch either way… When I’m turning slightly left at highway speeds I can hear and feel the rumble.. Had checked out.. Was told it MIGHT be rear control arm and trailing arms in the rear.. Was advised against the work saying it wasn’t worth risking taking the bolts out that go through the frame as well as having to drop the tank to do the repair. At a loss.. Idk I feel like its a wheel bearing issue.. Please help

    1. Stephen,

      The noise you are describing does sound like a wheel bearing issue to us. The fact that you described it as a rumble, that it changes when you go around a corner, and has slightly play back and forth all sound like symptoms of a bad wheel bearing, not a bad suspension component. The wheel bearing on your right rear is sealed bearing so you won’t be able to inspect it by looking at it or removing it. After properly securing your car try raising both rear wheels off the ground without the e-brake on. Remove both wheels and try spinning each hub separately and seeing if the right hub has more resistance. If so then you’ve got a bad wheel bearing on that side.

  21. Recently bought a used 2005 Ford Ranger. While driving it home some 5hrs I noticed a shake or wobble that would come and go at various speeds (between 80-120km/hr). At times it was in the front because I could feel it in the steering wheel and other times it felt it was coming from the rear as the steering wheel was solid. While most of the time the truck drove smoothly, It felt as though the wheels would get into sync and set up a resonance to shake the truck and then as they got out of sync (usually in a curve) it would quiet down. Speed did not see to be a factor. Any thoughts? Wheels, bearings, suspension components?

    1. Roman,

      Thanks for your question about your 2005 Ford Ranger. The problem you’re having does sound like a suspension issue. For a quick read on how to find suspension problems, check out our article about that here: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/squeaky-suspension/.

      Our best guess is that your shock absorbers need to be replaced. Most manufacturers recommend replacing your shocks every 60,000 miles, but they can often last longer than that. You can do a crude inspection of your shocks by bouncing up and down on one corner of your truck and seeing if it continues to bounce once you stop pushing. If your truck continues to bounce or does not settle quickly it is an indication that you need to replace that shock.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BlueDevil Pro

  22. 2004 GMC Envoy making a noticeable humming noise with a slight steering wheel vibration. Noise gets louder with speed and turning. Noise continues until I get below 15 mph. It is definitely coming from the front of the vehicle. Envoy has 114,000 miles and we have never replaced anything but breaks and rotors.

    1. T,

      Thanks for your question about your GMC Envoy. The noise you are describing does sound like one of your front wheel bearings is going bad and needs to be replaced. There is also a slight possibility it is a bad CV joint, but that would be accompanied by a clicking noise while turning a sharp corner.

  23. I found this article after having replaced my drivers side CV half shaft on my 97 suzuki swift. When all was said and done, and I put the car back together, there was a wobble with the tire. The lugs are all tight and the CV nut is tight, however when i grab the wheel at 12 and 6 and try to wobble it, it moves significantly. Could this be the wheel bearings? or more likely a ball joint?

    1. Dean,

      Great work in replacing your CV shaft! Many times to remove a CV shaft you do have to remove a few suspension components as well to swing the knuckle out far enough to get the CV shaft out. If you removed a ball joint or the control arm during your CV shaft replacement then start by checking those nuts and bolts to make sure they’re tight. Next, when you’re wobbling your wheel have someone look behind it to see what is moving. If the wheel is moving, but the brake caliper is stationary then you probably have a bad wheel bearing. If the brake caliper along with the whole knuckle is moving then the issue is most likely a ball joint.

  24. A couple of weeks ago I replaced the front brake pads and rotors on my 2008 Honda Civic. I also had to replace the driver side caliper, the other one was fine. a couple of day ago i started to hear a whining sound from the front passenger side wheel. I pulled over to see what it was and saw that i had 3 loose lugs and the other 2 were missing. I tightened everything up and drove on. Since that time the whining /rubbing sound has been getting louder and more constant with every mile that I drive. It stops when i apply the brakes. I have since pulled the brakes back off and applied a whole package of the brake grease but it has done nothing to stop the noise. i have tried driving it at speeds of up to 70 plus MPH and there is no shimmy or vibration so i’m not sure that the wheel bearing is the culprit. Any ideas ??

    1. Albert,

      Thanks for your question about your Civic. Since it sounds like you’ve ruled out the brakes being the cause of your issue, your only other options really are your wheel bearing, cv joint or possibly the tire. It is possible that the loose lug nuts and wobbly tire lead to some other damage, either your wheel bearing, CV joint or possibly bad wear of your tire causing the noise. To check for a bad cv joint, try reading our article about that here: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/steering-wheel-noise/.

      It is possible that you have a bad wheel bearing even if you don’t feel the effects of it yet. If you do have a bad wheel bearing the noise will continue to get worse as you drive, and eventually you’ll be able to feel play in the wheel. You can check by raising your passenger side wheel off the ground, grabbing it at the 12 and 6 o’clock position and trying to wobble it. If you’re able to move it at all then your bearing is indeed going bad.

  25. My Ford freestyle has a loud hum @ 40pmh coming from the rear. When corning to the right it gets quiter. Would this indicate the front bearing more than the rear?

    1. Jon-

      Thanks for your question about your Ford Freestyle. If the sound is coming from the rear and it gets quitter when turning right we would guess the problem is with your left rear wheel bearing. You can figure out which is the problem by securing your car and jacking both rear wheels off the ground. Pull the tires off and try spinning the hub by hand. If you have a bearing going bad one side should have a noticeable drag, or feel slightly bumpy as it spins.

      Thank You!

      -BDP

  26. Excellent article. I’m thinking I have a bad wheel bearing on the drivers side rear wheel. When I’m driving I can’t hear any noise over my engine noise, but at highway speed when I turn right the car will start to shake. It seems to shake more if I let off the gas into the turn; when I punch it it usually levels out quickly. I just replaced all 4 struts (because they were bad), front control arms and have all new tires. That seemed to have fixed the issue for a couple of weeks, but now it is shaking again when I turn right at high speeds. I jacked my car up and tried wiggling the wheel and it didn’t seem to move. When I spin it I can hear a little bit of noise but not much. The other rear wheel doesn’t make any noise. Do you think this is my wheel bearing or could it be trailing arms? I’m driving a 03 hyundai accent.

    1. Kevin-

      Thanks for your question about your Hyundai Accent. Based on the changes in the vibration with acceleration and cornering, and the noise you hear when spinning that rear wheel, it seems pretty likely that you do have a bad wheel bearing on that side. It isn’t surprising that you aren’t getting any movement when trying to wobble the wheel on that side as your car has a relatively large sealed unit bearing in the rear so it would have to be extremely worn out before you get any movement. Bad wheel bearings are not unusual on your car and are relatively easily to replace.

      -BDP

  27. I have a 2008 chevy trailblazer. It’s a solid little suv, but recently I’ve been getting the metal shaving sound from what seems to be the front right wheel. The only odd thing I can find is that it happens between 30-35 mph and again right around 50 mph. I have checked both sets brakes and a few indicators for wheel bearings, and everything seems ok? Would you have any indication as to what this issue may be?

    1. Troy-

      Thanks for your question about your Trailblazer. Usually metal grinding noises are a brake problem so great job in checking that out. If it has been a year or more since you had your brake pads changed, you may simple need to re-lubricate the caliper slides and the back of the brake pads to make sure they are floating properly in the caliper.

      If you are sure the noise isn’t coming from your brakes, you may simply check around your front tires for loose plastics that may be getting caught in the wind and rubbing on the tire or dragging on the ground. The last thing you might check is your CV joints. With the noise you’re describing you would definitely have a torn boot so check the axle for grease and the boots for tears. If you find a tear then you’re in the market for a new CV joint.

      -BDP

  28. My wife’s car is making a knocking sound in the front end, and it shakes so bad that it feels like it is falling apart. The vibration that it gives can be felt in the steering wheel. It is a 2001 Dodge neon. Any ideas on what it could be?

    1. Corey-

      Usually shaking from the front end use either due to warped front brake rotors or an out of balance tire. If the vibration changes when you apply the brakes, or can be felt in your brake pedal, especially from highway speeds, it is a good indication that the front rotors needs to be replaced. If braking doesn’t affect the vibration then we would suggest having your tires re-balanced.

      In some extreme cases worn suspension components can cause vibrations like you are describing. If they are worn that bad you should be able to tell easily by lifting the front wheels off the ground with your car well secured and tugging and pulling on the tops and sides of the tire. If you can move the tire up and down, side to side or in and out, watch for where the movement is and replace that broken suspension component.

      Thank You!

      -BDP

  29. For a while now I have heard a grinding noise when the brakes were applied on my 2008 Grand Caravan. It is typical to have to replace the pads & rotors on it every year or so. I had my vehicle inspected in January and the brakes passed then so I didn’t have them replaced at that time. In the last couple of weeks I have heard a very loud scraping noise (as if the van was being scraped across the road) as well even when the brakes were not applied…mostly at the slower speeds. And, it seemed to be worse when I turned right. The noise also sounds cyclical…if that makes sense. And only from the front right which made me start researching if it was not a brake issue I am hearing. I am terrified that there is a brake issue AND a wheel bearing issue. Yesterday when I tried to drive it one last time I got about a half mile and I felt like the can was slowing itself down without me applying the brakes and the scraping/grinding noise was HORRIBLE…so I turned right around and went back home and will have it towed to a repair place. Before I decide where to send it I am hoping to get an answer of what the problem might be other than my stupidity at waiting to fix it (no money). Thanks for any help.

    1. Andrea-

      Thanks for your question about your Grand Caravan. The noise you are describing sounds more like a brake issue than a bad wheel bearing. If your wheel bearing was so bad that it was scraping or grinding you would be able to see the wheel wobble while driving and the steering wheel would feel loose and sloppy. If you wear your brake pads into the rotor, the biggest danger is over extending your brake caliper which could cause a loss of brake fluid and braking or cause the caliper to freeze which may be why your car was slowing down without you pushing the brakes. We would recommend replacing the pads and rotor first and see if that fixes everything.

      -BDP

  30. i have gone for tyre chane and found some prob with axile bearing forward,after work finish,told me 20 numbers of bearing have been replaced and give me an invoice of above 7000AED and i wondered,nissan tida car and shope was behind sharjah city centre
    i checked with my friends and told me it will really come below 500AED
    ??

    1. Shajahan-

      Unfortunately we don’t have any way of helping you know if the price you received for your bearing replacement is fair or not. There are so many factors that can influence the price of repairs from shop labor to the availability of parts.

      -BDP

  31. I have a squeaking like a bad u joint in my front axle accompanied with a vibration at 60 in my 2001 ram is it possible that my wheel bearing is done? Checked it and it felt loose on the driver side but my hubs dont unlock so there was drag on both and cant get a accurate diagnosis with that issue.

    1. Brandon-

      Thanks for your question about your 2001 Ram. It can be difficult to diagnose bad wheel bearings on your front axle. You can try removing the wheel and seeing if you can tell a difference in the sides that way. The best way to check is to see if you have any movement straight in and out on your front hubs. If you do it’s a good indication that your wheel bearing is going bad. Depending how many miles you have on the tires you’re driving on, the vibration may also just be an indication that it’s time to rotate your tires or have them balanced again.

      -BDP

  32. I have a 2007 Chevy Cobalt. The middle of last week it started with a roaring noise and on Friday when I got home my husband suggested that I take it over to the my mechanic’s shop with a note and have him check it. He did and replaced the right front wheel bearing. He said he couldn’t hear anything but if I did to take it and have the tires rotated. It still sounds just about the same to me. Will rotating the tires help? I just got them last October so there is not a low of mileage on them.

    1. Kim-

      Thanks for your question about your Chevy Cobalt. Rotating the tires could help the roaring noise you are hearing. We recommend rotating your tires every oil change so even if they were new last October the tread wear could be causing the noise you are hearing. If rotating the tires changes the noise then that was your issue. You may also consider inspecting your brakes as they can sometimes cause noises like you are describing if they are badly worn.

      Thank You!

      -BDP

  33. I have a 2002 Ford Explorer and when I’m driving straight it has a loud humming noise. I have had my tires rotated and balanced, noise still there. It starts at about 40 mph and gets louder as I accelerate. When I turn right it gets louder and left is softer. I have jacked the vehicle up on the front end ( where I’m hearing the noise) and have tried to see if any play on either side, but has no play. When jacked up my driver side tire spins freely and rotates 1 turn and when I do the same for the right it has a lot of resistance and stops almost instantly when I let go. Could this be a bearing? Also, let me add the tires are due for some new ones, but seem to be worn even.

    1. Brian-

      Great job on all the checks you are doing! Since you’re due for new tires it may be worth getting a new set and seeing if the sound goes away. If the hum is still there even with fresh rubber then you most likely have a bad wheel bearing. Based on all the checks you’ve done we would say you do have a bad right front wheel bearing.

      Thank You!

      -BDP

  34. I have a 2005 BMW X5 with 160,000 miles on it. when i get above 20 mph I hear a sound that can be best described as “whoawhoawhoawhoa” coming from the front left wheel. is this a bad wheel bearing? She has new tires and they are road treds.

    1. Andrew-

      Thanks for your question about your 2005 X5. Based on your description of the sound and the fact that you have new tires it seems likely that you have a wheel bearing problem on that side. If your BMW came equipped with X-drive then it is also possible that it is a driveline issue, like a CV joint rather than a wheel bearing but that is less likely.

      Depending where you got the new tires there is a chance that the weights they used to balance the wheels were not properly applied and have fallen off. If they offer life time balancing it may be worth having the balance on that tire checked just to make sure.

      -BDP

  35. I kept hearing a humming noise & could feel my front tires rotating as I drove so I replaced the front passenger wheel bearing on my 04 GMC Envoy. The noise & rotation feeling is still there. Should I replace the front drivers side or could it be something else?

    1. Josh,

      Thanks for your question about your GMC Envoy. It is possible that the passenger side wheel bearing needs to be replaced as well, but in your case it may also be that your tires are poorly worn and the irregular tread is causing the humming and slight vibrations. To see if this is the problem you can have your tires rotated and possibly even have them looked at by a wheel and tire shop. If rotating your tires changes the noise or vibration then you’ve found your problem. If not, then it does sound like the driver’s wheel bearing is bad as well.

  36. My car is a 01 eclipse Mitsubishi well when I put it in reverse from a dead stop my rear passenger wheel drags or locks up but only for a moment it never does in drive and there are no sounds what do you think could be wrong??? It had rear drum brakes

    1. Kat-

      It is tough to say for certain but, it could be that your rear wheel cylinder is leaking brake fluid onto your brake pads, causing them to lock up. Replacing the rear drum brakes should be able to take care of the issue.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  37. I started hearing a noise from the rear passenger side of my Toyota HIghlander about a week ago. At first it was only audible from the passenger side of the car, but now it’s more pronounced from any position in the vehicle. Its sounds like there’s a moped in my blind spot and I’ve caught myself looking before realizing it’s that phantom noise. I do not notice any difference in noise whether I’m going 10MPH or highway speeds. There is no shaking or jerking as described by others writing you. Ideas?

    1. Alicia,

      Thanks for your question about your Highlander. Usually, noises like you’re describing are an indication of a bad wheel bearing. If the noise changes pitch with how fast you’re going and has been getting slowly worse, this seems like the most likely culprit. The best way to test for this would be to secure you Highlander and raise both rear tires off the ground at the same time. Remove the tires and try spinning the wheel hub by hand. If one drags significantly more than the other then that wheel bearing is bad. You can do the same with the front tires and your car in neutral to test your front wheel bearings.

  38. Hi! I have a 98′ Mustang GT 5 speed and I was driving down the interstate and the car bogged down and went to about 65 in 2 seconds. Pulled over and made sure the brakes were not sticking and everything seemed fine. Made it about 2 miles and it started making a grinding sound under the center console or maybe under the back seat. It’s hard to tell but it goes into gear and everything seems to work great but even at super slow speeds (3-6) mph it makes a noise that synchronizes with the wheels turning.

    Thanks for your time

    1. Zach,

      Thanks for your question about your Mustang. Based on the noise you’re describing and its location it sounds like maybe you’ve got a bad bearing in your rear end, or maybe a bad carrier bearing. Usually if a bearing in your rear end is going to fail it will give you some indication first like a hum or slight vibration first. You can try to figure out what the problem is by securing and raising your car enough so you can get under it safely. Next unbolt the driveshaft from the differential. With your transmission in neutral, try turning the drive shaft and see if you can feel the resistance or hear the noise in the carrier bearing or transmission. If both back wheels are off the ground, you can then try spinning the input yoke on the differential to see if you can feel resistance there. If you feel the resistance in the drive shaft, the problem is most likely a bad carrier bearing. If it’s in your differential, you’re probably looking at a rebuild there.

  39. Hi,
    I recently bought a certified pre-owned 2014 Ford Fusion, and when I go over 40 mph there is a humming sound like what you have described coming from the bearings I think. The car only had 30k miles on it. I know that bearings can be relied on for hundred thousands of miles. When I got it the dealership told me the sound is coming from the breaks, it’s because the car has been sitting there for a while. They told me that the noise should disappear after I drive it for a while, I’m really not sure if I can believe that! I have driven it for 200 miles so far and there is still that noise and some sort of shaking when I apply the breaks over 40 mph.

    1. Fahad-

      Thank you for your question on your Ford Fusion. It does seem a little early in the vehicle’s life to have a faulty wheel bearing. If the problem persists, we recommend taking the vehicle to a certified ASE mechanic and having them inspect the wheel bearings and take it for a test drive to pinpoint exactly where the noise is coming from.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  40. I have just had my subframe replaced on my 2000 Chevy Cavalier two weeks ago and I’m still feeling a little funky steering from time to time, generally on rounding left turns on a road and not all the time. I know I need a right front tire replaced, but until I can, I put air in it as I thought that might be part of the problem. and I also need an alignment, which I plan to do at Mavis where I got my other tire in two week. ,It happens generally if I go over 40. The steering doesn’t go all over the place like it did before I had the Subframe replaced. I’m assuming rocker arms were put in as well. Could an under inflated tire cause this.I do need a front left tire, but put air in it today as well as adding power steering fluid. It looked low. Mind you I have a lot of issues with the car, exhaust, which I had done two years ago, including a muffler, which is now noisy. The problem is that a part of the exhaust is rusted and it happens to be where my Cat is located. I’ve waiting until I have the money to get that fixed, but want to get to the first problem is what is concerning me right now. I can’t get anything else done for two weeks at least. The subframe cost me a total of $900 and it took the mechanic seven hours to do it. He actually couldn’t get a subframe, but I found one from a Pontiac Firebird that is interchangeable with a Chevy Cavalier. on Ebay.

    1. Kathy,

      Thanks for your question about your Cavalier. The problems you’re having do sound like you still have a loose suspension component somewhere. An underinflated tire could indeed be causing your car to wander but it also could be a loose joint. Since you just replaced the whole subframe any number of bolts could be loose or at least not properly torqued down. It might be best to take your car back to the shop that replaced the subframe and have them look over it again to see if they can see anything out of place.

  41. I have a 2005 gmc sierra that when you spin both front tires they dont move but also when I drive down the highway my whole front end shakes until I come to a complete stop again I was told it was a tire balance problem so I did that it didnt help then was told I had a broken belt so I relpaced two front tires that didnt help took it to a front end shop and he couldnt find anything so im at a loss….

    1. Heather,

      Thanks for your question about your 2005 GMC Sierra. We’re not quite sure what you mean by your tires not moving when you spin them, but if you mean they stick or are hard to spin the vibrations you’re getting might be due to your front brake calipers being frozen. If this is the case you’re probably in need of new front brake rotors as well as brake pads. Make sure when you have the new pads installed the mechanic properly lubricates the pads and the caliper slides to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

      If what you meant is that your front bearings or fine and your front tires spin easily then the next most likely culprit is that your front shocks are worn out and are not properly damping road bumps and spring oscillations. In this case, new shocks should help smooth things out.

  42. I have a 2004 Chevy Impala. For the past 2 weeks, my car makes a metallic scraping sound whenever I either go in reverse or take a left turn. The sound gets louder the sharper the turn. What could this be? Wheel bearing? CV axle? Suspension parts? Thanks for any suggestions.

  43. I just replaced the pads, rotors, and both sets of tapered bearings on the two fronts of my RWD ’00 Ford Ranger V6, and I’m experiencing a problem. I’ve done brakes before on cars many times, but never had to repack bearings. I thought all went pretty well during the job – bearings greased up like they should (used a repack tool), castle nut went on good on both sides. I broke the passenger side cotter pin, but bought another. The test drive went great – brakes seemed to bed in fine, slight smell of cosmoline after the fourth brake application or so, and while the truck was still off the ground (before the drive) the wheels had VERY slight play vertically (the passenger side had almost none). Horizontally seemed fine as well, though with both fronts off the ground I was obviously getting some movement from the steering. I’ve read that with tapered roller bearings, VERY slight play is the norm.

    Trouble started at the end of the test drive. I made my first left turn of the entire drive, going about 15mph or so, and there was a pronounced shaking felt in the wheel, the feet, the butt – the cabin vibrated, essentially. My wife was along for the ride, and we both looked at each other, so immediately I knew something bad was afoot. I took it around the block, and the pattern was clear: right hand turns were fine, left hand turns produced shaking and vibrating, and there was also some shaking upon takeoff, but less than while turning and it didn’t persist. Couldn’t really localize it, and the light sprinkle we’d been driving in was turning into real rain so I ended the test run. What should I check first if I’m to begin diagnosing what I might have messed up?

    1. Andrew,

      Thanks for your question about your Ford Ranger. The biggest thing we can think of is you didn’t mention adding preload to your bearings. Most tapered roller bearings require torquing the castle nut to a specific preload first to make sure the bearing is properly seated. So the procedure goes: torque bearing to pre-load, back castle nut off carefully, retighten castle nut hand tight, slowly turn hub and tighten castle nut until you just feel the bearing begin to drag. Turn castle nut slightly if needed to align cotter pin holes and you’re done. Our guess is you didn’t have enough pre-load on the bearing to seat it so once you started driving it was able to loosen up.

  44. I have a 2010 Chevy Traverse with 106,000 miles on it. Often, my vehicle has a loud humming sound in the cabin when driving, almost like it is equipped with tires you’d typically see on a lifted 4 x 4. Changed my original Fortera tires at about 60k when the noise really became persistent, thinking the noise would subside, but it’s been with the vehicle at varying intensities since then. When going over bridge pavement at high speeds, I can hear a change in the sound of my tires going from asphalt to concrete, but the humming sound stays about the same. I was ready to try a new set of tires, maybe a switch to a premium Michelin model in an attempt to dampen the humming noise, which is incredibly loud and annoying at times, but after reading your forum I’m wondering if worn wheel bearings are the issue. No trouble with a wobbly steering wheel or grinding noise during turns…just the mind-numbing humming.

    1. Tom,

      Thanks for your question about your Chevy Traverse. The noise you’re describing does sound a lot like a bad wheel bearing. You can try checking for one by touching each of your wheels near the center of the rim right after a long drive. If one wheel is significantly warmer than the others it can be an indication of a bad wheel bearing. Also, you can try raising your wheels off the ground one at a time and spinning them checking for resistance. If one wheel turns much harder than the other side or has a lumpy feeling as it spins that wheel probably has a bad wheel bearing.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  45. I have a 2007 Chevy uplander and at times, when I stop, it is like the brakes don’t want to let go and it is hard to get the van to move. I have found that releasing the gas and reapplying eventually gets the van moving but only with a loud popping sound that seems to be coming from the passenger side. It only does this while it is stopped, I think. I am deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other so noises aren’t something that I can really rely on. However, the popping noise is so loud, even I can hear it. I have had the hub assembly, control arms, and brake caliper replaced on the front passenger side. When the caliper was replaced, I was told that there was more heat being emitted from the wheels than should be. I was wondering if you had any thoughts about what it could be.

    1. Marie,

      Thanks for your question about your Chevy Uplander. If you’ve already replaced the caliper and hub on that side the last thing it could be is the CV axle on that side. It is possible that during braking your CV axle is hanging up and causing the sticking you’re feeling when you try to accelerate again. Try reading our article about CV joint issues and see if you have any similar symptoms. You can read the article here: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/steering-wheel-noise/

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  46. Hi. I noticed a few weeks ago that there’s an annoying humming sound coming from my car. I was told by my friend’s dad who’s a mechanic that it’s the wheel bearing, but then told by an auto body that it’s my struts. I don’t know if the auto body is just telling me this to get $1200 out of me or if that’s actually the issue. They said my struts are cupping, which is resulting in my tires making the humming noise. I have a 2012 Jeep Liberty with about 37,000 miles on it, which doesn’t make sense why it would be the struts. I am leaving to drive to South Carolina next week and need the problem to be fixed before I drive down. The humming is constant and gets louder as I’m driving faster. I hear the noise more when i turn the wheel to the left, but the auto body thought otherwise. At this point, I just need to get my car fixed, but also need to the exact issue. Please help!

    1. Meghan,

      Thanks for your question about your Jeep Liberty. The noise you’re describing sounds just like a wheel bearing based on your description. Usually when struts go bad they’ll cause the car to bounce over bumps or handle poorly but it seems unlikely that they could cause the noise you’re describing without being damaged in an accident or something else pretty catastrophic. We would recommend replacing the wheel bearing on the side the noise is coming from first as that should fix your problems.

      Thanks again!
      -BD Auto Pro

  47. hey nice read. i have a 91 nissan 240sx. I just recently replaced both front wheel bearing. These are a press into hub then bolt onto spindle type. the noise and rumble is gone but i am getting a shake in the steering wheel from 45 to 55 mph. I put the car in the air and i have some play in RF wheel even after I re tightened spindle nut. Im lost idk if the spindle is damaged from the old wheel bearing or I have a faulty new wheel bearing.

    1. Josh,

      Great job changing your wheel bearings. If you have spindle damage you should be able to see the wear or scoring on the spindle while you have the hub and bearing off. If everything looks clean, rust free and not marked or scored everything should be fine. It is possible you got a defective bearing, but you may have also damaged it during installation or your initial drive if you didn’t use the correct bearing drivers, fully add grease, or proprely set the preload. We would recommend pulling the new bearing out, adding grease again then making sure you properly set the preload with the correct torque on the castle nut. after you get it setup again, check for play and smooth rotation of the hub. If you cannot remove all the play by tightening the nut, then we would recommend you try a new bearing.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  48. I have an 03 VW golf.
    I have a vibration while foot is on the gas pedal.
    Only at the 1200 or so rpm. When driving straight and the gas pedal is depressed. Nothing on turning.
    Had my front bushings replaced, mounts all replaced, brakes done, and my flex joint was welded and fixed. Tires rotated, balanced, aligned.
    When my car was on the hoist, I noticed when my rear passenger right tire was spun, there was a sound, unlike the other tires that sounded quieter.
    from this site, it sounds like it could possibly be a wheel bearing.

    1. Sones,

      Thanks for your question about your VW Golf. Based on your description of the problem it is possible that you have a bad rear wheel bearing. The other possibility is that your brakes are dragging on that side causing the noise you’re hearing. Try reading our article about brake noise to help you figure out which it could be. You can read that article here: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/squeaking-brakes/

      Thanks again!
      -BD Auto Pro

  49. Hi there!

    I have a 2012 Ford Focus that has 60,xxx miles on it. A while back, I noticed a loud humming and slight vibration in the steering wheel when I would turn my steering wheel to the right. A few months ago, It got louder and worse to the point of doing it all the time. I had the left front wheel bearing replaced. It didn’t seem to help the problem. The problem has gotten progressively worse. My car is so loud!!

    Next week, I am having the right front wheel bearing replaced. Through the research that I have done, I strongly feel like the wheel bearing is the problem (in combination with the maintenance bulletin.) My question to you is, if this doesn’t slove the problem (I’m not optimistic that it will,) could it be a back wheel bearing? What ways are most efficient for a mechanic to test to see if the wheel bearings are worn? Hopefully having the right wheel bearing replaced will help, but if not, where do you think I should turn to next?

    1. Cyerra,

      Thanks for your question about your Ford Focus. The noise you’re describing does sound like a front right wheel bearing issue. Hopefully having that replaced did solve the problem. It is possible it is also the right rear wheel bearing. The best way to check for bad wheel bearings is to lift your car off the ground, remove the wheels and spin the hubs by hand. If one spins much harder than the others, or feels lumpy then that wheel bearing is bad.

      If the problem isn’t a wheel bearing the next most likely cause would be a bad CV joint. For more information about that, check out our article about bad CV joints here: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/steering-wheel-noise/.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  50. I have just replaced my front left wheel bearing on my 07 explorer and now it continues to have that humming noise. Also while I was in the drive thru when I went to pull out it seemed like the grinding noise got louder and more intense like it wasn’t wanting to go.

    1. Brandon,

      Thanks for your question about your Explorer. Depending on what the symptoms were, you may also have another wheel bearing going bad. The other component that can make similar noises is a bad CV joint if you have a 4 wheel drive truck. For more information about bad CV joints, check out our article about that here: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/steering-wheel-noise/.

      The fact that it seemed like the truck didn’t want to move forward is a possible indication that you have severe damage in either your rear end or transfer case so you may consider have your vehicle looked at by a mechanic.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  51. My car is making a humming kind of noise. Its a 03 pontiac grand am. It only happens when the car is in motion even when on a plain road. The intensity stays constant throughout regardless of the speed. But it will slightly increase when I start to press the break. It is absent when I am idling. I do not feel any vibrations on the steering wheel. I just recently rotated and balanced the tires. I believe the noise started when I was going over some uneven paved road. Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    1. Jason,

      Thanks for your question about your Pontiac Grand Am. The noise you’re describing does sound like you’ve got a bad front wheel bearing. Even though the noise doesn’t seem to get louder with speed, the fact that it gets louder when you brake and started on a rough road makes a bad wheel bearing seem likely.

      Thanks for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  52. HI there,

    I have a 2003 Saturn Ion. Recently I was driving and noticed a loud hum in my right front tire especially when turning my wheels to the left.

    I’ve had 3 options presented to me as to what it might be…and honestly none of them set my heart at ease, since I have a ton of highway driving to do over the next 3 weeks. I am taking my car in to the mechanic Thursday, but was hoping for some feedback, since I am not mechanically inclined at all. He thinks it could be either a bearing or alignment issue. I was told today it might be the CV joint…which I’m inclined to think it might be as I noticed some grease mysteriously appear on my front right rim. Any suggestions would be amazing and would help immensely.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Audra,

      Thanks for your question about your Saturn Ion. All the things your mechanic listed could be making the sound you’re hearing. The most likely is a bad wheel bearing based on your description which I hope our article helped explain. A bad CV joint would possibly have left grease all over your car, but you can test them by turning in a tight circle and listening for crunching or clicking. If your alignment was off you would notice a pull to one side of the road, the steering wheel being turned while going straight and abnormal tire wear. If you don’t have any of the last few symptoms then a bad wheel bearing is most likely your problem.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  53. Hi, I found this article while trying to figure out a problem with my Malibu. A few days ago I started to hear squealing sometimes when I turn the wheel to the left. I thought the power steering might be low, so I topped it off. However, the sound did not go away. Tonight, I started to hear a low grinding noise when I turned the wheel all the way to the left for a u-turn. A friend thought it might be the wheel bearing. Do you have any ideas of what it might be?

    1. Kathryn,

      Thanks for your question about your Malibu. The squeal while turning does sound like it could be an indication that your power steering system is working too hard to turn your wheels. This could be an indication of a clog in your system or a worn component like your rack and pinion or tie rod end. A worn tie rod end may also cause the grinding you’re hearing if it is more of a groan or creek than a grind.

      If it actually is a grinding noise then it is actually most likely a brake problem. Try reading our article about brake noise here: https://www.gobdp.com/blog/squeaking-brakes/.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  54. I have a 1993 lifted Chevy k1500. I recently replaced both front cv axles because they were shot. Just a few days ago I noticed a clicking noise but only when I turn left. And it doesn’t do it all the time. Could it be the bearing going bad or?

    1. Krystal-

      Thank you for asking about your Chevy K1500. Yes, the fact that you just had the cv axles replaced we lead us to believe the left side wheel bearing is starting to go bad. We would recommend having the bearing inspected and replaced if necessary.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  55. I have a 1990 f150 I recently discovered that there is grease coming out of wheel bearing would that mean that I need to change it

    1. Brandon,

      Thanks for your question about your F150. If you have grease coming from your wheel bearing then it is likely that they should be replaced. During removal, if the surfaces are still shiny and not pitted or scored you may be able to repack them and continue to use them.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  56. Hello, I have a 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor AWD with 150k on it. I think I have a bad passenger front wheel bearing. Around 35-40mph while accelerating I can hear a “whirring” sound, kind of like an airplane lifting off, getting higher pitched (to a point) as I gain speed. The sound gets much louder if I’m at speed and going around a left-bend. The sound is definitely worse under acceleration, but is still noticeable while cruising at 35mph+. I am concerned because there is a TSB on this particular vehicle that has something to do with the propellor shaft which claims some very similar symptoms, but I’m hoping its the wheel bearing because my car is not under warranty. What do you think? Will I be able to turn just the front wheels to diagnose since its AWD? Also, if it is a wheel bearing, is there any special tools other than a large socket I need to remove and replace the wheel hub assembly? Thanks for your help!

    1. Kyle,

      Thanks for your question about your Endeavor. You should be able to check for a bad wheel bearing even if your car is all wheel drive. You may have to put it on jack stands so all 4 wheels are off the ground, or remove the CV axle to properly check it. If it is the wheel bearing you shouldn’t need any special tools besides the correct side sockets to remove the bearing.

      Since there is a TSB for the propeller shaft that could be the cause, and the fact that it sounds worse under acceleration does make us think that could be the problem, but the fact that it changes while corning points much more towards a wheel bearing. Your front wheel bearings should actually be sealed unit bearings so replacing them should be relatively easy and they may be inexpensive so it may be worth replacing it just to be sure.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  57. Hello and thank you for the informative article.

    I have a 2009 Malibu and I recently noticed a noise when I drove that increased as I sped up. The car is not pulling. I’ve recently had to change 3 of the four tires and the noise appears to be coming from the wheel with the last old tire. Is the bearing going bad or could it be the tire? I have not had any issues with breaking or turning.

    I look forward to hearing any advice.

    Thank you,

    Nate

    1. Nathan,

      Thanks for your question about your Malibu. It could definitely be the last old tire causing the noise you’re hearing. It’s possible that you have a bad wheel bearing, but that seems like quite the coincidence. Try rotating a good tire to that location and seeing if the noise follows the old tire or remains unchanged. If the noise doesn’t change you have a bad wheel bearing, but if it follows the tire, that’s your problem.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  58. Hi. Great article! We’ve replaced a wheel bearing once but I believe it’s happening again. Would the car shake as you slow down?

    1. Marla-

      Yes, it is definitely possible that the vehicle would shake a little bit when slowing down if a wheel bearing is starting to go bad. We would recommend having the wheel bearings inspected and replaced if necessary.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

    1. Patrick,

      That doesn’t sound like a wheel bearing issue unless it is accompanied by a hum or roar at higher speeds going straight. If it is a bad wheel bearing the sound should slowly get worse with time. The noise you’re experiencing may be due to your drum brakes so you may consider getting an inspection and cleaning of your rear brakes.

      Thanks for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  59. I have a 2002 Ford Ranger. When i’m driving without turning my steering wheel there are no problems with my brakes. If I am turning my wheel to the left or right when I apply the brakes my ABS kicks in and I have no brakes. The mechanic says he is stumped can’t figure out what is wrong. He said it is not my wheel bearings. What is wrong?

    1. C A,

      Thanks for your question about your Ranger. It sounds like when you’re turning the wheel speed sensor is unable to pick up the speed of the wheel and triggers your ABS. The wheel speed sensor is a small probe that points towards teeth on your hub. The sensor counts the teeth as they go by to measure speed so if it can’t count those teeth it will read 0 MPH while the other wheels are spinning to trigger the ABS. To figure out which front wheel you can try unplugging the wheel speed sensors one at a time and see which makes the problem stop.

      The sensor may not be reading correctly because it’s bad, or it could be because it’s not mounted properly so it’s not close enough or pointed at the teeth on your hub. Try cleaning around the sensor to make sure its mounted properly or changing the sensor to see if its just gone bad.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

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