Hello, my name is Walter. Over the past few months, I have been working on my car. I never used to think much about my car. I would just jump into it and hit the road. Things were fine at first, but soon I realised that things were starting to go wrong. Strange white smoke started to appear from the exhaust. Sometimes when I changed gear, I could hear a strange noise. Foolishly, I ignored all of this until my car broke down. When I got to the auto repair shop the mechanic repaired my car and then gave it a full service. As he did so, I began my auto servicing education.
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Do you pride yourself in your ability to get to the bottom of any problem? If so, you may be intrigued by a strange noise that only manifests itself when you drive your car around a right-hand bend. This issue only occurs when you're going in this direction and not in any other, and it's causing a certain amount of vibration, which you can feel through the steering wheel. You're intrigued. What is this and what can you do about it?
Using Your Magnifying Glass
Your car is a masterpiece of engineering, with a myriad of different parts working together properly in order to get you to your destination. There can be so many of these parts that it can be challenging to figure out any issue, but the good news is that when something starts to fail, it usually leaves a specific type of clue. In this case, your experience suggests that a wheel bearing is starting to fail.
What Do They Do?
These bearings are vital, as they provide the means to attach your wheel (which is a moving object) to your hub (which is a static one). Within this bearing is a large, gooey mess of grease, within which are thousands of miniature metal balls. This system will accommodate the friction that is bound to build up when the wheel is moving, but the suspension hub is not.
The bearing is a sealed unit and is built to last for a certain amount of time. As it starts to wear, indentations or scratches will develop on the surface of the bearing and this is what causes the vibration you are now experiencing.
Why Don't All the Bearings Fail?
Although bearings are typically fitted to all of the wheels simultaneously and should therefore last for the same amount of time, in practice this isn't the case. One will typically start to fail first, and this is why you don't experience the same type of vibration when you're going in the other direction.
Where to Look
To pinpoint the problem, look on the opposite side to the way you're turning when you hear the noise. This is because the bearing on the other side is travelling a slightly longer distance during that cornering manoeuvre, and as it is under additional pressure, it starts to play up.
Fixing the Issue
Your next job is to get the bearing replaced, but typically this is not something that you can do at home. It requires special tools in order to force the new bearings onto the hub and it's best left to a professional car mechanic. When you do take the car in, remember to replace all the bearings at the same time, as the others will likely fail soon otherwise.Share