Wheel bearings are made to last 150,000 miles or more. However, they need to support the vehicle's weight, so constant load and over load will sure take their toll on them as well as on their grease and seals, causing the bearings to wear out prematurely. When the seal wears out and the grease starts to leak, your ride's bearings are in trouble. If you now hear unusual noises coming from the wheels, you'd better check your bearings immediately. If replacement is needed, don't hold back. You surely don't want your wheels to fly off your axle while you're driving, do you?
The different types of wheel bearing for your ride
Automotive wheel bearings come in many different kinds and designs. Among the types of bearings commonly used in automotive applications are:
- ball bearings
- roller bearings
- thrust ball bearings
- roller thrust bearings
- taper roller bearings
When purchasing a new one, it is wise to base your choice on the type and specifications of the bearing that needs replacement. This will help you avoid incompatibility issues, which can lead to more serious vehicle problems. You also need to consider other important factors, such as materials and the quantity they are sold.
Ceramic vs. stainless steel wheel bearings
Most wheel bearings are made of stainless steel because this material doesn't rust and has the ability to resist corrosive elements. They can work well even when subjected to high temperatures and yes, they can do that without showing signs of corrosion and degradation and without a need for lubrication.
Ceramic wheel bearings, on the other hand, are made from silicon nitride, which can lubricate itself. They are a great investment because they definitely last longer than steel bearings. Ceramic bearings are also stiffer, keeping your wheels pointed and able to spin and accelerate faster for better performance. Not only do they lessen rolling resistance, ceramic bearings also ensure lower friction, making the battery last longer and the engine run cooler. With these bearings, the driveline also becomes more efficient.
Wheel bearing kit vs. individual wheel bearing
Those who need to replace only one bearing can save bucks by getting a unit that's sold individually. But if you need several bearings plus other parts necessary for easy installation, a wheel bearing kit is right for you. A kit may include some or all of these things: bearing protector, bearing cover, split pin, seal, lock nut, circlip, o-ring, washer, and spacer.