How Long Can a Wheel Bearing Last After It Starts Making Noise?

The wheel bearing is a valuable part of your vehicle's wheel, and its main job is to reduce friction when the wheel rotates. This friction is reduced by a series of small balls found inside the bearing, which helps you have a smoother and more comfortable ride. 

As wheel bearings are mechanical parts, therefore, they can fail over time, and a failing wheel bearing can be identified by the sound that it makes. You must wonder how long you can drive on a bad wheel bearing? 

If you find it to make a grinding or a squeaking noise, you can be sure that you are dealing with a failing bearing, and it will be better for you to replace it on time.

What are the reasons behind a noisy wheel bearing?

  • A bad installation

If there is a defective bearing installation, it can play a huge role in producing excessive noise. The inside rollers must have smooth functioning inner and outer rings, and if there is any damage done to the calls during the installation process, the bearing can start producing more friction and noise.

  • Lack of lubrication

Wheel bearings have small rollers that help reduce the friction of the rotating wheels. This is why these rollers and balls frequently require lubrication so that they can function correctly. If the roller is dried, it can rub against the inner and the outer ring, thus producing a bearing squeak.

  • Poor quality

The installation of a cheap quality bearing can also be one of the main reasons it makes noise. The wheel bearing must be manufactured from high-grade materials to withstand the wheel's spin force. Using a cheap bearing, it can fail under pressure and start making unwanted noise.

  • Bad road conditions

Bad road conditions can significantly impact the lifespan of your wheel bearing. When the mud and dust start entering the bearing, it can produce more friction and make more noise.

How long can you drive on a bad wheel bearing?

It all depends on your driving style and the conditions of the road you are driving on. If you reside in an area with bad road conditions, the noisy wheel bearing may not last long. It is also worth mentioning that the potholes or the bumps can also be the causes of accelerating the damage and shortening the wheel bearing's life.

Doing rapid accelerations, taking aggressive turns, and having a wrong driving style are also the major causes of the short lifespan of your wheel bearing. This can apply excess force on the wheels and damage the bearings. The majority of the experts suggest that it is better not to drive more than 1,000 miles on a bad wheel bearing.

Bottom Line

When your wheel bearing starts to make noise, it is wise not to take any risks because when you drive with a faulty wheel bearing, it can lead to an accident, and the chances are that your insurer may claim driver's negligence. It is always a good thought not to think how long you can drive on a bad wheel bearing, as it could be hazardous; therefore, if such a situation arises, it is better to drive the car at a steady speed and take it to the nearest mechanic.