Wheel Bearing Damage Checklist

When it comes to detecting wheel-end problems, it pays to take a closer look!

Careful observation can reveal early signs and symptoms before wheel bearings are damaged and need to be replaced. With prompt inspection (and any required maintenance), you can reduce bearing damage in conventional wheel-ends, and save on long-term costs.

For proper wheel bearing maintenance, begin with a simple walk-around wheel inspection.

Walk-Around Wheel Inspection

Bearing damage may have already begun if you notice:

  Hub cap sight glass discolored or burnt

  Low Lube level in hub cap sight glass

  Lube leakage on any external surface of the wheel hub or tire (inboard or outboard sides). Sometimes these appear as lube swirl or spiral patterns on the hub or tire surface.

  Abnormal tire wear

  Smoking or extremely hot hub cap (too hot to touch)

An alert driver can also detect early-stage problems. 

Driver Observations

Bearing damage may have already begun if the driver notices:

  Increased fuel costs

  Wheel vibration

  Wheel wobble

  Wheel noise

  Smoke from a wheel end

  Increased stopping distance or decreased braking power

  Abnormal side pull when brakes are applied

  Wheel lock-up or skidding

Risks of higher maintenance costs and wheel separation increase if these warning signs are ignored and if wheel-end inspection and/or maintenance is not performed. Drivers and service mechanics/technicians who develop a keen eye for detecting these signs and symptoms of wheel-end problems can help lower maintenance and repair costs. Keeping a close eye can help prevent wheel-end separations. 

Wheel bearing damage checklist provided by Timken, a leading global manufacturer of highly engineered bearings, alloy steels and related components and assemblies. 

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