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Wheel Hub Bearing Service Life Faults And Maintenance

Wheel Hub Bearing Service Life Faults And Maintenance

Autoround analyzes the service life and influencing factors of automobile wheel hub bearings, outlines the symptoms and troubleshooting methods of wheel hub bearing failures, and provides detailed daily maintenance procedures for wheel hub bearings. I hope it can be helpful to everyone.
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1. What is a hub bearing?

The wheel hub bearing is an important part that connects the rim/brake disc and the steering knuckle. Its main function is to carry weight and provide precise guidance for wheel hub rotation. Therefore, it must not only bear a very large vehicle weight, but also need to withstand the lateral force or lateral impact of the tire when turning.
Its working requirements also determine that we must regularly inspect, maintain and replace wheel hub bearings.

2. Service life of hub bearings

Hub bearing life and inspection replacement time reference:

The average service life of automobile hub bearings is 120,000 kilometers to 150,000 kilometers
1) Generally speaking, the wheel bearings should be checked when the vehicle travels 50,000 kilometers normally, and we need to consider replacing the bearings if it exceeds 100,000 kilometers.
2) If maintained well, it can be used for more than 200,000 kilometers. If it is not properly maintained, it may need to be replaced after 100,000 kilometers.

Factors affecting the service life of hub bearings:

The service life of bearings is affected by many factors. Some of the main factors are listed below:
1) The quality of the bearing itself
During the bearing forging process, the steel used, the technology, the dimensional accuracy requirements, etc. will have a great impact on the quality of the bearing.
2) Bearing installation and adjustment
Bearing installation and adjustment technology has a great impact on the actual operating stress state of the bearing, especially bearing clearance and riveting, thus affecting the service life of the bearing.
3) Bearing seals and grease
If the sealing of the bearing is not good, foreign dust, sand and other impurities will enter the inside of the bearing; if the cleanliness of the grease is not enough, many impurities will be produced during use. These will affect the actual service life of the bearing.
4) Car driving conditions
The following driving conditions will cause greater losses to the bearings, so you need to pay attention to them:
1))  Uneven driving sections, road bumps and jumps will cause the wheels to move up and down, putting greater pressure on the bearings, causing premature wear or damage to the bearings.
2))  The driving section involves deep water, especially when the water depth exceeds half of the wheels. Long-term wading in water can easily cause the bearings to rust.
3))  Driving in mountainous and sandy areas for a long time, the road conditions are relatively bad, and more dust and sand can easily enter the inside of the bearing, which will reduce the service life of the bearing.
4))  Long-term high-speed driving, the wheel bearings will heat up due to long-term high-speed operation, which will easily cause bearing wear and aging.

3. Symptoms of hub bearing failure

If a wheel bearing fails, the most common symptoms are:

1) Serious failure: The tires shake when the car is driving, and the whole vehicle shakes seriously (it needs to be stopped in time for inspection and replacement).
2) Mild malfunction: The car will make an abnormal buzzing sound while driving. The faster the speed, the louder the noise.

Other symptoms:

1) Check the axle temperature,
After driving the car for a certain distance (about 5km), it can be found that the temperature of the wheel axle is obviously higher than the normal temperature.
2) Check tire wear,
If your tires are wearing unevenly or too quickly, it may be due to the tire bearings not working properly.
3) Check the vehicle turning situation,
If the vehicle has steering problems during driving, such as steering wheel deflection or difficulty turning, it may be caused by damaged tire bearings.

Troubleshooting methods for bearing failures

Since many friends have encountered wheel hub bearing failure for the first time or have never encountered it before, they cannot make a good judgment, so detailed troubleshooting methods will be given here.
1) After increasing the speed (obvious noise can be heard), then put the car into neutral and let the car coast. If the noise does not change, it means there is a problem with the wheel hub bearing.
2) After driving for a certain distance (about 5km is enough), temporarily pull over and check whether the wheel axle temperature is normal. If the temperature difference between the front and rear wheels is large, it indicates that the bearings are damaged.
3) Hold the wheel firmly, push and pull it up and down, and check whether the wheel bearing is loose. If it is, it indicates that the bearing is damaged.
4) Use a lift or a jack to raise the car/wheels and check the rotation of the wheels one by one. Release the handbrake and use human power to turn the wheel quickly. When the bearing fails, you can hear a sound that is obviously different from other tires.

4. Daily maintenance of hub bearings

The hub bearing maintains the heavy responsibility of driving the car and undertakes to reduce the frictional resistance when the chassis is running. Routine maintenance is definitely essential. Once the wheel hub bearing fails, it will most directly cause noise, bearing heating and other phenomena. If it is not checked and replaced in time, there will be great driving safety hazards.

Maintenance process of hub bearings:

1) Remove the decorative cover and dust cover of the hub shaft head;
2) Remove the tire but do not damage the thread of the tire bolt. If it is a disc brake, remove the brake, and then use tools to remove the lock ring or lock pin.
3) Use special tools to remove the wheel hub bearing;
4) Clean the old grease, clean it with detergent and dry it with a rag, and finally wipe the inner cavity of the bearing with a cloth. ​
5) Check the hub bearing and bearing race. If cracks, fatigue spalling and loose bearing rollers are found, the bearings should be replaced. If pitting is found on the bearing race, the bearing should also be replaced. ​
6) Check the fit between the inner diameter of the bearing and the journal. The fit clearance should not be greater than 0.10mm. If the fit clearance exceeds the specified usage limit, the bearing should be replaced to restore the normal fit clearance. It is not allowed to make burrs or pits on the journal to reduce the gap. ​
7) After all parts meet the requirements, the grease-coated inner shaft can be placed into the wheel hub.
8) Pay attention when applying grease. The amount of grease is also required. It requires you to apply it from one end of the bearing to the other side of the bearing until it comes out. However, do not apply too much in the cavity.
9) Reinstall the hub and the outer shaft on the shaft diameter, screw on the shaft head adjustment nut by hand, and then use the shaft head wrench to tighten the adjustment nut according to the specified torque. After tightening the nut, you should turn the hub several times left and right to check the bearing installation; on the other hand, make the bearing fit correctly with the seat ring by turning. At this time, the bearing tightness is appropriate and the wheels can rotate freely without feeling the axial clearance.
10) Finally, install the locking plate, fixing nut, tire, dust cover, decorative cover and other parts in sequence.
11) After the wheel hub bearing is adjusted, drive for a certain distance (about 10km), stop and check, and wipe the temperature of the wheel hub with your hands. If it gets hot, it is caused by the bearing being adjusted too tightly. It should be readjusted and the bearing tightness should be loosened appropriately.

Precautions for wheel hub bearing maintenance:

1) Lubricating grease needs to be in proper amount.
Too much grease may affect heat dissipation and braking.
2) If one wheel hub bearing is damaged, it is best to replace a pair of bearings (front wheel/rear wheel).
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