How to Tell Which Wheel Hub is Making Noise

Is one of your wheels making a funny noise such as grinding, knocking, rumbling, or clicking? Does your steering wheel vibrate and/or feel loose?

If you answered “yes” to both questions, one of your wheels likely has a bad or failing hub assembly. In most cases, the wheel hub bearing has worn to the point where it’s no longer functional, causing wheel looseness (also called wheel play). If not detected and fixed in time, this could lead to uneven tire wear and/or the wheel falling off while your car is in motion.

Wheel bearing hub
One of the many high-quality wheel hub assemblies from GMB.

How to Diagnose a Bad Wheel Hub

To fix a bad wheel hub assembly, you have to figure out which one needs to be replaced. A lot of people wonder if you can figure it out by listening. The answer is no, you can’t, at least not reliably.

The best way to pinpoint the bad wheel is to get out of the car, remove the wheels, and check each one for play using this standard method:

  1. Lift your car.
  2. Remove the wheel hub cap, tire, brake caliper, and rotor to get to the wheel hub bearing.
  3. Gently rock the hub assembly with one hand on the top and the other hand on the bottom. If it rocks towards the car or away from it (not left or right), then it’s loose and it needs to be replaced. If it doesn’t rock at all, move on to the next wheel.
  4. Once you find the faulty wheel hub assembly, check the tie rods, ball joints, struts, chassis components, and suspension components to ensure that everything is in working order because there’s a chance they need to be replaced as well.

Need a Replacement Wheel Hub Assembly?

The wheel hub is such an important part that you can’t afford to skimp on quality. GMB’s OEM and aftermarket wheel hub assemblies are designed specifically for your car. While shopping for an aftermarket wheel hub assembly, it’s a good idea to take into consideration the following factors that put a wheel hub assembly above all the others:

  • High-strength steel
  • OE type sensors
  • Preloaded hub bearings
  • Roll formed hub
  • Premium triple-lip seals

Our wheel hub assemblies are designed to prevent premature bearing failure and to provide optimal performance for the rest of your vehicle’s life.

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