how long can you drive on a bad wheel bearing

How Long Can You Drive On A Bad Wheel Bearing?


August 10, 2022

How long can you drive on a bad wheel bearing?

Every automobile requires a set of good tires; but, behind it is a complicated mix of components that work together to keep the car running properly.

One of the most important factors is the wheel bearing, which together with the axle enables the wheels to function.

When they wear down, you start to hear a noise, which is usually the only sign.

But how long will a wheel bear last when it begins to make noise?

Is it possible for a car to keep going after hearing noises from the wheel bearing?

It will last approximately 1000-1500 miles before giving up on you and failing, putting yourself and others in danger until then.

You should visit a mechanic as soon as possible.

While I did mention the miles, this is not the case for every vehicle.

It is determined by driving conditions, shape, mileage, and other factors.

As a result, you must be aware of warning indicators of a bad bearing failure, symptoms, and its influence on the car.

What Is The Wheel Bearing?

vehicles parked beside sidewalk at daytime

It is important to note that the wheel bearing is a component of your vehicle’s suspension system, which works in tandem with the automobile tires.

This implies that the operation of your car depends on the wheel bearing critical.

A wheel bearing, as the name implies, keeps the tire and hubs in good working order.

However, that is not all it does.

A wheel bearing allows for hub assembly rotational movement while maintaining friction-free mobility.

Driving With A Bad Wheel Bearing

Let me begin by asking you, how long do wheel bearings last?

The average lifetime of a vehicle’s wheel bearings is around 100,000 miles. Even more so, depending on how regularly you maintain your car.

If your automobile has high mileage, you should be on the lookout for odd and perplexing noises since they might indicate malfunctioning components.

What Will Happen When You Drive?

white and blue coupe on road

Wheel bearings are a pain in the ass for any driver, no matter how big or little their role is.

The wheel bearings are a problem for every driver because they are so small and unimportant in comparison to the rest of the vehicle.

It is simple to understand why texting while driving is so dangerous.

It may put your safety and that of other motorists at risk.

The reason for this is that you will be operating your car in a way that will not be as smooth or responsive as usual.

Your tires bear the brunt of the road and driving conditions, and they typically show early signs of tear and wear, albeit uniformly.

The wear on a damaged wheel bearing is significantly greater than in normal circumstances since the afflicted wheel bearing places an abnormal amount of strain on the tire, hub, CV joint, and even transmission.

In the worst situations, when driving, the wheel may come off of the assembly.

How Long Can You Drive?

The sound of a failing and noisy wheel bearing is not something to be ignored.

You should get your mechanic as soon as possible because this is not something that can be resolved at all times.

It is true, however; it is not feasible at all times; hence here is how you can manage your automobile until you reach safety.

Do you hear a loud noise emanating from the car?

A faint echoing or buzzing sound might be present.

If you are used to the noises coming from the back of your vehicle, you should be able to recognize them right away.

The noise should get louder with every kilometer if it is a bad bearing.

The sound of a worn-out bearing is caused by the lack of lubrication on the damaged area.

As a result, when the automobile picks up speed, it becomes extremely scorching.

The overheated bearing has an adverse influence on the wheel, making it wobbly.

If your car’s wheel bearing goes, you will want to do what you can to avoid any damage.

Avoid speeding; drive slowly and continuously coast at 40 mph.

Listen for the noise of the wheel bearings as they wear down; if it decreases, maintain the speed until you reach safety or a service center.

The chances are that the vehicle loses control if you drive aggressively or accelerate.

You should also bear in mind that a chopped tire makes the same rumbling as a failing ball bearing.

Again, the noise increases with speed.

So it is up to you whether or not to continue at this time.

What Causes The Wheel Bearings To Wear Out?

Another buddy of mine, who was having the same problem, posed the question: What leads the wheel bearings to wear out?

It seldom just happens on its own, even as a result of age; it is made up of a number of problems that ultimately lead to the wheel bearing failing.

1. Water Damage

When I say that wheel bearings dislike water, it is a gross understatement.

They are lubricated with petroleum-based grease that is not as hydrophilic as silicone fluids are.

If you drive on a flooded street, there are no seals to keep the water out of the system.

The lubrication may be gone when water damage occurs, leaving the bearing unprotected.

In this situation, it is preferable to replace your wheel bearings to avoid additional costs.

2. Bad Driving Conditions

Your wheel bearings are constantly under a lot of strain when you are on the road.

It is much more aggravating if the highway is hilly and has potholes.

This terrain may harm the wheel bearings and cause them to fail eventually.

The bearings can become dented and cracked, causing them to ultimately fracture.

They lose the ability to minimize friction once this happens, resulting in unnecessary harm to the wheel.

3. Accident

Accidents do happen, and you may not be able to prevent them.

However, what you can do about it is assess your vehicle and make sure everything is in good working order, particularly the wheels.

Because it might affect the wheel bearings, causing them to make those noises, a dented wheel will cause more serious problems.

This is because even if your wheels are only dented to a small extent, it may impact the wheel bearings and produce those sounds.

Even before you hear any noises, a competent mechanic should replace your wheel bearings.

4. Poor Installation

If your new wheel bearings are making noises, there is a possibility that they have been installed incorrectly.

It might be the mechanic’s mistake, or it could be due to him using the incorrect bearings.

Whatever the case may be, do not put it off any longer; go back and have it fixed immediately.

If you wait, you will end up paying for the next set of bearings as well.

5. Unbalanced Tires

Any vehicle requires regular maintenance.

And proper tire balancing should be included in the process.

They can put more pressure and strain on some wheel bearing than others if they are not balanced.

Not only do they deteriorate faster, but they also have an impact on the tires.

Always have your wheels properly balanced as part of your routine service.

Bad Wheel Bearing Noises Diagnosis

When it comes to automobiles, you may hear noises at any time, especially when dealing with older vehicles.

Engine noise, loose metal components, and so on are all possible causes.

However, the capacity to distinguish between a variety of noises is what makes being a driver so crucial.

Here are some of the most common sounds linked to faulty bearings.

  • Humming: While it is common to hear a loud humming noise emanating from the wheels, bearing failure and CB joints are both far more likely.
  • Growling and Squealing: The telltale noises of bad wheel bearings are a cyclic chirping accompanied by growling or/and squealing noise, which gets louder as the problem worsens. It speeds up and may deteriorate. It vanishes for a moment before returning.
  • Howling Noise: You may hear a howling noise for a variety of reasons. It is possible that it is the detached pinion-bearing if it happens just when you’re coming to a stop. If it varies with speed, there might be frayed gears at fault.
  • Grinding Noise: Once the wheel bearing lubrication loses, you may hear a grinding sound. The noise should come from the wheel where the bearing is causing problems, which sounds similar to meal pieces rubbing against one another.

Is It Safe To Drive With A Bad Wheel Bearing?

The amount of distance you will need to travel while driving on a bad wheel bearing is determined by your safety.

It is quite difficult to drive on a bad wheel bearing, but if the nearest repair shop isn’t too far away, it is fine to go slowly to it.

However, if you continue to apply pressure on a damaged wheel bearing for an extended period of time, it can be quite hazardous.


A broken wheel bearing might cause your car’s wheels to cease working while you are driving.

Furthermore, a malfunctioning wheel bearing will put a lot of stress on the hub and CV joint.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a bad wheel bearing capable of causing my tire to fall off?

Yes, it does not.

While failing wheel bearings damage the tires and cause the automobile to skid, they do not result in the wheel detaching from the axle.

The wheel is securely fastened to the axle, and there is no connection between the bearing and it.

What Is The Average Cost Of A Wheel Bearing Replacement?

The bearing at the front of the bike costs between $260 and $480, with component expenditures ranging from $120 to $200 and labor charges totaling the remainder.

Rear-wheel bearings, are more costly, costing you between $400 and $800 because you must replace the entire hub assembly.

How Do I Tell If My Wheel Bearings Are Bad?

The noisy wheel bearing is often the first indication that it is going bad.

The rest, such as uneven tires and uncomfortable journeys, arrive later.

Here are some warning signals for a failing wheel bearing.

  • Grinding noise
  • Wobbly wheels
  • Vibration felt in steering wheels
  • Clinking, snapping and popping sounds
  • A car pulls to one side


The wheel bearing, despite its minor size, is essential for the functioning of the entire vehicle.

After a few years on the road, it may fail to owe to wear and tear or other reasons.

The noise is the first indication, which grows louder with speed and manifests as a humming, squealing, or groaning sound.

While you can drive further, it may become dangerous for everyone on the road if a faulty bearing causes uneven tires, problems with brakes, steering wheel shake, or wobbly wheels.

The worst-case scenario is erratic tire performance and other issues caused by a bad bearing.

If you detect any of the above, have your mechanic inspect your automobile before driving into any more problems.

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Jeffrey Bryce is an experienced motorcycle rider with years of experience caring for motorcycles. His natural fondness for motorcycles have made him come up with, which is dedicated to answering and teaching you how to care for your bike with the care it requires. LetsGoForARide is the one of his important lifework in reaching out to communities of motorcycle enthusiasts on how to take care of their bike and choosing the correct spare part.