Updated date:

What Is a Wheel Bearing? Diagnosing a Wheel Bearing Noise

Eddie spent 35 years in the automotive business with Honda. He is an ASE Certified Master Technician and has bruised knuckles to prove it.

A bearing in its race.

A bearing in its race.

Your mechanic says you need a wheel bearing, but you wonder "What is that?" I will make this as easy as possible to understand, with pictures, video, and my own interpretation. I'll tell you what a wheel bearing is, its job, where it's located, and what it sounds like when it's damaged.

What Is a Wheel Bearing?

A wheel bearing is a set of steel balls held together by a metal ring called a race. They help wheels spin fast with as little friction as possible. They are used on all kinds of vehicles, from bicycles to aircraft and cars. On a car, a wheel bearing rides on a metal axle shaft and fits tightly inside the hub, which is a hollow chunk of metal at the center of the wheel. The hub holds the lug bolts that you use to bolt the tire onto the wheel. The wheel bearing is pressed into the hub from the back.

What Does a Bad Wheel Bearing Sound Like?

When bearings are damaged and making noise, it's hard to diagnose because you have to drive the vehicle in order to reproduce the sound. Here are tips to help you find the source of the problem:

  • When the seal on the wheel bearing is broken or damaged, the noise starts out very faint and becomes louder over time. It sounds like the noise that your tires make when hitting a rumble strip on the highway, just not quite as loud, something like the sound of playing cards flapping against bicycle spokes.
  • While driving down the road about 40 mph, sway the car side to side slowly, shifting the weight of the vehicle from one side to the other. Do not drive crazy or cause the car to spin out, just sway it gently. Notice whether the noise gets louder or softer. If the noise is a little less if you turn right, the damaged bearing may be on the right side, or vice versa.
  • Note that tires that are "chopped" or "scalloped" (worn in patches) also make a rhythmic noise that increases in speed. This sounds very similar to a bad wheel bearing. Look at your tires as well if you hear this kind of noise.

Wheel Bearing Noise With a Tire Noise: Very Loud and Vibrating

A bearing inside a hub.

A bearing inside a hub.

Helicopter Noise From Your Car, What is it?

Why Do Wheel Bearings Make Noise?

Most wheel bearings are hardened steel and can withstand a lot of abuse. Its two worst enemies are heat and water. Heat caused by lack of lubrication can destroy a wheel bearing. Water that penetrates a sealed bearing will also destroy it.

Most wheel bearings manufactured today are sealed. They come from the factory pressed together as an assembly: front race, bearing set, center race, bearing set, and outer race, with seals on both the front and rear. Seals protect bearings from the elements, water, and debris, and they also seal in the high-temperature grease the bearing needs. When a seal is broken or damaged, the wheel bearing will fail and start making noise.

Damaged wheel bearing race

Damaged wheel bearing race

Pinpointing the Source of Bearing Noise

As explained in the video below, if you really want to know whether your noise is a bearing noise and you can get the car up on a lift, you can use an improvised stethoscope (actually a big screwdriver) to listen to the sound and find out where it's coming from. Have someone in the vehicle start it and run it at about 40 mph. Using a long screwdriver or stethoscope, rest it on the hub near each wheel bearing. Careful! Don't let the tool touch a moving part, or it could fly up and hit you. Listen through the handle of the screwdriver (or through the stethoscope) for the noise, and I guarantee you will be able to determine which bearing is bad.

Wheel Bearing Noise Amplified by a Screwdriver Handle

Replacing Your Wheel Bearing

Wheel bearings do not fail immediately, and usually give you some time before you need to have them replaced. I suppose if a wheel bearing failed completely it could lock up and prevent the car from moving. Then again, my daughter drove on a noisy bearing for six months and nothing happened except that it got louder and louder.

You shouldn't necessarily have the bearings on both sides replaced. Just because one fails is no reason to think the others are about to; bearings should last a long time.

Replacing one is a bit expensive because of the labor involved. There are a lot of parts to remove and get out of the way before you can get to the wheel bearing, especially on a four-wheel-drive or front-wheel-drive vehicle. It's a difficult job to do yourself without a press, because it's a tight fit getting the bearing in and out of the hub. It's less work (though more expense for parts) to replace the whole hub and bearing as a unit.

Wheel Bearing Noise and What it Sounds Like

Please Ask Questions or Comment Below!

I hope this article helped you. If you have a question, please feel free to leave it in the comments box, I will answer it as soon as possible. Your questions are welcome and help other readers.

More by Eddie Carrara on Car Noises

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: How much will it cost to replace the wheel bearing?

Answer: This all depends on the vehicle and where it's located on the vehicle. There is a big difference in labor between a Honda Civic rear wheel bearing and a Ford F250 rear wheel bearing. The average cost is about 2 hours labor for a front wheel bearing.

Question: I hear a grinding noise in the front wheel area, do you think its a wheel bearing?

Answer: A wheel bearing noise is similar to a hum and is usually heard above 25 mph. If this is what you are hearing it's a good possibility a worn wheel bearing is what you are hearing.

Question: My car only has 12,000 miles on it. It was stuttering and not responding on and off when I would push the gas pedal. The dealership has had it for four weeks and is now thinking that my wheel bearing needs replaced. Is this unusual? Should I be concerned that I will have further problems?

Answer: The problem you're having has nothing to do with wheel bearings; it sounds more like you have an issue with the throttle position sensor or mass airflow sensor.

Question: What should I get done first: wheel bearings, or brake pads and rotors?

Answer: There is some overlap in labor and you could save a few bucks doing them at the same time, so if you can borrow the money to do both jobs together it would be ideal. I don't know how bad the wheel bearing is, so I can't say which is more important.

Question: My mechanic says wheel bearing seal is leaking and it is drying in there. No noise yet. How urgent is the repair?

Answer: If there is no noise and the wheel bearing doesn't have any play there isn't a problem yet and it may take years for there to be a problem depending on driving habits, condition, and miles driven.

Question: I have a 2005 Honda Pilot and there is a humming sound coming from the rear of my car. The mechanics changed the two rear wheel bearings and it was still making the same sound. Now he changed the two front wheel bearings and it is still making the same sound! Can you help me by suggesting what you think is wrong?

Answer: If your Pilot is a AWD most likely the noise is coming from the center carrier bearing mounted on the driveshaft in the middle of the vehicle.

Question: If the wheel bearings are making a loud noise when going straight, as well as when turning right, is that a bad sign? Should I stop driving the car until I can get it fixed?

Answer: Yes, bearings will make noise driving straight as well as when turning. I recommend having a mechanic take a drive with you to get their opinion on how bad they are just to be safe.

Question: I'm a 1000 miles from home, and I think my wheel bearing needs repair. Is it dangerous to drive at high speeds?

Answer: You need to stop and have it checked. I'm not sure what the actual problem is, so it's better to have it checked just in case.

Question: If a wheel bearing is replaced would it need to be replaced again within one week?

Answer: Are you asking if a wheel bearing can go bad in one week? If so, the person who installed it may have damaged it or instead it wrong, some wheel bearings last the life of a car.

Question: My truck is making a vibrating/humming noise only when I'm driving 60 mph or 80 mph. Is this the wheel bearing?

Answer: It sounds like either your wheel bearings or uneven tire wear, I recommend checking the tire wear first.

Question: When the mechanic says there was play on the wheels and the wheel bearings need to be replaced, how bad is that?

Answer: It means either the locking wheel bearing nut was loose or the wheel bearing is worn enough to have some clearance. Usually if the wheel bearing is noisy it because of damage, but if the wheel bearing was loose because the nut backed off and there was no noise, the nut may have just needed to be tightened.

Question: There is a humming noise coming from front wheel area of my car, and it gets louder when I drive faster, could this be wheel bearing?

Answer: Yes, that absolutely sounds like a wheel bearing.

Question: A sound comes from my driver's side front tire area when I turn to pull out of the driveway or do a slow turn at a stop sign. The noise sounds more like a creaking noise, and it just started to also sound like a disc spinning. My front tires are winter tires and are cupped and I know I need new struts. Could these two be the reasons for this noise or is it something else?

Answer: It's very possible your struts are the issue if they are leaking oil or gas. Sometimes calipers can make creaking noises too when there is a lack of lubrication.

Question: I bumped into the curb. As a result, I had the lower arm changed. However, when driving above 20 mph., any steering towards the right side results in a rumbling noise. Could this be the wheel bearing or the drive shaft?

Answer: Yes and yes. Most likely you damaged the wheel bearing, and now you have a humming noise; an axle would be more of vibration on acceleration or clicking on acceleration while turning from a stop.

Question: I had my oil changed, and the mechanic looked over my car & said my wheel bearings needed to be replaced, and that my tires should be balanced. I took my car back to where I purchased all new tires because they would balance them for free, but they didn’t tell me I needed bearings, so who am I to believe? I don’t hear the noise you have demonstrated.

Answer: Did the mechanic say why they needed to be changed? Usually if a bearing is not noisy, it doesn't have a problem, it could have some play in it, but some bearings can be adjusted by tightening the axle nut.

Question: Why are my wheels screeching on bends and corners?

Answer: Most likely, the rotor backing plate is to close to the rotor and needs to be adjusted.

Question: When buying a wheel hub, do the bearings come with it as a whole unit?

Answer: It depends on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers sell the components separately so you'll need to ask before you buy.

Question: Do you have to remove the brake pads and rotors to get to the wheel bearings?

Answer: Yes, the wheel bering is usually either bolted or pressed into the knuckle and the caliper and rotor will need to be removed.

Question: Why does my car make a tire rubbing sound but not all the time?

Answer: Your tire may be close to something and only rubs when parts are moving and flexing. I had a customer once who had oversized tires and the tire would rub on the mudflap when she turned a corner. I recommend checking all your tire clearances.

Question: Sometimes there is a noise that reminds me of a kids Power Wheel vehicle, like when it's driven on grass. The big problem is a loud pounding rumble when turning left. I don't think it impairs driving, but it's so loud it makes you think your wheel might fall off if you cut it too deep. Do you think it's the bearing? There are also open recalls on the male model 2010 cx7. Could it be the axel?

Answer: Wheel bearings make a humming noise, so if you have an open recall on the axle, this would be a great place to start because the noise you're describing sounds like you shouldn't be driving this vehicle until it's fixed.

Question: I own a 06 Civic Si. It sounds like something is hitting the brake shield. Rolling by parked cars with my passenger window down, I can hear it softly reflecting back to me. It's almost like softly rubbing on metal; light squeaking. It seems to get louder when I turn to the right. This has been happening for about a year, and has lately become more severe. Should I replace the front axle?

Answer: No, your axle wouldn't make this type of noise. I recommend having the rotor backing plates check for a clearance issue or debris stuck between the two.

Question: I think my wheel bearing just went out. Now my 1999 Chevy Blazer keeps locking the tires and won't let me go anywhere. Do you think it is the wheel bearing? If so what brand of bearings should I buy?

Answer: A wheel bearing would have to make an awful lot of noise before it Locks up, your problem sounds more like your brakes have an issue. I recommend taking off the wheel first to check out what has caused the wheel to lock up.

Question: When I start my Jeep Liberty, why do I hear a ticking noise on the right side?

Answer: There are a lot of electronic components that turn on and off quickly, so maybe that's what you're hearing.

Question: I bought new wheels for my Hyundai accent 2005. Last night I installed the wheels myself. As soon as I started driving, I started hearing this weird noise. I don't know if I damaged the axles. All I remember is that when I put the rims on, I tightened them very hard. That's all I did. Then the noise started up right away. What could it be?

Answer: Either your rims are hitting the calipers, or your wheels are not tight enough. If you didn't install the centering rims, assuming that they came with the wheels, that could also be the source of the noise.

Question: I have a Honda Jazz, and the rear wheel bearing inner race is stuck on the shaft. How do I get it off without damaging the shaft?

Answer: You need to cut it off without damaging the shaft. We usually use a diamond cutting wheel to slice halfway through the race, then use a cold chisel to crack the race inside the cut. It should slide off the shaft after that. If you end up cutting the shaft slightly, it shouldn't affect the installation or the operation of the new bearing.

Question: What makes a noise like a metal bat dragging on cement?

Answer: Worn out brake pads would make a sound like that, or if a small rock is caught between the rotor and backing plate.

Question: I have a 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix GT, and I hear a rattling noise when driving over rough areas in streets. I replaced the passenger side sway bar link and tire rod, but it still drives rough. I was thinking my passenger side wheel bearing. What do you think it could be?

Answer: Try replacing the sway bar bushings first, they are what soften the noise from the sway bar to the frame, and they wear out over time and cause a knocking noise over bumps. Wheel bearings will not cause a knocking noise.

© 2011 Eddie Carrara


Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on August 29, 2020:

Hi Yusef,

It sounds like you may have a clogged catalytic converter. Do you hear any pressure building up outside the vehicle or any hissing noise when the vehicle is slowing down? Let me know, thanks.

Yusef najafi on August 27, 2020:

Hello MR .Carrera


Some times my car gets heavy and decelerate to the point that car rpm decreases and stops if I don't press the clutch pedal.

This problems occures on 2 or 3 gear and when going uphill, turning or when nearing and passing a nump speed. Of course I use brake in these cases.

There is no noises from wheels or brakes.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on June 11, 2020:

Hi Arica,

Hope you didn't order yet. I recommend you order original manufacturers equipment bearing from the dealer, it should be the best quality for your application and have the best warranty. Let me know what you decide to do, thanks.

Arica Breeland on June 06, 2020:

Hi eddie, i have diagnosed my left wheel bearing is bad. But do you have any recommendations on the kind/type i need to order. I have seen the price anywhere from $60-$200. I dont want to order one that is a waste of money and isnt going to last. Im stuck on what to order!!

Please Help me!


Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on May 27, 2020:

Hi Tshepiso,

The best way to diagnose the noise is to have a mechanic raise the car in the air and use an automotive stethoscope to locate or pinpoint the failed part, otherwise, you're just guessing. Let me know if you have other questions.

Tshepiso on May 26, 2020:

I replaced my rear wheel bearing 2 months bck but the noise like air or rumble is back.and gets very loud as i speed.do you think it could be the front wheel bearing.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on March 12, 2020:

Hi Devin,

It sounds like you may have a sticking caliper, I recommend you check the temperature of each wheel after driving to see if one wheel is hotter then all the other ones because that would indicate a sticking caliper. Let me know what you find, thanks.

Devin on March 12, 2020:

My 2012 nissun altmua has a gridding sound in frontend and slow down rather fast when taking foot off gas pedal what maybe the reason for these things

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on March 07, 2020:

Hi Saif,

Is this a 6-speed standard transmission?

Saif on March 07, 2020:

Hi Eddie,

I have a 2012 Honda Accord V6 and I’m hearing a sort of humming noise when I’m decelerating, it usually only happens when I’m at 10 mph or less.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on February 21, 2020:

Hi Carmen,

Usually, a cracking noise when turning is caused by a worn or damaged CV joint but it doesn't usually cause a wobble unless the internal "C" clip at the outer CV joint is worn and the axle shaft is riding against the inside of the CV joint. I would also recommend you check all 4 tire tread depths just to be sure the wobble is not caused by a bald tire, you may have two separate issues. Let me know what you find, thanks.

Carmen on February 21, 2020:

Hi I have a cracking noise when I back up and turn the wheel as I get out of the parking space and now the wheel wobbles what is wrong

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on February 15, 2020:

Hi Maureen,

The noise you are hearing is most likely something moving around because it's not consistent. If it were a tire or wheel bearing, the noise would be constant. I recommend fixing the tire leak first and when they are in the same area, have them check the brake pad life and for any debris that could be caught between the rotor and backing plate, or maybe you have drum brakes?? Let me know :)

Maureen on February 14, 2020:

The other day I came out of my work parking lot, turned right, and heard and felt like a pop and a loud noise, sort of screeching and sounded like I had a flat tire. I pulled over and no flat tire , pulled away drove a short distance and no sound. Drive it two miles , no sound. Took it out later in the night, it happened again a sort of popping and loud screeching sound like I broke something in the rear of the car. I only drive a couple miles hear and there a day, no big mileage. Could it be a bad tire or ball bearings? The tire has also been low in the rear twice after I filled it with air. Twice in a two week period a rear tire went from 35 lbs to 25 lbs of air.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 03, 2020:

Hi Fredoc,

The noise you're hearing is most likely either a wheel bearing or uneven tire wear but you'll need to have an expert put the car in the air to inspect both to diagnose the problem properly. Let me know if you have more questions, thanks.

Fredoc157 on December 31, 2019:

I have a 2009 AWD NISSAN MURANO: there is a humming sound that gradually gets very loud as I drive faster. It is coming from the front end of the car.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on December 24, 2019:

Hi Gabriel,

The vibration when braking is usually caused by warped rotors so you either need to have them resurfaced or replaced to remedy the brake pulsation.

gabriel on December 23, 2019:

Very insightful videos, my right wheel bearing from your analysis seem messed up. could it also be the reason why my passenger seat shakes cos i have new tyres? and when i press my brakes fast and hard at about 70mph, my car shakes a lot.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on December 19, 2019:

Thanks Peter, I really appreciate the feedback :)

Peter on December 18, 2019:

Excellent Write Up. great info and was written very well. I enjoyed reading the entire article. The videos were very helpful as well. We really appreciate the hard work and time you put into this ! Keep up the Great work (:

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on December 17, 2019:

Hi Ed,

If the dealer replaced the sensor to fix the problem and you still have a problem I highly recommend you bring it back to them because they didn't diagnose the problem properly. I don't know what the code is but if it was an O2 sensor code it may be caused several other issues like a leak in the exhaust, fuel injectors, spark plugs or ignition coil, etc... How does the engine run? Normal? No skips, no hesitations?

Edward Mulcahy on December 15, 2019:

I own a 1995 Saturn SC 1 with 127 thousands Kms. My "Check Engine" light comes on almost all the time. I have my oil changed approximately every 3 months. I've had the sensor replaced twice, once by my mechanic and the other by the local GM dealership. Nothing changed, but it sure was expensive due to the cars age and availability of the part. My question is, could this be an electrical problem or something else? If it is electrical should I take it in to an automotive electrical repair shop, or just live with it, due to the possible expense of replacing whatever is wrong?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on October 17, 2019:

Hi Henry,

When turning right the weight of the vehicle is shifted to the left side which would indicate a left bearing, BUT... there are 4 wheel bearings with an inner and outer race. I have been bitten before by guessing so I recommend you have a mechanic check it on the lift with a stethoscope or something similar just so you're not throwing parts at the car hoping to fix the issue. It will be worth the diagnosis fee if the mechanic is honest. Keep me posted on what you find, thanks.

Henry Araujo on October 15, 2019:

I need some help here. I replaced the front left wheel bearing on my 08 350z hoping that would resolve the issue but it didn’t. I saw the video you posted here and my car does make that noise but at a speed greater than 50mph. On the highway for instance. When I turn right , I hear the noise. Turning left, the noise stops. I’m going to be commuting greater than 30 minutes on the highway and need my car to run at peak conditions for safety of course but also to save money on tires. Basically, which side should the wheel bearing issue be on?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on October 15, 2019:

Hi Frank,

Sorry for the late reply. No, that is not the proper way to check wheel bearings! The only way to check for bearing play is to grab the wheel at 12 and 6 o'clock, or 3 and 9 o'clock and rock it back and forth with opposite pressures at each hand (if that makes sense) or you could check it for noise with the wheel spinning off the ground with a stethoscope or something similar. Was the bearing making noise while driving?

Frank on October 07, 2019:

i took my 2015 Nissan Murano to replace a O2 Sensor I was told it might be the wheel bearing or the Sensor I already knew about the O2 Sensor, then he hit the wheel bearing cover with a hammer it made no sense he said he was checking the wheel bearing is this how it is check?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on September 09, 2019:

Hi Andrew,

I recommend you listen to the mechanic if they say it's unsafe, it's probably a good idea to replace it or ask if they can tighten the axle nut. Is it making noise while driving? Is this something they found on a routine oil change or something?

Andrew on September 09, 2019:

My mechanic just said my 2005 Accord needs a wheel bearing. He showed me where the wheel was loose and said it was bad. I am trying to just get another 5 months out of the car. What is the worst that can happen if I continue to drive it? Is it dangerous to continue to drive it?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on September 09, 2019:

Hi Quintin,

I don’t believe it can lock up brakes but your wheel could lock up because the bearing is seized inside the race. Let me know if this helps, thanks.

Quintin Crum on September 02, 2019:

Can bad wheel bearings cause brakes to lock?

Vang on August 31, 2019:

Hello Phill,

I have a 97 civic and the car is manual. When im driving and put the car in neutral and let if roll anywhere over 15 mph or in between shift it squeaks. Do you have any ideas that would help me, Thank you.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on August 26, 2019:

Hi Phil,

That sounds a little odd and not a common noise. If there is no drivability issue I recommend driving it until it's more noticeable because it will most likely get worse over time. The noise has something to do with the brakes because you only hear it when they are applied, so either it's rotors, pads, shims, or calipers. Sorry I don't have a better answer for you.

Phil Yates on August 25, 2019:

Hi Eddie

i have a 15' AWD Equinox that has a frequent but intermittent issue that I only hear when braking. From inside the vehicle, sounds like a rattle when the brakes are applied, but if I am braking at lower speeds with the window down, and have a concrete barrier to reflect the sound I swear the sound like a bicycle with a baseball car in the spoke is evident from both front wheels. If the vehicle is parked for a while the sound doesn't occur, but after driving for awhile it appears to stay for the duration of the day. I took the vehicle to a local mechanic that took apart the wheel and said he saw some rust, but then thought the issue was fixed after finding some rocks inside the fins of the rotor and not hearing the sound after that during short drives. Do you have any thoughts about this issue before I commit to fixing the vehicle by the process of elimination by repair?

Thanks for any help and or suggestions!

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on August 21, 2019:

Hi Amanda,

Either that or you have chopped tires with uneven tire wear but hearing your description it sounds more like a wheel bearing,

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on August 21, 2019:

Hi Rose,

Maybe the brake pads are worn and are starting to grind against the rotors? I recommend you get it checked just to be safe.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on August 19, 2019:

Hi Dennis,

Sorry for the late reply, Is this when you're applying the brakes or just when driving?

Rose on August 16, 2019:

I just went to go to the store. When I turned right it made a really loud noise and the front tire just felt funny! So I backed up and parked it. Any ideas?? Thank you!!

Amanda on August 16, 2019:

We have a 2005 chevy equinox we started hearing a rumble strip kinda sound from the passenger side , when i drive 50-52 mph it makes the noise when i slow down it goes away. Would this be a bad wheel bearing?

Dennis Engelhard on August 09, 2019:

Looking for help on a scrapping / for lack of a better term banging noise only when driving, not present when in Park, no engine codes or anything its a 2004 Chysler Sebring, as mentioned there is what almost sounds like scrapping and a thump thump thump noise, any advice would be appreciated

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on August 05, 2019:

Hi JE,

I can't say what's safe, but I can recommend you bring it to a shop and get their expert opinion, it's better to have it checked than to guess :)

JE on August 04, 2019:

Pretty sure got a bad wheel bearing. Started making noise about 2-3 wks ago. Drove about 350 miles and noticed it’s Gerri g louder (2014 Honda Pilot). Need to drive it back home another 350 miles and was going to take it to dealership and get fixed. Do think it’s okay to drive?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on July 31, 2019:

Hi Jon,

I don't think it has anything to do with weights falling off, may be just a coincidence and sometimes the noise will not change when turning slightly, only in some instances. I recommend inspecting all tires for chop or uneven wear, if any are chopped or have uneven wear, that may be your noise, if they all look good, I recommend having the wheel bearings checked.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on July 24, 2019:

Hi Sandra,

It's possible and now the noise is getting louder. I recommend having someone double-check the noise to make sure that in fact, it is a wheel bearing and not something else. Let me know if you have more questions.

jon wunderlich on July 24, 2019:

the humming noise started when balancing weights fell off rim but it does silence when steering wheel is turned left slightly

Sandra Swisher on July 17, 2019:

I recently had a right front outer tie rod replaced. A week later I began hearing a humming noise. Based on comments I've read it sounds like a wheel bearing going bad. Is it possible the wheel bearing was broken when the tie rod was replaced?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on July 08, 2019:

Hi Maria,

The weight of the driver has nothing to do with wheel bearing failing :) I also don't think the accident has anything to do with it failing either because of the length of time since the accident. Bearings fail sometimes for no reason except a defective seal. Hope this helps.

Maria on July 03, 2019:

Can a car accident break wheel bearings even if it didint hit face to face but from the front bumper driver side? ... I had my jeep for 1yr and 3months and didint had an issue i gave it to my friend and all of a sudden shes having issues with it and claims that because the car was in an accident it messed up the wheel bearings. I got the car in november 2017 and in feb 2018 i had the accident i gave her the jeep in december 2018 and shes been having it for 5months and has been having issues. Her son is 6'5 and weights close to 300 lbs will that be a factor for the wheel bearings to mess up

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on June 19, 2019:

Hi Falorien,

I recommend you have the tires checked for uneven wear, it sounds to me like the tires are chopped or feathered on the edges.

Falorien on June 17, 2019:

I have a 2004 Ford Explorer and i hear and can kinds feel the vibration but it only does that when im going 10mph and not pressing the gas or break but when i do press the gas or break it stops and it is bothering the hell outta me.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on June 12, 2019:

Hi B Smith,

Take it back to the original shop ASAP, they may have forgotten to tighten something like an axle nut. If the noise wasn't there before the work was done then most likely it's a man-made problem. Keep me posted on what you find, thanks.

B Smith on June 10, 2019:

2012 Nissan Altima went to the shop for brakes. Now, I hear this roaring noise that sounds like your description of bad wheel bearings. Is it just a coincidence that the bearings went bad after brakes were fixed? Or is it possible the shop I had the work done made a mistake. Should I take it back to the same shop? Any suggestions?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on May 23, 2019:

Hi Cassie,

Yes, tire chop can sound very similar to a damaged wheel bearing. Chopped tires could be caused by several different reasons like under inflation, out of balance, out of alignment, etc, hopefully, they will replace them at no charge. Keep me posted on what happens and how it sounds with new tires :)

Cassie Daniel on May 22, 2019:

Hello Eddie.

I went to the shop. As soon as I told them i had just had my tires rotated and the sound got louder they checked the condition of my front tires that were on the back previously. Found a couple knots in one and smaller knots in the other. He called them "choppy". Fortunately i did purchase the plus warranty on each tire. Theyre not even a year old and i havent even put 10,000 miles on them yet, so hopefully they will replace them! Who knew that the tires would mimic the same sounds almost tht a bad wheel bearing will do? I wonder what caused this since they were thr back tires? My struts are fine so what else coold cause this to happen? Manufacturers defect or something I've done? Thanks so much!


Cassie Daniel on May 22, 2019:

Hi Eddie. We changed the breaks and jacked the car up to see if there is any play in the bearings. No play but since getting the rotation the helicopter sound and humming has gotten louder. Taking it to shop today to put on a lift so they can diagnose the proper one. Most likely change both front anyway bc it sounds lkke its coming from the front. Could rotating the tires put strain on an already bad bearing thus making the systems worse? I will update after the shop does their thing today. Gonna go be sure that is what it is but we are almost 100% sure bc if the humming and helicopter sound. Thanks again!

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on May 21, 2019:

Hi Elaine,

Do you notice if you hear the noise while braking or just coasting?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on May 20, 2019:

Hi Cassie,

It's possible it's a wheel bearing, but what weird is the noise disappeared and then returned. I recommend having a reputable shop check the wheel bearings with a stethoscope, it the fastest and most accurate way to know for sure. Keep me posted on what you find, and if you have more questions, I'll be right here :)

Cassie Daniel on May 20, 2019:

I have a 2013 Elantra and last year before replacing all 4 tires l could hear a low humming sound along with what reminded me of a low toalmost flat tires sound. A few months after getting new tires the sound has returned but even louder. Had all 4 new tires rotated and balanced 2 days ago and the sound is still there along with a slight vibration felt in steering wheel and gas pedal. Does this sound like a wheel bearing. I only have about 76,000 miles on the car and my tires are about 8 months old and have been rotated and balanced 2 days ago. Thanks

Elaine Miranda on May 18, 2019:

My 2016 Buick Regal started a 'knocking/woodpecker' type noise, drivers side, when decelerating. Recent road hazard (screw) removed from tire followed by routine tire rotation.

Any thoughts? Thank you.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on May 07, 2019:

Hi Jessie,

The tire wear is most likely because the alignment is out of spec, and that would also cause the car to track funny and not return to center after turning. The metal grinding noise should be addressed asap because it could be worn brakes and the humming is most likely a wheel bearing starting to make noise or it could be the tires because of the uneven wear. Hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions, Thanks.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on May 07, 2019:

Hi Patricia,

What is the year make and model of the vehicle? What speed are you at when you hear this? Are you driving straight or turning? Let me know, thanks.

Jessie8924 on May 05, 2019:


I have an 03’ Ford Explorer 4-wheel drive. Recently I had some pretty bad shaking. We had the tires changed and shaking seemed to resolve itself. Not long after shaking was resolved I’ve noticed a slue of other problems. I do hear some humming that seems to come from the back (hard to tell because I always have my children with me) although it does sound more clear towards the back end. Under driver side I have felt what feels like a “thump” repetitively that comes and goes. Now, when I accelerate to 50+mph my vehicle seats roughly from side to side. Especially turning curves, once straightening steering wheel it almost seems to want to go straight. It has been very scary quite a few times. Feeling like I have zero control of the vehicle. We just noticed this morning that the front passenger side wheel has inner tire wear, quite significant (balding actually, tires were put on just two months ago less than 4K miles on them). Balding seems to be more centered than inner although the wear does extend towards inner side as well. I hear some metal grinding somewhat from back end I believe when going low speeds such as 10-20mph. Not sure where to start at for repairs to be most friendly toward our pockets as we will have to do everything in steps because we cannot afford to do it all at one time. Any advice and suggestions?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on May 05, 2019:

Hi Nick,

It's possible the wheel bearing started making noise but just be sure you're not hearing the new tire tread hitting the pavement. Some new tread patterns can hum because of the pattern, other tires are completely quiet, it's just the nature of the beast.

Nick on May 02, 2019:

I just got 2 tires replaced on my front tires on my 2003 Malibu and now i'm hearing a hum coming from the front left tire. This is the tire that ended up going flat and I had to put a donut on it before getting the tires replaced. It gets quieter the faster I drive.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on April 15, 2019:

Hi xp2009,

Sounds like your brake rotors have pad imprints or rust causing the noise. I recommend having the front rotor and calipers checked for uneven or rusted rotor surface and possible caliper sticking.

xp2009 on April 14, 2019:

Hi Eddie!

Hope u r fine....i have Ford Explorer 2009..a sound like thumping is arising out from front wheel(driver side),the mechanic replaced the left front wheel bearing but no improvement in sound, i mean the sound remained same as earlier, then changed front two tyres,made wheel alignment but no respite...I experienced that when I drive straight or turn left, the sound remains same but when I turn the steering slight right or take a right turn in curve, the sound disappears..The sound also become disappear (not completely, but almost 10% remains) when I apply brake while driving straight or taking left turn...Plz advise..thnx a lot!1

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on April 07, 2019:

Hi William,

Not likely, They couldn't damage anything just swapping tires, maybe you didn't hear it because the snow tires are loud and aggressive?

William S Kasper on April 05, 2019:

After my snow tires were replaced, by the dealer, I heard the bearings problem. Is it possible that they damaged the bearings when they put on the regular tires?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on April 02, 2019:

Hi Paige,

It would be a good idea to at least have it checked so you know if it is dangerous or if you can wait a whilebefore getting it fixed. Wheel bearings make a noise starting around 25 mph and the tone can change when turning left and right, sometimes disappearing all together on turns so have it checked just to be sure.

Paige on March 27, 2019:

My Jeep has been making this noise every time I turn in left direction (on ramps, wide turns) turning into a driveway not so much. It only happens when I turn the wheel left, nothing when it’s straight or turning right. It has gotten louder in the last week. I noticed today it stops the noise when I press on the break. Sounds like something in a peg of a bike. Any suggestions...is it something that needs to be fix ASAP?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on March 18, 2019:

Hi Kim,

It sounds like you may have either a CV joint clicking or a U-Joint making noise. I recommend you have all of them inspected, and yes, if you like your SUV it's worth sticking the money into it.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on March 18, 2019:

Hi Jonahm,

Yes, it sounds like a wheel bearing to me :)

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on March 18, 2019:

Hi Schellie,

Take a look at this video I made and let me know if this may be your issue https://youtu.be/HR8UbHpBfmU

Schellie on March 16, 2019:

Hey Eddie,

I am hearing what sounds like coins rolling, or dragging chains in my front passenger side tire. It is a constant sound when driving slowly, enough so, that people look over as i drive by. I dont think it is wheel bearing, as ive heard that noise before. I am at a loss as to what this sound could be. HELP!

Jonahm on March 15, 2019:

MY steering wheel makes a humming noise when I hit about 40 mph when steering to the right and goes away when steering to the left. Do you think that that’s the wheel bearing?

Kim on March 13, 2019:

I have a 2002 nissan exterra with 146 ,000 miles and every time i step on the gas it makes a loud noise like a helicopter but louder with a pop, pop sound ,what do u think is wrong and is it worth fixing. Thank you

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on March 05, 2019:

Hi Blake,

Not unless you hit a curb very hard, scrubbing the curb will have no effect on the bearing. There is more force on a bearing when taking a sharp turn at fast speeds like exiting a highway then there would be scrubbing a curb.

Blake Tabit on March 05, 2019:

I have a car under extended bumper to bumper warranty with 20k miles left. Over the past year the rear bearing has been getting louder and after taking it into dealership they claimed the scratched rim from parallel parking was an outside influence that caused the bearing to fail and would no longer be covered. Is this reasonable?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on February 18, 2019:

Hi Elison,

If they are tapered bearings you will need to pack them with grease before installing them. You can use a high-temperature wheel bearing grease found at any auto parts store. Here is a video I made on how to grease a wheel bearing if you have tapered bearings. https://youtu.be/REP7GOn9dWE

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on February 18, 2019:

Hi Elison,

Wheel bearings can last for many years, if you have tapered not sealed bearings you'll need to grease them every few years. Sealed bearings are non-serviceable and will never need grease.

elisontaruvinga@gmail.com on February 16, 2019:

How long should a front wheel bearing last no matter being of cheap quality?

Here our retailers ask us to open it and add some grease. No matter done , still they don't last. To me if they take 6 months I could say they lasted longer.

elisontaruvinga@gmail.com on February 16, 2019:

Do i need to add some grease on \in a new front bearing before fitting?

Also what is the actual type of grease to be added if necessary?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 26, 2019:

Hi Wesley,

Sorry about the slow reply, It may not be a wheel bearing, I could also be a locking hub malfunctioning or worn brake pads, I highly recommend getting it checked if you haven't yet. Let me know what you find, thanks.

Wesley Nash on January 22, 2019:

I have a 2007 hummer h3 i think the hub is going bad it is making a really bad metal on metal sound it went from just barely able to hear it to omg i think the tire is falling off really fast. What else can it be or where is a good place to start ? Thanks in advance

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 21, 2019:

Hi Shirley,

There are a lot of things that can cause a thumping noise, the most common is tires, so if you're cruising and not touching the brakes and not turning and you're hearing a thumping noise, have your tires checked for uneven wear or cupping. If the tires look good and have a smooth tread then you'll need to dig deeper.

Shirley on January 21, 2019:

My car is a GMC Jimmy I hear what sounds like a thumbing noise seems like On the passage side, even when drive slow what could it be?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 13, 2019:

Hi Brendan,

Most likely y the noise is a wheel bearing, it may sound different because it's in the rear, there really is no common sound for a wheel bearing because there are many different styles. I doubt it's a tire noise unless you can actually see damage to the tire but anything is possible.

Brendan Millar on January 11, 2019:

I slid into a curb last night, the left side of the my car took the brunt of the force, but my rear wheel rim appeared to be the only thing damaged. I got it replaced yesterday. However now when I drive above

60km/hr(Canadian) I hear a noticeable oscillating low frequency sound, hard to describe, but its constant wrrrWRRwrrr and other then noise level speed doesn’t effect it. Its loudest at 80km hr. it doesn’t sound like a wheel bearing(womwomwom). Im wondering if a tire could be damaged or something else. My steering wheel isn’t vibrating, doesn’t feel ‘loose’.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 07, 2019:

Hi Marc,

One wheel bearing per wheel/hub. If they refuse to believe, then ask them "what is causing the noise?" If they changed the wheel bearing because of the noise and the noise is still there, simply tell them that the noise is the same as before and they didn't fix anything.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 07, 2019:

Hi Denise,

Thank you :)

I recommend you drive it for a few days and if the wheel bearing is still making noise, take it in to have it diagnosed. Usually, only one wheel bearing fails at a time, especially if it just started making noise, its rare two or more fail at the same time so beware. Let me know if you have more questions.

Denise on January 06, 2019:

Hi Eddie

First I’d like to tell you how kind and so knowledgeable you are. It’s hard out here to know what to do. Well, I have a Saturn Vue 2006, just yesterday I noticed a hum as I go and it starts in about 40 mph. We did have a lot of rain the other day and sandy dirt under. Should I first spray out the wheels then test it again, or just take it to a mechanic?

marc on January 06, 2019:

2000 saturn sl1.

how many bearings on one front hub assembly unit?

I had left side replaced noise became worse. company refuses to believe it is the bearing.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 02, 2019:

Hi Valerie,

How did you make out with the tires? Is the noise gone?

Valerie Robinson on December 28, 2018:

Thank you Eddie, will be changing all 4 tyres tomorrow will let you know if the noise disappears.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on December 27, 2018:

Hi Valerie,

Usually a wheel bearing is a steady noise that increases with vehicle speed not a rotating noise, what you might be hearing is uneven tire tread noise. I recommend you check your tires for uneven wear or have someone check your tires for you that has some knowledge about tire wear. Let me know what you find or if you have more questions.

Valerie Robinson on December 27, 2018:

Hi Eddie, I own a 2008 Toyota Yaris and recently started to hear a woo woo noise from the front right side when the car is just rolling at say 30m/h. It even shook a bit. Please what do you think this is?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on December 27, 2018:

Hi Elyse,

It sounds like either you have a loose exhaust heat shield, rotor backing plate, or hubcap. I recommend checking all your hubcaps first because that's the easiest check, if all looks good check for any loose rotor backing plates, if all is ok, have the exhaust checked for any loose heat shields. Keep me posted on what you find, thanks.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on December 27, 2018:

Hi Jo Ann,

Most likely the mechanic bent the rotor backing plate and it is now rubbing the rotor while driving. I recommend you bring it back so they can adjust the backing plate, it should only take a few minutes or you could try bending it out of the way yourself. Let me know what you find, thanks.

Jo Ann on December 24, 2018:

I have a 2012 Subaru legacy with 140,000 miles

Always have it maintained

Just had rear bearings replace is dealership where I purchased car. I always go in to have a safety inspection. To make sure all is OK.

Brakes, oil change, etc.

On my way to my grandson's Christmas eve mass I turned the corner and this loud scraping metal sound coming from the rear of the car. Thought I picked something up. Stopped and looked did not see anything. Proceeded to go and it got even worse.

Elyse on December 19, 2018:

I am hearing a noise in my front driver tire but it's not all the time. Usually when I have driven for a while and it happens when I change speeds or go over any kind of bump. It's sound like a "tink"... sort of like hitting a pie pan or a low symbol. Is this the wheel bearing?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on December 17, 2018:

Hi Ben,

Sometimes when swaying a car left to right while driving at a steady speed, the wheel bearing noise will be more pronounced in one direction or the other so the noise you're hearing could be a wheel bearing.

Related Articles