Can a Bad Wheel Bearing Cause a Transmission Problem?
Wheel bearings are designed to last the life of your car. While most vehicles will not need a wheel bearing replacement, some may need one or more over their lifetime.
Without good wheels, your car can't function properly. In addition to being a component, wheels are also complex. They have to be designed to fit seamlessly into a vehicle, and various components go into making a wheel.
Wheel bearings are essential for your vehicle's wheels to work together seamlessly. But can a bad wheel bearing cause transmission problems?
Yes, a bad wheel bearing will put a lot of stress on the transmission, the hub, and the CV joint. It’s never advisable to drive with a failing wheel bearing because it may cause the wheel to stop while in motion.
Let’s quickly learn more about wheel bearing and transmission for a better understanding!
Table of Contents
What Is a Wheel Bearing?
A wheel bearing comprises steel balls that are held together using a metal ring. A hollow metal part at the center of your wheels is referred to as a hub.
The balls of the wheel are tightly integrated into the hub, which helps reduce friction when the wheels spin. Unlike engine bearings, wheel bearings do not have a constant source of lubrication.
This means they must be tight to keep water and road dust from getting on them.
They also support the weight of the car while driving. Wheel bearings are prone to abuse due to the forces they encounter when turning and on rough roads.
Like other automotive components, the wear and tear of a wheel bearing can eventually lead to it being replaced.
Before you start considering having a wheel bearing replaced, make sure that you thoroughly inspect your vehicle.
There are a variety of warning signs that a bad wheel bearing might have.
What Is a Transmission?
Aside from being an integral part of a vehicle, transmission is also complex due to its synchronization and operation. Without a good transmission, a car can't function properly.
A car transmission system is a gear system commonly used in the vehicle's operation. Like a shifter and chain, it's similar to a bicycle gear system.
A typical car transmission has six sets of gear and several gear trains. These trains allow the driver to control the power delivered to the vehicle at a given speed.
Sound transmission can also help prevent the car from going too fast or too slow.
It can additionally help ensure that the engine's power is delivered to the wheels at the correct rate. This ensures that the car's revolutions per minute are kept low.
When driving slowly, maintain a lower gear to minimize the damage to your vehicle's engine.
Conversely, shifting to a higher level will allow you to maximize your car's power.
There are two types of transmission; automatic and manual.
More recent cars are unlikely to feature a manual transmission. Instead, they're usually equipped with automatic transmissions.
These transmissions have lower error rates because drivers are not required to shift gears whenever their vehicle changes its speed manually.
Can a Bad Wheel Bearing Cause Transmission Failure?
Yes, a bad wheel bearing can cause transmission failure! A bad wheel bearing can affect the transmission's stability and prevent it from working correctly. It can also cause the hub and the CV joint to get stressed.
If a wheel bearing is damaged, it's risky to drive. It's also possible to cause the wheel to stop moving while driving.
In addition, research has shown that a damaged wheel bearing can affect other vehicle components.
How Do You Know Your Wheel Bearing Is Faulty?
Although wheel bearings are integral to your vehicle's drive assembly, they are often overlooked.
While you may only pay attention to them when something goes wrong, bad wheel bearings can damage your vehicle severely. In some cases, you can even end up with a seized-up wheel.
Before diagnosing other wheel-related issues, you must understand how a bad wheel bearing can affect your vehicle.
Here are some common issues that you might experience if your bearings suddenly bite the dust:
1. Increased Tire Wear
In addition to damaging your vehicle's drive system, lousy wheel bearings can also affect the wear of your tires.
The side-to-side movement of the ball joint can change the tire's wear pattern, which can cause it to lose its tread faster.
Aside from bad wheel bearings, other automotive issues such as damaged CV joints and blown shocks can also lead to premature tire wear.
Having your mechanic inspect these issues should be on your list of priorities when diagnosing wheel-related problems.
2. Steering Wheel Vibration
If you suddenly experience a severe steering wheel shake, it's most likely a tire issue.
Although it could be caused by uneven wear or dry rot, most steering wheel problems are usually dismissed as tire problems.
Other issues leading to excessive steering wheel vibrations can also show up at high speeds.
On the other hand, if your vehicle is moving slower, a poorly-functioning wheel bearing can cause even worse steering wheel vibrations as it accelerates.
In addition, failing wheels can also cause the affected part to wobble while moving.
3. Axle Damage
If you're constantly riding on a worn or damaged wheel bearing, it can eventually affect the performance of your vehicle's axles.
Aside from the bearing, a damaged component can also affect the other components of your vehicle's drivetrain and suspension.
Shavings from the defective wheel bearing can affect the entire wheel hub and cause further damage.
The seals and CV joint boots of your vehicle can also get damaged due to excessive wheel heat.
A worn or damaged bearing can additionally cause grooves in the shaft to wear.
4. Increased Wheel Heat
Besides the rolling resistance of your tires, friction also contributes to the life of your wheels. It can additionally develop when you step on the brakes.
If your vehicle's wheels are not turning freely due to a worn-out or damaged wheel bearing, excessive friction can quickly turn them into hot objects.
Although your tires won't catch fire, too much heat can cause your wheels to feel incredibly hot.
The sudden and intense heat from your wheels can also affect your vehicle's brake system and other components.
For instance, if you suddenly hit a puddle, the sudden shock can cause stress fractures in the brake pads and alloy wheels.
Bad wheel bearings can cause major issues for the transmission and other parts of your car.
It’s imperative to look out for these symptoms to help protect your vehicle and prevent a costlier repair bill.