Top 4 Differences Between Bad Wheel Bearings and Bad CV Joints
How do you know if you have a bad wheel bearing or a bad CV joint? One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between a bad wheel bearing and a bad Constant Velocity (CV) joint is to listen to the noise. But how can you achieve a proper diagnosis if you don’t know the kind of noise that a bad CV joint makes?
Well, your ears will help you indicate if you have a bad wheel bearing or bad CV joint. Bad wheel bearings and CV joints produce noises that differ from each other.
Bad Wheel bearings produce a loud rumbling noise, especially when your wheels roll. On the other hand, bad CV joints produce clicking, clunking noise. The noise can become louder when you are turning.
However, noise diagnosis is not the only way to look out for, this article deals with how to tell the difference between a bad wheel bearing and a bad CV joint!
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How To Tell the Difference Between Bad Wheel Bearing and Bad CV Joint
Here are four easy ways to differentiate between a bad wheel bearing and a bad CV joint.
1. Noise diagnosis
The first way to know if you have a bad wheel bearing or bad CV joint is to check the type of noise they make. The noise diagnosis for this extends to discovering the source of the noise.
Wheel bearings are located at the wheel hub, while CV joints are located at the drive shaft. With the location of these parts, they will produce different noises from different areas.
To tell if you have a bad wheel bearing or bad CV joint, identify if the noise is coming from inside or outside the car. A bad wheel bearing will produce noise from under your vehicle because it emanates from the wheels. Bad CV joints come from outside the car.
Another way to tell is to analyze the type of noise they make. Bad CV joints make clicking noises, while bad wheel bearing produces grinding, rumbling, or growling noises.
2. Understanding the symptoms of a bad wheel bearing
Understanding what happens when a wheel bearing goes out will help determine if it is a bad wheel bearing or a bad CV joint. So how do you diagnose a bad wheel bearing? By simply getting familiar with bad wheel-bearing symptoms.
Many symptoms indicate that you have a bad wheel bearing. Identifying these symptoms is one of the easiest ways to confirm that you have a bad wheel bearing.
Some of the common symptoms of a bad wheel bearing that you should look out for include:
- Unusual noise; grinding, rumbling, or growling noise
- Play in wheels
- Uneven tire wear
- Vibration in steering wheels
3. Understanding the symptoms of a bad CV joint
To tell the difference between a bad wheel bearing and a bad CV joint, you should know what happens if your CV joint goes out. Identifying any common bad CV joint symptoms should tell you that you have a bad CV joint and not a bad wheel bearing.
Some of the common symptoms of a bad CV joint that you should look out for include:
- Popping or clicking noise
- Vibration while driving
- Car pulls to one side
- Wheels stop turning, or the car won’t move
- Grease on the edge of your tires or inside your wheels
4. Effects of driving on both bad elements
Bad CV joints and wheel bearings produce different effects on a car. Driving with a bad wheel bearing will cause your wheels to wobble while driving on a bad CV joint will cause strong vibrations on the wheels.
In extreme cases, a bad CV joint will cause your car to pull to one side because one side of your wheels is losing power. This is because the corresponding wheels or tires are disconnected from the drive axle. In the case of a bad wheel bearing, your steering wheel will vibrate, and there will be uneven tire wear.
Diagnosing a bad wheel bearing can be so confusing that you may assume you have a bad CV joint when you don’t. Now that you can tell the difference between a bad wheel bearing and a bad CV joint, what do you do when your CV joint or wheel bearing fails?
It is important that you slowly take your car off the road, hire a tow truck, and visit a professional mechanic immediately.
Your mechanic will decide the extent of the damage and the perfect solution for the problem. It is important that you do not underestimate failures in your CV joint or wheel bearing. They pose a great danger to you and other road users.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can transmission fluid leak from the CV joint?
Yes. There is a high chance that transmission fluid will leak from your CV joint. This will only happen if you have a bad CV joint and the fault extends to the entirety of your CV axle.
Do wheel bearings lack oil?
Wheel bearings need proper lubrication to handle friction. It is possible that they can lack oil, but this will happen if you fail to lubricate them properly. You must understand that most sealed bearings come with lubricants packed in the bearing seal.
Can a Bad wheel bearing cause the CV axle to go bad?
Yes. Bad wheel bearings can damage the CV joints and axle. The dangers of driving with a bad wheel bearing are not limited to your CV axle; it can damage your steering system and other components in your car. It can compromise the performance of your car and put your life in danger.