Do Wheel Bearings Affect Brakes?
As a car owner or technician, a recurring question has been about the mechanism of wheel bearings versus brakes and how they affect each other. But do wheel bearings affect brakes?
The truth is, the wheel bearings do affect the brakes! The brake rotors are directly aligned to the wheel bearings, so it is not strange for them to affect the brakes.
There are great chances that your brake rotors will wobble if you have a bad or loose wheel bearing. Sometimes, the wheel bearings might not directly impact the brakes, but their influence on the wheels affects the performance of the brakes.
From wheel bearing installation to wheel bearing play, the wheel bearing will affect the brakes. Should there be an exact way to install a wheel bearing? Yes.
Will the wrong installation cause problems with the brakes? Yes.
Let’s guide you through all you need about wheel bearings and brakes to help you make informed decisions.
Table of Contents
How Wheel Bearings Affect Brakes
Yes. Wheel bearings affect the brakes in more ways than you can imagine. The wheel bearing can cause the brake rotors to tire, pushing the caliper piston into its bore. This can trigger a low brake pedal.
A lot of times, one of the major causes of a low brake pedal is bad wheel bearing. This is usually a cause that most mechanics avoid.
When a bad wheel bearing influences the wobbling of the rotors, pushing the piston back to the caliper causes a bad operation in the brake pedal.
When the piston is pushed far back into the caliper housing, mechanics usually misplace this for a master cylinder. But the truth is, this is typically the cause of a bad wheel bearing.
Sometimes, the wheel bearing affects the brakes by influencing the position of the wheels. When the wheels loosen, they will wobble anytime it rotates.
Because the brake rotor is attached to the wheels, the wobbling will push the rotor far from the brake pad. This will make the brake pad travel longer than usual to contact the rotor.
Can a Bad Wheel Bearing Cause Brakes To Lock Up?
No. A bad wheel bearing cannot cause the brakes to lock up. However, there are cases where a bad wheel bearing causes the rear wheels to lock up.
This is because the wheel bearing is worn out or has failed to the extent that the wheel hub is affected. In the cases of brake lockups, a brake caliper can lock up the brake rotor and not the wheel bearing.
Can Wheel Bearing Cause Brake Vibration?
Yes. Wheel bearing causes brake vibration. The brake rotor is directly connected to the wheel bearings. Any slight changes, faults, or issues on the wheel bearing will reflect on the brakes.
When the wheel bearings are worn, the wheels become loose, instituting a play on the wheels, which can cause a vibration when you hit the brakes. This does not mean that the brake pads will start vibrating under your feet.
The bad wheel bearing will cause a vibration in the wheel region close to the brakes. You can notice the acceleration when you drive or try to accelerate.
What Happens When a Wheel Bearing Goes Bad?
There are a lot of things that happen when a wheel bearing goes bad. Understanding what happens when a wheel bearing goes bad will help you figure out how dangerous it is to drive on a bad wheel bearing.
Here are some major things that happen when a wheel bearing goes bad.
- Vibrations on the steering wheel
- Loose car Handling
- Loss of grip on steering wheel
- Poor drive precision
- Unusual noise from your wheels
- Wobbling wheels
- Uneven wear of your tires
Wheel bearings affect the brakes, but it’s just that many car users ignore its impact. You must understand that some of the problems that your brakes have can be the impact of the wheel bearing on the brakes.
The damage from the wheel bearing is not limited to the brakes but also the wheel hub or CV joints.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a bad wheel bearing cause grinding when braking?
Yes, a bad wheel bearing can cause grinding when braking! A bad wheel bearing will cause a “play” in your wheels, causing them to wobble when it spins. This will cause runouts in the rotor, leading to brake pad wear. This can cause grinding when braking or push your car to one side when you hit the brake pads.
Can a bad wheel bearing cause brakes to squeak?
A bad wheel bearing might not cause the brakes to squeak, but it can significantly influence the wheels. This can cause squeaking, growling, or rumbling noise from the wheels—sounds that are mostly mistaken for a worn tire.
How long do wheel bearings last?
Wheel bearings last up to 75,000 to 150,000 miles. The life span of the wheel bearing depends on how well you maintain them and the driving conditions they are subjected to. The lifespan of the wheel bearing is also determined by the type of wheel bearing you are using and the type of vehicle in which they are installed.
Do wheel bearings have anything to do with brakes?
Yes, wheel bearings have a lot of things to do with the brakes. Wheel bearings are tightly aligned to your brake rotors. This makes it easy for the wheel bearing to influence the performance of your brake rotors.
Are wheel bearings part of the brakes?
Yes, wheel bearings are integral parts of your brake system. They are positioned in alignment with the wheels and rotors. If the wheel bearings are bad, the brakes are affected.
Can bad wheel bearings damage rotors?
Yes, wheel bearings can damage the rotors. The wheel bearing can cause wobbling of the brake rotors, causing damage to the rotors. The damage can start with stiffness and reduced performance. However, it will take a lot of ignorance for the problem to extend to rotor damage.