Bearing Failure

Posted by & filed under Parts Department, service, Trucker's Tips.

No driver ever wants to experience a wheel runoff. Experiencing a wheel runoff is not only costly in both maintenance and driver downtime, but could be potentially life threatening to the driver and those he is sharing the road with.  

A wheel runoff will happen because the hub and wheel bearing assembly has failed. Failure is usually caused by either lack of lubrication (which causes excessive heat), overloading (which causes lack of lubrication because of the excess weight), the axle nut is too tight (which, again, causes lack of lubrication) or the axle nut is too loose (which will allow for unnecessary movement causing bearing wear and further looseness).

The good news is that hub failures gradually develop over time with signs and symptoms showing up prior to a major event happening. While out on the road, there are preventative measures that can be taken to avoid these failures. Here’s what you need to know:

Pre-Trip Inspection

When conducting your pre-trip inspection, there are signs of wear and tear that can be notice. During your walk around pay particular attention to the following areas:

  • Low oil level in the hub cap sight glass.
  • Burnt or discolored hub cap sight glass.
  • Oil leakage on the outside of the wheel hub or tire.
  • Oil spiral or swirl patterns on the hub or tire’s surface.
  • The hub cab is extremely hot.
  • Abnormal tire wear.  

Warning Signs While Driving

An alert and aware driver can notice bearing damage while driving. If you feel or notice any of the following symptoms, stop immediately to investigate further:

  • Increased fuel costs.
  • Wheel noise.
  • Wheel vibration.
  • Wheel wobble.
  • Smoking wheel end.
  • Wheel lock-up.
  • Increased stopping distance.
  • Decreased braking power.
  • Side pull when brakes are engaged.
  • Abnormal steering wheel feedback.

If warning signs are ignored and proper wheel inspections are not performed, you can expect higher maintenance costs and an increased risk of wheel separation. In addition to drivers being prepared and knowledgeable for what to look for in bearing failure, regular maintenance and inspections by a certified mechanic is going to help catch bearing issues as well as save you time and money in the long run.

At North Dixie Truck and Trailer, Our maintenance department is fully certified and experienced to make sure a thorough inspection and maintenance is performed on your big rig. Call our maintenance department today at 419-221-3750 to schedule an appointment today.

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