6 Common Symptoms Of A Bad Wheel Hub

For driving any car safely, the wheel and its components need to be healthy and sturdy at all times. The wheel hub of a car keeps the wheels perfectly attached to the car and helps it rotate smoothly. However, this wheel hub also goes through a huge amount of damage over time.

Damaged and bad wheel hubs put the entire car at high risk. Without proper tending to a bad wheel hub, the wheel can even fall off while driving. 

In order to avoid this kind of situation, you need to be perfectly aware of the symptoms of a bad wheel hub. In this article, you will find all the information you need about a bad wheel hub.

Symptoms Of A Bad Wheel Hub

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Wheel Hub?

The signs and symptoms of a bad wheel hub might differ depending on the severity of the damage to it. You need to keep an eye out for any of the symptoms below to pinpoint that you have a damaged wheel hub.

Unusual Roaring Noises Coming From The Wheels

The first and foremost sign of a bad wheel hub is the sound emitted from the wheels. 

These noises come mainly from the wheel bearings inside the wheel hub. Some of the types of sound you can hear are-

Humming Noise- The first symptom will be a constant humming sound that will eventually get louder and high pitched.

Squealing and Howling Noise– Due to lack of lubrication after the oil inside dries up, the metal parts cause this sound with friction between them.

Clicking Noise– The clicking sound is like a metal ball hitting the wheel while driving.  

Grinding Noise- It will sound like metals grinding together loudly due to mechanical damage. This indicates total failure of the wheel hub. 

Wheels Vibrate or Wobble Abnormally

A vibrating wheel is pretty hard to miss while driving a car. The wheel bearing inside the hub might get loose for some reason. 

As a result, the attachment of the entire wheel becomes unstable and wobbles around. 

The vibration of the wheels starts at a low speed. Once you accelerate, change speed or turn corners, the wheel starts vibrating even more noticeably. 

If you notice that any of the four wheels of your car is vibrating, your wheel hub might be bad.

Loose Steering Wheel

Loose Driving
Loose Driving

Another clear symptom of a bad wheel hub is the loosening of the steering wheel. The entire wheel assembly becomes loose because of a bad wheel bearing and affects the steering wheel similarly as well. 

With this, the car gets harder to control as the steering won’t be as sharp and responsive anymore. 

While making turns, the loose steering wheel will provide belated responses which might lead to accidents. 

Uneven Tire Wear

Uneven Tire Wear
Uneven Tire Wear

You will soon notice the uneven tire wear symptoms if you have a habit of checking out your tires regularly. 

Due to the loose bearings, the wheels tend to move around unevenly and unsteadily. Therefore, the wear on the wheels also becomes uneven.

Brake Pad Wearing Unevenly

A clear symptom of the bad wheel hub is the brake pad wearing prematurely. The loose wheel components turn unsteadily in the wheel hub. 

Due to this wheel play, the brake pad starts wearing over time. Thus, uneven brake pad can be a huge symptom for your bad wheel hub. 

Pulling Of The Car During Brakes

This is a dangerous symptom of the bad wheel hub as it makes the driver lose control of the car abruptly. 

Since the wheels become unbalanced because of a bad wheel hub, it pulls the car to one side. 

When you press on the brake, the entire car gets pulled to just one side instead of slowing down linearly. 

ABS Malfunction


The ABS is the Anti-lock Braking System of a car which is connected to a wheel speed sensor. 

Due to the sensor being located in the wheel hub, malfunction in the hub also affects the ABS. 

The sensor won’t be able to work because of the unplanned vibrations and wobbling. So, the ABS lights will turn on and notify that the ABS is malfunctioning.

Possible Causes Of Bad Wheel Hub

There are a few specific reasons for which the wheel hub could get damaged prematurely. 

Most of the causes relate to the driving condition, terrain and the installation of the wheel hub. 

  • Driving through deep water or mud 
  • Corrosion of the metal parts of wheel hub
  • Driving on rough, rocky roads full of potholes
  • Salt and dirt getting inside the wheel hub
  • Bearing overweight loads
  • Wrong installation of the wheel hub
  • Misalignment of the wheel hub components
  • Uneven and Imbalanced tires
  • Low quality metal wheel bearings inside the wheel hub

Replacement and Repair Costs of a Bad Wheel Hub

The cost of replacement and repair costs will vary depending on the type of wheel hub and its quality. But keep in mind that it will definitely go up to a hundred dollars on average. 

Wheel Hub Part TypeParts costLabour cost
Front Wheel Bearing (2WD)$30-$60(cheap)$ 140 to $220(premium)$80-$100
Front Wheel Bearing (4WD)$30-$60(cheap)$ 140 to $220(premium)$80-$160
Rear Wheel Bearing$125 and $350$80-$200
Wheel bearing for one side$130 to $ 220$80-$100
Entire Wheel Hub$295 to $381$112 to $141
DIY wheel hub $295 to $381              –

Tips For Maintaining The Wheel Hub To Prevent Future Failures

Keep in mind that maintenance is always better than repairs. Taking good care of the wheel hub of your beloved car will allow you to have a safe and smooth experience for a long time. 

Some simple things that you need to keep an eye on in order to prevent future failures of the wheel hub are listed below.

  • Make sure to install the wheel bearings inside the wheel hub properly.
  • Avoid misalignments of the bearings and axle nuts.
  • Inspect the wheel interiors for rust and clear out any corrosion.
  • Keep the wheel hub clean of accumulating any dirt, debris or water.
  • Check for correct torque after a tire rotation.
  • Adequately lubricate the joints of the wheel hub.
  • Avoid hitting any potholes.
  • Maintain an even and balanced tire wear by rotating each tire 
  • Apply the correct lug nut torque 
  • Tighten the nuts an adequate amount
  • Do not overload the car.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In this section, you’ll find answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding a wheel hub of a car. If you have any other questions left in mind, take a look at this part to gain your answers.

How Long Do Wheel Bearings In Wheel Hub Last?

The lifespan of wheel bearings mainly depends on the quality and driving conditions of the specific car. On average, wheel bearings will last about 85,000-100,000 miles of driving. It will take around 7 to 10 years to reach this kind of mileage for a normal car. 

Is It Safe To Drive A Car With A Bad Wheel Hub?

No, it is not safe to drive a car with a bad wheel hub. The damaged wheel hub eventually affects the suspension and transmission. It can make the wheels fall off while driving which will lead to extreme risk of a serious accident. So, it is a major safety hazard.

How Does A Bad Wheel Hub Affect The Car?

A bad wheel hub will directly affect the health of the wheel. The wheels will wear out faster and unevenly along with the brake pads. The steering wheel will become loose and lousy. The car will lose the ability to use the ABS. 

How To Check For A Bad Wheel Hub?

To check whether or not you have a bad wheel hub, you need to put the car in jack stands first. Grab the tires at the top and bottom and then move them back and forth in opposite directions. If the wheel moves around doing this, it has a huge amount of play which happens due to a bad wheel hub.

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