Wheel bearings are basically a circle of rings that are being used to hold the wheels with the vehicles. And a wheel bearings seal is a product that protects the wheel from getting dirt and debris that may make your wheel bearings go bad.
You should never go on a drive while having bad bearings, let alone go on a trip. And it is probably not possible for a few people to replace them regularly, so they must use a protector to keep the bearings on the go for a longer time.
Here in this article, we will discuss what you should check for wheel bearing seals and how wheel bearings work.
What is a Wheel Bearing?
Wheel bearings refer to a pair of steel balls that are held together by a ring made of metal, and this metal ring is known as a race. Wheel bearings are responsible for the wheel spinning fast with as little friction as possible. You will find wheel bearings in all types of vehicles such as bicycles to cars, including aircraft, as it helps the wheel to roll on the road.
A wheel bearing runs on a metal axle shaft, and they shut tightly into the hub. The hub is like a hollow chunk at the middle of the wheel made of metal. The hub carries the lug bolts that are being used to bolt the tire. The wheel bearings are basically pressed from the back inside the hub.
How Does a Wheel Bearing Work?
The whole concept behind the bearing is pretty straightforward, and you won’t be able to move your car’s wheel if you don’t have bearings or bad bearings. There are many ways you can identify if you have bad wheel bearings or not.
Cars can’t move without good bearings because wheels can’t produce friction to roll over. Wheel bearings generally need to deal with two types of loading such as thrust and radial. Which bearing your car is using depends on where it’s being used. You may only have thrust loading or radial loading, while few car models include both loadings.
Radial loads are mostly used in the bearings that are located in the electrical motor and the pulley. In this scenario, the majority of the loads that bearings are having comes from the tension by connecting the two pulleys in the belt.
And the bearing in the stool has thrust load, and they work like barstools. They are filled with thrust loads, and all these loads are coming from the weight of the person who is sitting over the stool. And the bearings that are located in the car’s wheel contain both radial and thrust loads.
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What are The Types of Wheel Bearings?
You will find a few different types of wheel bearings available in the market. And all of these various kinds of bearing come with different purposes. The below-mentioned bearings are the most common wheel bearings that are being used in the cars:
One of the widely used wheel bearings is probably these ball bearings. Ball bearings can be found in every place, even on hard drives. These types of bearings are eligible to handle both mentioned loads. And they are usually located in places where loads of radial and thrust are pretty small.
A load of radial and thrust are coming from the outer race in the ball, and then it reverses back from the inner race in the ball bearings system.
The ball in the bearings is a sphere; that’s why they only can contact the inner and the outer race at a small load. Besides, it also dedicates that the load doesn’t have a much larger contact area. So when the bearings are overloaded, the car can still run the bearing as the balls can deform.
Roller bearings are used in places like conveyor belt rollers, where they can bear a heavy radial load. In roller bearings, the roller itself is like a cylinder; that’s, the contact between the outer and inner race is like a line, not a point.
It helps the road to spread over a large area which lets the bearings handle much greater loads than the ball bearings can handle. However, these roller bearings are unable to handle heavy thrust bearings.
There is another type of bearing called needle bearings; both of these bearings work almost similarly. Both needle and roller bearings use cylinders that are very small in diameter. It helps the bearings to fit tightly into the place.
Ball Thrust Bearing
Ball thrust bearings are widely used for low-speed applications. These types of bearings are great for handling thrust bearing and can’t bear heavy radial load.
Thrust Bearing of Roller
Thrust bearings of the roller are designed for supporting much thrust loads in the car’s wheel. Roller thrust bearings are often located in gear sets such as car transmissions amidst gear. These bearings come with helical bearings, which is mainly responsible for why roller thrust bearings can handle heavy thrust.
Tapered Roller Bearings
Tapered roller bearings are great and are usually used for wheels that need to handle both large radial and thrust loads equally. These bearings are technically used in the hub of the car. And they are designed by facing towards the opposite directions to make it handle the thrust load in both ways.
What Should Wheel-Bearing Seals be Checked for?
A seal is an essential part of the wheel bearings, and it should always be installed. It helps the sealing lip to face the fluid in order to be sealed. The reason behind creating the lip is applying pressure on the wet side of the lip, and it will help to expand the pressure that the shaft receives from the lip.
In case the seal in your car has been set in backward, the pressure will be applied to the wrong place, and it will bring leakage as a result. You will get the right side in most of the seals, while few don’t have it.
You will find two protection for your bearings, and they are shields and seals. Shields are metallic, and they don’t perform any contact between the shield bore and the bearing ring (inner ring). While seals can provide you better protection for your bearings as they can increase in rotation torque due to friction.
The most important thing that you should keep checking daily is whether there are any leaks or not. In case you detect any leakage on the seal, fix it immediately.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Can you reuse wheel-bearing seals?
Seals protect the wheel bearings from dirt, water, and debris. But seals will only work properly when it is installed correctly with the bearings. Suppose you have a seal that you want to reuse, clean, and check whether you can use them or not. If you see they are not eligible to reuse, please consider buying a new one to replace them.
Which way does a wheel bearing seal go in?
Seals are a better option to protect the wheel bearings than shields. And they should always be installed in a direction where they will face the fluids. The seal basically applies pressure from the west side of the seal that allows the pressure to increase and apply to the shaft. If you keep the seal installed properly, your wheel bearings will remain good for a long time.
How do you remove wheel-bearing seals?
There are quite a few ways that you can follow to remove the wheel-bearing seals. But the most common and standard way of removing the inner wheel bearing seals is to take them out from the front. You use a wooden dowel against the inner wheel bearings to remove the seals. Well, don’t worry if the seal gets damaged or breaks; you will replace them with a new seal anyway. All you need to do is remove the seal from the bearings, and a little finesse may require.
How do I know if my wheel bearing needs replacing?
If your car is making noises, then it is probably because your car is experiencing bad wheel bearings. You may notice that your car is making sounds like squealing or growling; it’s the signs of having bad bearings. If the car’s wheel wobble or ABS get failed, here your car is telling you that it is experiencing bad wheel bearings. Another common symptom of bad bearing is the vibration on the steering wheel.
So if you own a car and see that the wheel bearings are acting up, then make sure you take your car to your local area garage. We would suggest you not drive the car before you fix the particular issue with your wheel bearings. You never know how far you will be able to go with the bad bearing. Besides, bearings are what holds the wheels of the car, so you may encounter a big accident while driving with a bad bearing.