How Long Can You Drive With a Bad Wheel Bearing? Essentials

“How long can you drive with a bad wheel bearing?” is commonly asked by car owners. Bad wheel bearings can cause problems and sometimes damage to your vehicle. It can also cost you time, money, and even your safety by driving if you catch this situation.

How Long Can You Drive With a Bad Wheel Bearing

In this guide, you’ll learn about the problem, how long you can keep driving with it, when it’s time to replace the bad wheel bearings, and much more.

How Long Can One Drive on a Bad Wheel Bearing?

One can continue to drive for 500 miles on a bad wheel bearing, but driving with this is not recommended for an extended period. The longer a bad wheel bearing goes unrepaired, the more damage it can cause to the vehicle and the more dangerous it can become to drive.

So, if you suspect that you have a bad wheel bearing, it is crucial to have it inspected by a professional and repaired as soon as possible by a qualified mechanic. The wheel bearing should be replaced as soon as it has been diagnosed as faulty.

Generally, it is best to have your wheel bearings inspected during regular maintenance and checkups; this way, you can catch any wear or damage before it becomes a severe problem.

– Wheel Bearing Lifespan

The average lifespan of a wheel is 50,000 to 150,000 miles. However, some wheels can go up to 200,000 miles or more.

Wheel Bearing Lifespan

This can change depending on the actual size of your vehicle, how often you drive and how well you maintain it.

For example, if you don’t clean them regularly or use a wheel cleaner, they could last less than 50,000 miles.

– Cost of Replacement

Wheel bearing replacement costs can range from free to several hundred dollars, depending on your vehicle’s make and model and the location of the repair shop you take it to. On average, replacing a wheel bearing can range from $200 to $500 per wheel.

However, the cost can go up to $1000 or more if the damage has spread to other parts of the vehicle or if it’s a luxury car.

What Are Some Risks of Driving With a Bad Wheel Bearing?

Some risks of driving with a bad wheel bearing include damaging the vehicle’s steering system or tires, which can lead to an accident. Driving safely should always be your top priority. Thus, faulty wheel bearings pose a severe risk to drivers.

The following are also risks you take when driving on damaged wheel bearings:

– Increased Risk of Accidents

Because a faulty wheel bearing can cause the wheel to lock up or the vehicle to pull to one side, it can significantly increase the likelihood of accidents and collisions.

Make sure you get a bad wheel bearing fixed as soon as possible to avoid road accidents.

– Damaged Tire or Other Vehicle Components

Another thing that can happen when you have a bad wheel bearing is increased wear on your tires and brakes. The reason for this is that when the bearings are worn out, they will not be able to support the weight of your car correctly.

Damaged Tire or Other Vehicle Components

This means more pressure will be put on other parts of your car, such as your tires and brakes. If this continues for too long, it could permanently damage these parts and cause expensive replacements.

– Reduced Fuel Efficiency

A lousy bearing can cause your vehicle to lose between 2 and 4 percent of its fuel efficiency. This may seem like a little, but it increases over time. It also means that you will be paying more at the pump.

What Are Some Signs and Symptoms of a Bad Wheel Bearing?

Some signs and symptoms of a bad wheel bearing include wheel grinding noises, steering wheel or vehicle vibration, difficulties in turning the vehicle, and dashboard warning lights coming on. These are tell-tale signs that you should bring your vehicle in for an expert evaluation.

Here is a list of essential warning signs that could indicate that your wheel bearing is failing:

– Wheel Grinding Noise

If you hear a bearing noise from your vehicle when turning or driving over bumps, it could indicate that your wheel bearings need replacing.

This sound is caused by friction between the bearings and other components within the hub assembly and excessive play between these parts.

– Steering Wheel or Vehicle Vibration

A slight vibration in your steering while driving can also signify that something isn’t right with your wheel bearings.

Steering Wheel or Vehicle Vibration

A bearing failure will cause roughness and vibration in the steering while driving, especially at high speeds or during hard turns.

– Vehicle Turning Difficulty

A worn-out bearing will also affect your vehicle’s ability to turn corners quickly and smoothly. It reduces rotational speed and causes excessive friction between the hub and the wheel assembly.

This can result in difficulty steering around corners at low speeds, such as when parking, or making it hard to continue driving straight after turning right or left onto another road or street.

– Dashboard Warning Light

If there is a problem with your bearing, a light on the dashboard will alert you to it. If this happens to you, you should check your bearings as soon as possible.

What Are the Common Causes of Bad Wheel Bearings?

The common causes of bad wheel bearings include lack of lubrication, overloading, or a repairing issue. As we can see, many things can cause your vehicle’s wheel bearings to go bad or get broken. Make sure you are aware of these causes so that you can avoid them.

Common Causes of Bad Wheel Bearings

Here are some of the most prevalent causes.

– Lack of Lubrication

The most common cause is a lack of lubrication. This can be due to a failure in the bearing itself or because the lubricant has been contaminated with water damage or dirt.

When this happens, the bearings will wear down and start making noise while driving.

– Overloading

The second common cause of faulty bearings is overloading your vehicle with too much weight. This can cause damage to the axle and wheel hub, which will then lead to a bad wheel bearing.

– Repairing Issue

Another reason for bearings is an improper repair job done by an unskilled mechanic. In many cases, mechanics will remove the old bearing only to reuse it without changing out all the other parts that were also damaged during removal.

For example, if you have worn-out ball joints or tire wear, they should be replaced simultaneously with your bearings because they’ll continue to cause problems until they are correctly fixed.


Knowing how long you can drive with a bad wheel bearing is essential, because a poor wheel bearing can have severe consequences for the safety and performance of your vehicle.

In conclusion, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • A bad bearing can cause the wheel to wobble or vibrate, making it harder to control the vehicle and increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Regular inspections and maintenance and avoiding excessive speed and harsh driving conditions can help prevent a bad wheel bearing.
  • It’s essential to address a bad wheel bearing as soon as possible to avoid these risks and ensure safe and smooth vehicle operation.
  • The cost of replacing your wheel bearing can change depending on the make and model of your vehicle, and it’s essential to use high-quality aftermarket parts.

It’s essential to understand the signs of a bad wheel bearing, such as a noisy wheel, vibration while driving, wheel bearing noise, or difficulty steering. When you experience any of these instances, change the wheel bearing immediately.

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