Pinion Bearings Noise: Possible Causes and What To Do

Pinion bearings noise often indicates a problem with the bearings. Pinion gear noise is noticeable when you start your car or increase your speed. Often in the form of a humming, growling, or whirring sound, this noise can become severe if left unchecked.

Pinion Bearings Noise Causes and Fixes


Our automobile team discusses the causes of this unwanted noise and provides solutions below.

What Are the Possible Causes of Pinion Bearings Noise?

The possible causes of pinion bearings noise are usually wear, damage from contaminants, misalignment, improper installation, and corrosion. In some cases, this problem can also result from a lack of lubrication, bad driving habits, and excess load on the pinion bearing.

– Excessive Use

Your bearings will wear out and lose their ability to work well due to long-term use. The bearings will give way to wear and tear when you drive your vehicle every day. You will notice the noise when this happens, especially when you speed up or turn your steering wheel.

You may also notice leaks and vibrations, which indicates that your bearings are worn out. If left unchecked, it can lead to overheating and damage to your differential.

– Corrosion

Corrosion is one of the common bad pinion bearing symptoms. Exposure to unfavorable conditions, moisture, and chemicals could lead to a rusty bearing. Also, lack of rotation can lead to corrosion, especially when you haven’t lubricated the bearings in a long time. When this happens, your bearing loses its ability to function as it should.

At this point, your pinion may experience rough rotation due to increased friction. Corrosion may also damage the bearing and essential parts like the flange and wheels. It also increases the risk of wear and tear, which can be expensive and even fatal.

– Not Enough Lubrication

Like other vehicle components, your pinion gear system needs proper lubrication to function. Without it, your bearings will not function as expected, which can increase friction. Inadequate lubrication also causes overheating of your gear system. A humming noise, excessive wear, and damage to the gear teeth are some signs of low lubrication.

– Pinion Bearing Misalignment

Misalignment has various causes and disrupts the performance of your pinion gears. Improper installation, forceful impact, and loose pinion bearing are some major misalignment causes. For instance, a misaligned pinion bearing preload increases the chances of wear.

What Are the Possible Causes of Pinion Bearings Noise

Misaligned bearings also increase vehicular noises and vibration, affecting the car’s performance.Another pinion-bearing symptom that increases noise is gear overheating. You will also notice that your vehicle consumes more energy. Additionally, you may notice your gear grinding and difficulty with your wheel bearing.

– Excess Load

A bearing is designed to support the weight of a crankshaft. If the crankshaft experiences overloading from high RPMs or low lubrication, it can affect the bearing. If you use a bearing with low load ratings for towing or hauling, the chances of damage are high. Excess load increases wear, reduces fuel mileage, and damages your engine.

It can also cause bearings misalignment, gear system damage, overheating, and increased friction. Another obvious symptom of excess load on bearings is tire damage. In severe cases, excess load could damage your drivetrain and make your car unable to start.

– Bad Driving Habits

Another reason for pinion bearing failure is bad driving habits. Constant speeding, sudden braking, or driving roughly over bumps will damage your bearings. The absence of a safe and constant speed overloads your bearings and puts them at risk of damage. These bad driving habits will put pressure on your bearings and damage important components.

Thereafter, you’ll notice differential noise when you turn your steering wheel. Your bearings will likely wear out faster or get damaged, leading to a high repair cost. You may notice your vehicle moves slower, especially when you have other occupants.

– High Temperature

When your differential’s temperature is high, it causes severe problems in the bearings. Your differential is likely to overheat when it lacks enough lubrication or coolant. If your gear components are damaged or worn, it could also result in an increase in temperature. Overloading contributes to high temperatures as well.

Depending on where your bearings are, your front or rear differential could overheat. When this happens, your bearings will likely fall and their metal parts will expand. You’ll also notice a weird bearing sound and unusual vibration whenever you start your car.

– Bearing Brinelling

Brinelling is a permanent indentation that occurs on hard surfaces such as bearings. Its causes include a lack of lubrication, excessive load, or vibration. When your bearings surfaces are indented, it could lead to wear and tear on your front bearing.

You may have to deal with a bad rear axle bearing if your bearing is at the rear differential. Brinelling can also reduce your bearing’s lifespan by damaging it faster than expected.

– Wrong Mounting

Improper mounting of your bearings during installation could spell trouble for your differential. Improper mounting or wrong placement causes wear, especially on the bearing and gear teeth. It causes misalignment, leading to overheating, higher energy consumption, and a whirring noise. Incorrect mounting can also reduce the performance of your gears and cause damage.

– Damage from Contaminants

When you drive often, and in bad road conditions, debris will likely damage your bearings. Your differential will experience abuse from debris, stones, rocks, mud, or even snow. These can get lodged in components of your gear system. If you keep driving in terrible road conditions, the buildup can damage your bearings.

How Can You Fix Bad Pinion Bearings Noise?

You can fix bad pinion bearings noise by lubrication, less use of your car, avoiding corrosive elements, carrying out routine maintenance, and better driving habits. Sometimes, you must resort to consulting a professional for proper installation in order to resolve the problem.

– Reduce Driving

One of the most efficient methods to reduce the chances of having bad pinions is to reduce your driving frequency. Excessive use of your vehicle can reduce the pinion’s quality of performance. Less driving reduces the differential load and eliminates the chance of experiencing noise.

If your bearings already make an irritating sound, reduced driving stops the noise. However, this doesn’t solve the root cause, so you must consult a professional mechanic for a proper diagnosis.

– Avoid Corrosive Elements

Another way you can fix the bad pinion noise is to avoid driving during harsh weather conditions. For instance, rain or snow exposes the belly of your car to salt, toxic chemicals, and moisture. These materials are capable of causing rust to your undercarriage.

How Can You Solve Bad Pinion Bearings Noise

Hence, avoid driving in such conditions to limit the damage to your undercarriage. Additionally, you should always park your vehicle in a cool, dry space. Unfavorable temperatures also aid corrosion, so avoid parking in damp or humid areas.

– Proper Lubrication

Pay attention to proper lubrication if you want to stop noise from your piston bearing. Ensure you lubricate your bearings on a regular basis. Also, make sure you use only high-quality lubricants for your bearings. Consult your owner’s manual or a licensed mechanic to know what type of lubricant is right for your pinions.

Despite what you may think, over-lubricating can cause problems for your gear system. Hence, focusing on your fluid level is best to avoid an imbalance.

– Carry Out Proper Installation

Proper installations go a long way in troubleshooting the problem of noisy bearings. Improper installation is one of the major causes of misalignment and incorrect mounting. This will lead to overheating and wear.

If you’re unsure how to install a bearing, consult a professional rather than doing it yourself. A professional mechanic will do the correct installation to avoid future problems.

– Avoid Overloading

Unless designed for hauling, you should only use your car for towing or transporting a few people. If you must haul heavy items, ensure they fall within the bearing’s capacity. Hence, it would help if you only used bearings with a high load rating for efficiency.

Another way to reduce overloading is to ensure your bearings are the right size. The wrong size can give way to excess weight. Reducing the load on your differential can fix the rear differential noise from damaged bearings.

– Adjust Driving Habits

You may also need to adjust your driving habits to fix the noise problem in your bearings. You should drive with a sense of responsibility and maintain a safe and constant speed. Avoid excessive acceleration or sudden brakes. You should also reduce your foot pressure on the gas pedal and drive with less speed over bumps.

Make use of the cruise control feature whenever you can. Pay attention to your speedometer to ensure you drive at a constant but safe speed.

– Carry Out Routine Maintenance

To fix noisy bearings, perform routine maintenance on your bearing and gear system. Inspect your bearing as often as you can, searching for visible damage. Make sure your bearings are well aligned and not corroded. Make regular adjustments to your bearings where necessary. You don’t have to wait until there’s an issue with your bearing before you service it.

Routine Maintenance of Car

If you haven’t used your vehicle for a while, a lack of rotation can cause your bearing to be noisy when it becomes active. Hence, if your car isn’t in motion, you should continue lubricating your bearings so they don’t get too rusty.

– Repair or Replace Defective Components

If you find worn or damaged parts in your gear system, you should repair or replace them immediately. Depending on the part you are replacing or repairing, you can do it yourself if you have the right tools. You must first lift your vehicle with a lifter to replace your bearings.

After that, you must remove the back axles, flange, propeller, and wheels.Next, use a cutoff tool to remove the pinion-bearing compartment from its cage. Remove the old bearings and cut open a channel in the inner race of the compartment. Place a chisel on the open channel and hammer it.

Use a beaming press to install the new bearings.Reinstall the axles, propeller, flange, and wheels. After that, tighten the pinion nuts and test-drive your vehicle. If no weird noise reoccurs, you have installed your new bearings with success. You may refer to your owner’s manual to locate specific parts during installation.

You should note that replacing bearings can be very technical. It also requires a high level of expertise to avoid complications. We advise that you consult a professional mechanic or service center to do the repairs in time.

Frequently Asked Questions

– How Does Pinion Bearing Noise Sound?

A pinion-bearing noise sounds like a humming, whirring, or grinding sound. It can also be a sputtering or growling sound, especially when your car speed increases. Once you notice this sound, it’s best to let a professional mechanic check your vehicle.

– What Is the Price of a New Pinion Bearing?

The price of a new pinion bearing ranges from $200 to $600, but the replacement cost depends on the brand and model of your car. If the damage is severe and requires the replacement of your drivetrain, it could cost more.

The cost of labor also contributes to the total amount spent on replacement.

– What Is the Average Lifespan of a Pinion Bearing?

The average lifespan of a bearing is between 10 and 12 years. Manufacturers design pinion bearings to last for as long as the car runs. Unfortunately, this is often not the case, especially when they’re not well-maintained. Lack of lubrication, excessive use, and improper installations all reduce a bearing’s lifespan.

– How Do You Lubricate a Pinion Bearing Correctly?

You can lubricate a pinion bearing correctly by adding lubricant when servicing the car. You only need to add a tiny amount of lubricant to the bearings. Then you should turn the wheel bearing to ensure an even distribution of the fluid to all parts of the gear system.

– What Is the Longest You Can Drive With a Noisy Pinion Bearing?

The longest you can drive with a noisy pinion bearing is 1,000 miles to ensure your safety. Driving farther than this can be hazardous because the bearings can fail anytime. Once you have a noisy bearing, it is best to visit a mechanic and let them resolve the problem.

Pinion Bearings Noise Possible Causes and What To Do Conclusion


If you notice weird noises from your bearings, it’s your sign to visit a professional mechanic.

Here’s a quick summary of the key points we’ve discussed in this article:

  • Pinion bearings noise is often caused by low lubrication, misaligned parts, and wrong installation. It can also result from corrosion, overloading, and bearing brinelling.
  • You can fix a noisy bearing by avoiding corrosives and harsh weather, and parking in a dry and cool area.
  • Other solutions include routine maintenance, proper installation, and better driving habits.
  • You should consult experienced mechanics if you hear constant noises from your bearings.

Bearings are vital components of your vehicle. If you notice a shift in its performance, fix it immediately to avoid damage to your drivetrain.

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