Some of the hub bearings are making a noise and sound ready for a change, however, the noise is more mechanical and is spread via the chassis, making it very difficult to understand where exactly it's coming from.

Is there any way to determine which one, or more, of the 4 hub bearings is (are) due for a change?

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2 Answers 2


Since when a wheel bearing goes bad you can feel it more than you can hear it, and there usually isn't any deflection in the wheel itself until the bearing is pretty much shot, the way I usually check for the bad bearing is with an automotive stethoscope:

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What I do is this:

  • Put the car up on jack stands
  • Take the wheel off of the car (if you need to loosen the wheel before jacking, do so)
  • Place the stethoscope tip on knuckle (the portion the wheel bearing is inside of)

NOTE: You may need to take the caliper and rotor off of the hub to get a clear shot at the knuckle

  • Turn the hub and listen

When you are listening, you should be able to tell pretty quickly if it has the bad bearing or not. It will sound crunchy as you are turning it. A good bearing should sound relatively smooth as you turn the hub. You'll want to perform the same to both sides. You may be able to tell a difference, but there's always the chance that both sides need bearings.

  • I'll try it following your procedure, but instead of stethoscope I'll think of the simplest possible circuit using: microphone and multimeter.
    – Ziezi
    May 21, 2015 at 17:15
  • Even simpler is getting a long screwdriver and pressing the metal tip on the item you want to listen to and the handle on your ear...
    – Mauro
    Mar 25, 2016 at 9:05

There are many very technical diagnostic methods involving chassis mics etc ... All the years I worked as a mechanic I just took the car to an open lot and made tight circles to the left and right to put a load onto one side at a time, you should hear the difference while under load like this and be able to determine which ones need replacement.

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