This answer suggests that a driver can destroy the wheel bearings by hitting a curb.

Is it possible for this to happen without also damaging the rims? A car hits bumps on the road all the time, with no damage to the wheel bearings, and so one would assume that for the bearings to be damaged, the bump would have to be so significant that the rims also would show the effect.

  • Yes, wheel bearings can be destroyed without any signs on the rim: The bearing is constantly put under stress, and will eventually wear. Any little shock has a negative impact on the bearing, i ve seen it on my scooter: the rims look brand new (it has got 5.000km on the odometer), but the bearing is damaged: it oscilates a bit and makes a weird, specific noise, that you can't miss. My bearing got premature wear from riding it on country roads (no asphalt). You can check the bearing yourself. My motorcycle had similar symptomps but in her case, the wheel needed proper alignment. Jul 21, 2017 at 9:04
  • I went to Costco for a tire rotation. A rumbling noise appeared immediately after. It's unnerving that the driver from the parking lot to the shop hit a curb, damaged the wheel bearings, and didn't bother to declare it.
    – Calaf
    Jul 21, 2017 at 9:19
  • It happens. People are too lazy (or too proud) to admit that they made mistakes. Jul 21, 2017 at 9:21
  • It's very unlikely that costco damaged your car. Mechanics aren't all out to get you man.
    – cory
    Jul 21, 2017 at 13:55

2 Answers 2


Yes, the force on the rim is spread over a relatively large area, that same force is acting on a much smaller area on the bearing so yes it can easily be damaged without damage showing on the rim or tyre.


Highly unlikely. Since New Departure developed a certain heat-treatment ( in the 50's), wheel bearing life has been very long; consider how many bumps a bearing gets in 100,000 miles with no problem. Certainly they do fail but I would look at factors like Oldsmobile used under-size rear wheel bearings on the Cutlass around 1970. The last wheel bearing I put in was a 1985 Pontiac, and I have hit a lot of bumps since then ( I hate to admit I smashed 2 aluminum wheels .)

  • Unclear. What is highly unlikely? You're saying that hitting a curb is highly unlikely to destroy modern bearings; is that right? I was taking it for granted that some level of hitting a curb must damage the bearings. It's just a question of how much. And I was asking whether the rim would have surely been also damaged in the process.
    – Calaf
    Jul 22, 2017 at 1:14

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