I've noticed an increase of road noise while driving my car and I'm wondering if it might be the wheel bearing. I think it's coming from one of the rear wheels.

Is there a way to identify and confirm if a wheel bearing is worn, and therefore in need of replacement?


3 Answers 3


Easy way to check is remove each wheel, and rotate the disc. If you can remove the disc as well to get closer to the hub that would be even better. If the bearing rotates but not smoothly (i.e. having a sandy/grainy feeling) then that is likely the culprit. This is how I was able to track down a worn rear wheel bearing on my car.


Another way is to jack up (and support) the car, then attempt to shake the wheel. Hold it at top and bottom and try and shake it vertically, then repeat horizontally. There should be very little, if any, play in it.

As Dude318is says, a grainy feeling when rotating is another way to tell.

  • Give it a good solid shake on the ground without even jacking it up first. If it clicks, it's either bad, or it's a VW (not sure why, but the rears on VW always seem to have play, even when new). Bad bearings are typically detectable with the ground shake before they even become noisy. By the time they get noisy, they're normally is REALLY bad shape... Jun 2, 2011 at 17:44

To identify a worn bearing, raise your car, run it, and put a scope etc. on the hub. The weight of the front end will produce different noise, with the car in the air. Jack it up, Use a screwdriver, and have a friend spin the wheel, while you listen on the hub. If its bad you'll hear it.


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