You already know that your car cannot function properly without sturdy and good wheels. But what you may not know is that there are several components that make your wheels dependable and tough. For example, a Ford f150 wheel bearing is crucial for ensuring your wheels work together. This is especially true for your hub, tire, and assembly to work in perfect harmony.
Besides, wheel bearings make sure that there is no friction in the movement of the hub, allowing your wheels and tires to rotate smoothly. Just like any other automotive part, wheel bearings are also prone to wear and tear, so you need to replace them during the lifespan of your vehicle. This article discusses everything you should know about Ford F-150 wheel bearings.
Signs indicating that you need to replace Ford F-150 wheel bearing
Wheel bearings in Ford F-150 are considered to be one of the most important and stressed components. This is because they can cause the wheels to rotate easily while absorbing high radial and axial forces. It can be dangerous to drive your F-150 with defective wheel bearings, so you need to act right away for your driving comfort and safety.
One of the most common signs of a bad wheel bearing in your Ford F-150 is grinding or humming noise. Humming or grinding noise in the F-150’s cabin coming from the wheel that is affected can be the sign of a bad wheel bearing. The humming noise gets louder when you drive faster. Damage to the wheel bearing can be hard to notice in the early stages because the noise is barely noticeable. But the noise tends to build up over time, which can usually be after a couple of hundred miles.
A bad wheel bearing can also cause vibrations in the F-150’s steering wheel, especially if the front wheel is affected. On the other hand, if it’s just the rear wheel bearing that is defective, then the vibration is usually felt under the seats.
You should note that steering wheel vibration is often caused by unbalanced wheels. Therefore, it can be a bad wheel bearing if the vibrations are accompanied by grinding or humming noise.
During an advanced stage of internal decline, the defective wheel bearing may cause clunking or knocking noises, especially when cornering or turning your Ford F-150. But these noises can also happen because of some problems in steering or suspension system components. Therefore, it can be a bad wheel bearing only if the car has grinding or humming noise as well as play in the wheel.
If you see that the tires of the Ford F-150 are wearing unevenly, such as losing more treads on the inside, this can be associated with a bad wheel bearing. This is because it tends to disturb the car’s alignment.
You can also notice a defective wheel veering when there is a lot of play. In such cases, you have to jack up the Ford F-150 so that the wheel can move more freely. You can then take hold of the wheel with your hands at the opposite sides and press and pull alternately. If the play is clearly noticeable, there is a good chance that the wheel bearing is defective. But this method needs some experience as well as a practiced grip.
You should note that a bad wheel bearing can be hard to turn using your hand when the car is jacked up. You can also hear a grinding noise when you turn the wheel. Also, there is a play in the wheel just like the wheel is incorrectly fitted or even loose.
Replacing the defective wheel bearing
It’s a good idea to change the second wheel bearing that is on the same axle regardless of whether or not it’s just one defective wheel bearing. In most cases, both wheel bearings can be subjected to the same stress and the failure of the second wheel bearing is usually imminent. Therefore, you can save money and time when you replace both wheel bearings.
By now you may be wondering what may cause the wheel bearings to fail. Well, even if you drive your Ford F-150 in a straight line, the wheel bearings tend to absorb high radial forces. This means that the whole weight of the car rests on these wheel bearings. When you are driving, the speed can create extra forces. And, if you drive through a curve, axial forces can occur. High impacts on the wheel bearings can also happen on uneven roads or even when you drive through potholes. Hence, wheel bearings eventually fail.
There is often high friction when the bearing rotates. Therefore, the internal components should be lubricated with lubricants like oil or grease to prevent overheating. Remember that the Ford F-150’s wheel bearings are designed to be maintenance-free. But you need to use grease filling so that there is enough lubrication of the rolling components over the whole service life of your wheel bearings.
There are elaborately designed seals to make sure that neither dirt nor water can get into the wheel bearing. However, if the seal has a fault, dirt and water can get inside the wheel bearing and affect the lubricant. As a result, these contaminants move throughout the grease as well as between the bearings and the races to enhance the wear rate. The increased heat can break down and expel the lubricant, which leads to premature failure of the wheel bearings.
It’s usually not safe to drive your Ford F-150 with bad wheel bearings. It’s worth mentioning that a wheel bearing is placed within the wheel hub. It’s designed to connect the wheel to the car. Therefore, if you choose to drive your Ford F-150 that has a bad wheel bearing for a couple of months, there is a chance that the wheel may lock up as you are driving or fall off. Hence, you need to replace a bad wheel bearing right away you notice that there are some signs of a bad bearing. Fortunately, there are many suppliers of Ford F-150 wheel bearings on the market.