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Average Life Span of a Wheel Bearing?


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#1 Anakha56

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 08:25 AM

Morning all,

So I took my car in to get a noise investigated and it turns out my rear left wheel is making a "clanking" noise at high rpm and when it slows down. The mechanic believes this to be the rear bearing, now the reason for my asking about the average life span is because on the 27.07.09 I had that same bearing replaced. Now I travel +- 100km's a day so to my way of thinking it should have lasted longer correct?

Just wanting to know what you guys think, will check replies when I wake up :).

*edit: Car specs are '98 Daewoo Lanos 1.6SX

Edited by Anakha56, 06 October 2009 - 08:26 AM.

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#2 Takumi

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 08:53 AM

wow,, less than 3 months old. that's impossible for a new bearing to normally fail. or an very unlikely, but not impossible, coincidence.
However, when a bearing fails, it doesnt fail in a digital sense: fine now, totally dead the next sec. It's generally a gradual process. Even without dust caps or lube, bearings can run for a pretty long time before failure. Does depend on the type of a bearing, but a wheel bearing tends to be of the beefier variety. So, since they fail gradually, other knock on effects start occuring: wheels wobble, shafts wobble, play between bearing seat and bearing etc. These lead to minute increases in clearances that often increase the likelihood of premature failure of the new bearing.
A bearing mounted incorrectly can also lead to premature failure
the roads you drive on can have a big impact on bearing life as potholes and rough uneven surfaces speeds up the wear on the bearing.

but within 3 months? that's damn quick. Start with what type of bearing the original was replaced with. Ensure it's the correct type of bearing for the application as intended by the manufacturer. A quick call to a Daewoo service center will get you that info. Or google it ;)
Also check the brand. Good brands are numerous eg SKF, Timken, NSK, FAG inter alia.
Next, the bearing location needs to be checked. Bearings must be fitted according to a spec: press fit, slip fit.. etc If that requirement cant be met, then the shaft on which the bearing sits is out of tolerance and needs to be replaced. See first paragraph as to why this can happen.
Next check that the person doing the fitting is competent. It's amazing how a bearing that's only slightly improperly fitted due to inexperience can fail prematurely.

Let us know what happened.
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#3 Cobus

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 09:02 AM

Morning all,

So I took my car in to get a noise investigated and it turns out my rear left wheel is making a "clanking" noise at high rpm and when it slows down. The mechanic believes this to be the rear bearing, now the reason for my asking about the average life span is because on the 27.07.09 I had that same bearing replaced. Now I travel +- 100km's a day so to my way of thinking it should have lasted longer correct?

Just wanting to know what you guys think, will check replies when I wake up :).

*edit: Car specs are '98 Daewoo Lanos 1.6SX

So you did +-40 000kms in little over a year?

Definitely the bearing should last way longer than that. My guess is there's another problem being missed that leads to excessive wear/load on the bearing leading to accelerated failure.
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#4 Takumi

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 09:07 AM

was hoping cobus would reply :), but note cobus, he said he had it replaced 27 July 2009. I hope it's a typo, cos a bearing failing in 3 2 months? no sir. Not unless something else is wrong.
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#5 c0d3r

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 09:10 AM

I'd get a second opinion if I were you. Was it a backyard mechanic who replaced the first bearing?
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#6 Presler

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 09:47 AM

was hoping cobus would reply :), but note cobus, he said he had it replaced 27 July 2009. I hope it's a typo, cos a bearing failing in 3 2 months? no sir. Not unless something else is wrong.


Simple test. Jack the car up so the wheel is of the ground, do it on a flat surface with front wheels blocked, handbrake down. Take the wheel top and bottom and wiggle it, if the wheel moves, bearing fucked, if not, something else.

Two questions.
1. What's the current mileage of the car?
2. How many bearings have you replaced on that specific wheel before?

Reason for asking. Some cars, specifically the 1.3 and 1.6 ford model lasers, bakkies and Mazda 323 and same size bakkies, have the problem of wearing the hub. This is simply due to poor design as the nut holing the bearing in is soft and fails even by a mild bump like a pothole. Nut loose, bearing runs skew and mess up the hub. I would have the hub checked with a vernier to see if it's still good.

Also, Takumi is right, they gradually go, the don't just break. You say clanking noise? I'll check out the suspension rubbers, exhaust rubbers and even the little clamp that holds your rear brake shoe in place, it could be any of them over a fooked bearing.

EDIT: High RPM clanking noise, almost 90% it's exhaust rubber and the high RPM vibration cause this. Also, when you slow down without pressing on the clutch, your engine tilts, hence exhaust movement.

Edited by Gee-Q, 06 October 2009 - 09:50 AM.

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#7 Cobus

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 12:39 PM

was hoping cobus would reply :), but note cobus, he said he had it replaced 27 July 2009. I hope it's a typo, cos a bearing failing in 3 2 months? no sir. Not unless something else is wrong.

:blush: I thought it was 2010 already...
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#8 Takumi

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 01:13 PM

someone's in a hurry... :P what's happening in 2010 that u cant wait for? Come cobus, tell us too...
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#9 gvdwest

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 01:40 PM

I replaced my left rear wheel bearing for the first time this past weekend, I drive a 1988 toyota, so 2 months does sound a little short :)
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#10 Anakha56

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 02:56 PM

( at ) Tak nope no typo within 3 months is correct.

( at ) cod3r nope not a backyard mechanic I have been taking my car to them to get repaired for the last 2 and a half years. And to get a second opinion who is willing to drive me home so I can sleep is very difficult due to location.

( at ) Gee current mileage is +- 254352 cant think of it off hand but its definitely in the 254000 range. As far as I can remember I have replaced all the bearing at least once so far so I am on the second run of replacing bearings.

So I have phoned them, the mechanic has changed his mine and says he thinks its the front left and the "knocking/clanking" noise was just the brake shoes moving around. They still are not certain and are going to do more testing, I just hope I get my car back today otherwise I cannot go to work.

Um if I had to go take the car to get AA tested how good are they? I am just thinking of getting tested and if they pick up any faults to repair them month after month if they are serious.

Let me just tell you the noise that is being made in the car while I am driving. As soon as the car hits 40 and start to climb in speed you hear a noise that I can only describe as a second engine building up speed in the car. As you go faster this deep whine builds in intensity and at 120 I can definitely hear it over my music. Took it in a couple weeks ago and they could not find the fault and initially thought it was my tires needing replacing, so I got the worst of the lot replaced and the noise persisted so it was not that.

Thanks for the replies guys :D.
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#11 millennia

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 03:11 PM

does this clanking noise also make an appearance when you turn? CV might have popped.
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#12 Pyro

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 03:14 PM

Takumi has a pretty accurate description there.

I'd also suspect that the bearing itself is/was fine, but the something is making the bearing fail. The mechanic just fixed the obvious/symptom, a failed bearing, but might not have fixed the root cause of the problem.
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#13 Anakha56

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 03:17 PM

( at ) mil nope. However the noise does go away entirely when I turn to the left but increase in sound when I turn to the right.

( at ) Pyro thats why I am thinking of getting a AA test so that they can hopefully pick up all the problems, could that work?
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#14 Takumi

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 03:38 PM

ana: Is that lanos a FWD? If so, which side is your gearbox? should be on the left, but just checking
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#15 WetKit

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 03:45 PM

Sounds like a CV, but could also be wheel related.
When last did you check your wheel surface for uneven wear?
Also wheel balancing and 4 wheel tracking.
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#16 Anakha56

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 03:49 PM

( at ) Tak it is a FWD and if you are talking about where the gear stick sits it is in the middle like a normal car :P.

( at ) Wetkit well I just got the tires replaced not even a month yet that is the 2 worse ones were replaced and 2 new ones put on. Back then the guys did tell me the old ones that were left on will have about a month or two before they need replacing, they did not mention anything about the surface. Wheel balancing and all that was done straight after getting the 2 new tires put on.
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#17 millennia

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 03:59 PM

( at ) mil nope. However the noise does go away entirely when I turn to the left but increase in sound when I turn to the right.

I'm sticking to CV ;)
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#18 Takumi

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 04:28 PM

no ana: referring to the gearbox. not the little stick and nob you polish when driving :devil:
normally CVs fail when the grease boot is broken in some way. Just check under the car, and follow two shafts (drive shafts) from either front wheel to where they enter the engine. You should have two boots on either end of those shafts, one for each CV joint on either end. One shaft will be longer than the other. The shorter shaft is the one that goes into the gearbox. Those grease boots normally have a metal clip that keeps it attached to the drive shafts IIRC. They tend to tear along those metal clips. A lot of ppl dont check those boots. Tears cause the grease to be slung out, very badly shortening the life of CV joints.
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#19 Anakha56

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 07:09 PM

Well how I was I to know what you were on about :P. Look I will gladly admit that I know nothing about cars, in fact I would say I know about 10% about cars the same amount c0d3r knows about wimmin :P.

So here is the update. They replaced the front wheel bearing according to them it was rusted and very close to giving out and on Thursday they will be replacing the rear free of charge due to the short life span it had. Here is the kicker if the front was so close to dying surely it would be the one making the most noise? Well with it being replaced the noise persists and has not gone down at all. So tomorrow I will take a drive to a CV joint place to get the CV's checked out if they do need replacing I will ask them to hold off on fixing until the weekend because I am curious to see what happens if the rear gets replaced and the noise persists.

( at ) mill I thought a dying CV made a clicking noise when you go around a corner? This is a constant noise except when you turn left :huh:, just asking because that is the only noise I know of when a CV is on its way out.

( at ) tak so if the stick 'n nob are not where the gearbox is situated where would you find it then? :P


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#20 Takumi

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 07:49 PM

hahah Ana :). FWD cars have what they call transverse mounted engines ie where the drive shafts run between the front wheels as opposed to front to back as with rear wheel driven cars. The gear box is attached to the engine on either LHS or RHS. The nob and stick you play with is attached via cables and/or other mechanical linkages to the actual gearbox to enable you to change gears. With RWD vehicles, the gearbox is located just in front of the engine bay firewall (yes, cars have firewalls too.. :P )

Remember i said there are normally two CV joints per drive shaft? the one closest to the wheel is called the outer CV and the other which is located at the engine is called the inner. An inner CV joint is required if the main engine crank centerline is not directly inline with the front wheel axes. The outta CV is required for obvious reasons: power still needs to be transmitted to the wheel even though they are turned as when steering around a corner. Generally, the outer CV joints fail first due to their location and the fact that the grease boots get damaged by stuff kicked up by the tires etc. So when they fail, you hear that loud klacking, which can sometimes only be heard if taking a really tight turning circle. if it's really bad, it might even klack with a mild turn or even while driving in a straight path. I actually heard that once, which I thought was impossible.

If the inner fails, I reckon it could make a whining noise. But for some arb reason, that whining noise makes me think of the gearbox release bearing. You dont have any issues changing gears, even if intermittently?

shit. it's been a while since I've worked on an engine. Disgraceful for a Mech.Eng. :(

Edited by Takumi, 06 October 2009 - 07:53 PM.

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