The Purpose of Wheel Hub Bearings Explained for Students in Auto Technician Courses

Grads of Auto Technician Courses Know That Wheel Hub Bearings Improve Fuel Efficiency
Few things in automobiles are as simple as they appear. Take, for example, the wheels. At first glance, it might look like they just spin when a driver steps on the gas, and halt when brakes are applied, but there are many smaller steps involved to get from driver input to wheel action, and many hidden parts making the whole process easier.

Among those parts are “wheel hub bearings.” Nestled between the brakes and the axles of a car, they are instrumental in getting cars to drive smoothly. When they fail, performance can be harmed, or the car might even stop moving altogether.

Want to learn a bit more? Here’s a look at the purpose of wheel hub bearings.

Grads of Auto Technician Courses Know Wheel Hub Bearings Keep Wheels Spinning Smoothly

For a car to drive, its wheels need to turn quickly. Want an idea of how quickly? A typical wheel on a car driving about 100 km/h is spinning a little faster than 840 times per minute. Wheel hub bearings help reduce the amount of friction that this many revolutions will cause, helping to reduce the amount of heat and wear the car will experience.

When wheel hub bearings wear down, it’s typical for a car to start making a variety of noises, including grinding, snapping, clunking, and other unsavoury sounds. Most cars can get by for a good while if the wheel bearing is degraded. If the wheel hub breaks completely, though, it can hamper a wheel’s ability to spin so much that the car could conceivably stop moving altogether. As a result, graduates of auto technician courses make sure to explain to their customers that even if their car is drivable, it’s unwise to let worn wheel hub bearings go unfixed for too long.

Grads of Auto Technician Courses Know That Wheel Hub Bearings Improve Fuel Efficiency

As with so many other automobile components, a functioning wheel hub bearing improves the fuel efficiency of a car. This is directly related to a wheel hub bearing’s ability to reduce friction. In this case, more friction means more “wasted” energy, and worse fuel economy.

It’s important to note that not all wheel hub bearings are equal, and exceptionally cheap ones are likely not worth purchasing. They can degrade more quickly, tend to be less resistant to the elements, and can even produce the kinds of annoying sounds that a functioning wheel hub bearing shouldn’t. If, in your career, you want to ensure your clients get the best service, it’s a good idea to recommend that they don’t go too cheap on wheel hub bearings.

Wheel Hub Bearings Often Also House Important Safety Sensors

When driving in snowy, icy, or otherwise slick conditions, most cars will engage an “anti-lock braking system” (ABS) if the vehicle detects that it is skidding when the driver is attempting to stop. This can help drivers maintain more control of their vehicles, potentially allowing them to avoid accidents.

Wheel hub bearings often house ABS sensors, giving them added utility and purpose in a vehicle. It’s important to note, though, that this can also make a wheel hub bearing replacement a bit trickier.

When working in your auto mechanic apprenticeship and in your career beyond, take care to ensure that you install new wheel hub bearings correctly. Misalignment, or accidentally installing the bearing backwards, can lead to the ABS light staying on constantly in your client’s car.

Some wheel hub bearings include ABS sensors, which can help cars remain safe in slick conditions

Some wheel hub bearings include ABS sensors, which can help cars remain safe in slick conditions

Wheel hub bearings help reduce the amount of friction between cars and their wheels, reducing noise and improving drivability and fuel economy. Be sure to take care when doing maintenance on this part, as proper installation is key to a car running as smoothly and safely as it can.

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Categories: ATC News, Cambridge
Tags: auto mechanic apprenticeship, Auto technician courses, car mechanic in Cambridge

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