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A Quick Way to Tell Whether Your Bearing's Wearing

Auto engine repair on creeper.

If you just want to check your wheel bearings for wear without removing the wheels, do the following:

  1. Jack up your vehicle and support it on jack stands.

    If you've been checking your brakes, your car is already jacked up.

  2. Without getting under the vehicle, grasp each wheel at the top and bottom and attempt to rock it.

    There should be minimal movement. Excessive play may indicate that the wheel bearing is worn and needs adjustment or replacement.

  3. Put the gearshift in Neutral if you have an automatic transmission, or take your manual transmission out of gear.
  4. Rotate the wheel, listening for any unusual noise and feeling for any roughness as it rotates, which may indicate that the bearing is damaged and needs to be replaced.
  5. Shift back into Park (for an automatic transmission) or gear (for a manual transmission) before lowering the vehicle to the ground.

From Auto Repair for Dummies, copyright © 2009 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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