Wheel bearings may be small in size, but they have an enormous impact on your vehicle, which is why bearings that need service shouldn’t be overlooked. If you start to hear strange noises while you’re driving, or if you have trouble steering and smoke starts to emanate from your wheels, then you need to have your wheel hubs and bearings serviced immediately. Warning signs such as these can’t be ignored.

Squeaking and Howling

Wheel bearings that are corroded or that lack lubrication can heat up because of excessive friction. This friction can damage bearings and cause them to emit a variety of strange noises, including squeaking and howling sounds. If you start to hear whistling coming from your wheels that becomes louder squeaking, it’s a red flag your wheel hub assemblies need to be inspected. Your bearings may need new seals and lubricant or even replacement.

Trouble Steering

Wheel bearings are vital for effective steering and handling, because they facilitate the free rotation of your wheels and tires while your vehicle is in motion. If you’re having trouble turning right or left, or if there are strange sounds when you try to make turns, then your wheel bearings may be the root cause of the problem. Given that steering is a vital function for your safety, this warning sign of bearing distress or potential failure must be addressed as soon as you notice it.


Smoke is a clear sign that there is something seriously wrong with your vehicle, and it’s time to take it off the road and into the shop for service. While smoke coming from your wheels can mean any number of things, including that your brake units are shot or that you need lubrication, it’s often a sign that wheel bearings are in the process of failing. The root causes of bearing failure vary, but smoke means that your bearings probably need replacement, if they are found to be the source.

Wheel bearings impact everyone in your vehicle, which is why warnings signs that bearings have gone bad shouldn’t be overlooked. Odd noises, steering difficulties and smoke coming from your wheels are clear signals it’s time to have your bearings checked.