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Bad Wheel Baring?

Hi my name is Darren I have a mk4 vw golf and I have been diagnosed with a bad wheel baring due to a lot of play being found in the passenger side wheel… I’m no mechanic but I have a fair knowledge and know enough to get by So I’m going to change the baring my self. If I need to. My problem is that the baring is not making any noise what so ever, runs smoothly can’t hear a thing while driving it… I was under the impression that a bad baring always make a growing noise… This is where I need some help… Could it be something else causing the play?

This is why I always recommend a second opinion. Yes, something else could be causing the play, or there might not be any play at all. You can move a wheel side to side even when there is no play, but you will notice that the other wheel and the steering will will move in sync.

So what would you recommend to do in terms of diagnosis. I have the facilities to press the new baring in if need be but would rather spend the money fixing an actual problem

Check for play yourself as Keith recommends. There may well be no problem at all, a mis-diagnosis.

What is the actual problem, excessive tire wear, steering issues, vehicle stability (wandering)?

I went for a mot and it failed because of excessive play in the passenger slide wheel


In the uk, we have a safer test done on our cars annually as you probably do too, ours is known as a MOT

Or it could be a bad ball joint or tie rod end for that matter.
Personally, I never had a bad bearing that wasn’t barking about it long before it resulted in excessive play…but I’ve had numerous ball type joints that were really getting loose and hardly noticeable until inspected for it…

Park your car, set the brake. Have someone (whom you trust) sit at the wheel with the key in the run position. The engine does not have to be running but it might help if you have power steering. If the engine is running, then you might put a large chock in front of the rear wheels, just in case the person you trust turns out to not be so trustworthy.

Now lay down in front of the vehicle so that you can see the lower control arms and the tie rods. Have this trustworthy person who currently has your life in their hands move the steering wheel back and forth. They only need to move it a few inches in each direction, but move it quickly back and forth.

Observe the actions of the ball joints, tie rod ends and any other steering components in view and the tires. Everything should move in sync. Where you see a disconnect in the sync, for example one side of the ball joint is not following the other side smoothly and in sync, you have found your problem.

If everything is moving in sync except the tire in question, then that could be a wheel bearing.

I will do exactly that, I’ll post on here with my findings thank you very much

MOT=Ministry of Transport

The US and the UK…two countries separated by a common language.

        U.S.=                          U.K.

       Hood=                      Bonnet

       Trunk=                       Boot

   Windshield=               Wind Screen

      Fender=                      Wing

     Bushing=                       Bush

     Wrench=                      Spanner

    Perfect=                         Lovely


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I’ve never had a wheel bearing go bad that didn’t make some kind of a noise too. But I suppose such a thing is possible. If there’s unexplained play in the wheel that’s a safety concern, so if you can’t see the problem otherwise by an under-car look-see, you pretty much have to take things apart enough to find out why, which probably means you’ll end up replacing the wheel bearing.

MOT is basically the same thing as what we call in the USA the DMV I’d guess.

To Tester’s list above for car part names, I’ll add Distributor = Dizzy

In the U.S., It’s DOT.

Department of Transportation.


Yes, a loose wheel bearing CAN be silent, although it is a bit unusual. We just changed a front wheel bearing on my grandsons Dodge pickup that was very loose but it made no noise.


Here’s a few more

sedan = saloon

flashlight = torch

Yeah I’ve been getting a book a month sent to me and they are all British authors. I had to look up that tor means hill of some type and close I think is like neighborhood circle. And of course they never back the car up but reverse it. They don’t even snicker when they say some of these things. Oh yeah and they hire removal men instead of movers. I don’t know, I’d like someone to not only remove my stuff but to also bring it back.

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station wagon == estate

If you think about it, estate might make more sense than station wagon. If you lived on an estate, a big house and a big piece of land, you’d need a car shaped like what in the US we call a station wagon. I wonder what the US manufacturers were intending to say by naming a car of that shape “station wagon”? Something you’d use to take a load of people to the train station?

British English vs American English as applied to car diy’ers, when I read a British publication of the topic I still find quite a few terms I have not much idea what they are talking about. Other than I can usually guess usually when it is a term you might use in frustration if you were upset your rotor was rusted stuck on the hub … lol …

I guess even in the US there are differences. We say footing for a building but footer seems to be common in the south. I’ve never seen the term on any blue prints though. Then they say a house is dried in and we say its closed in meaning the roof, doors, and windows are in enough to keep the rain out. I dunno, maybe dried in is short for dry inside or something.