I confirmed that I have a bad wheel bearing on my 2006 Ford Focus. I started hearing a faint rumbling or whining noise from the right rear a couple thousand miles ago. I first thought it was the tire going out of balance. The tire looked O.K., so I rotated them front to back. But the noise continued to come from the right rear. I concluded that it had to be the wheel bearing, so I periodically checked the wheels by lifting it up with a jack and trying to rock it side to side and front to back. I was told that when a wheel bearing goes bad, the wheel gets loose, so I should be able to check by rocking it. But all 4 wheels felt all right – that is, until someone suggested that a bad wheel bearing does not necessarily result in wobbly wheels, and that I need to rotate the wheel and hear for any grinding noise. Sure enough right rear wheel gave that noise. So, I am sure it is the wheel bearing.
My question is… how long can I drive it like this before the wheel falls off. I ordered the drum with wheel bearing and a spindle nut on the Internet, so I am expecting them to arrive by this weekend. So, I am hoping I can drive it until then. If it absolutely necessary, I can find other forms of transportation.
I begin to hear a really faint wheel bearing grinding noise beginning at about 20 MPH, and most people should be able to hear it at about 25, and the noise is difficult to ignore at 30. Do you think I can drive it another 100-200 miles? Do the wheels begin to wobble when the wheel bearings are about to fail?