Rear wheel bearings -- how do I know?


#1

My car has 240K miles, front wheel drive. Over recent years I have become aware of increased road noise, particularly at interstate speeds. A set of new tires did not seem to affect the noise. A passenger suggested the rear wheel bearings were worn. Is there a simple test to determine if the bearings should be replaced?


#2

Weave the car back and forth (safely and when no other traffic is around) at around 50mph or so. A gentle slalom. Does it get louder when you’re turning one way or the other? Then it’s the bearing on the opposite side. So, if you weave left and you hear a louder rumble (from the rear) it’s the right (passenger) side of the car.


#3

Jack it up and securely support the vehicle and try to wiggle the wheel in all directions. Spin it and listen for scraping noise. Not easy because the brakes can interfere with the diagnosis, but worth a try.