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Wheel Bearing Woes

I drive a 2007 Saturn Vue, and I bought it in 2009. The previous owner had to have two wheel bearings replaced. Since I’ve driven this vehicle, I’ve had to have three replaced (to be fair, one was replaced just because they had to do something to the ABS sensor). Now I’m starting to hear the suspicious grating/whirring noise yet again and I have a sinking feeling it’s yet another wheel bearing that will need to be replaced. This is an expensive repair and it seems like an odd one to keep happening. Is it my driving, my car just being a fluke, or is my repair shop not doing it right (I hate to insinuate this because I love my car guys but one has to wonder)?

Do you have a lot of potholes in your area?
Do you drive gravel or dirt roads often?
Is there one wheel that has yet to have its bearings replaced?

How many miles are on the car?

My car has just over 130,000 miles on it. The back drivers’ side wheel has yet to be replaced. As for potholes, I live in west Michigan – my husband says you might as well drive through Cambodian mine fields.

Been there, loved the country. Sincere thanks to your hubby for serving. Been there, too. B-52 bombers.

Yeah, potholes are terrible on modern bearings. The manufacturers are using ball bearings rather than the old roller bearings because ball bearings are lower in rolling resistance. Ball bearings don’t stand up to abuse the way roller bearings do. I’m betting the left rear bearing is due.

The only suggestion I can offer besides avoiding potholes is to seek out Timken Bearings. They’re the “gold standard” in bearings. I bought some for my own bearing replacements. They do sell them for automotive applications spec’ed to individual cars, including installed in hub/bearing assemblies for those cars needing them. Mine even came with the wheel speed sensors installed.

Do you have the factory wheels on this or aftermarket “custom” wheels? If they are not the factory wheels, they might not have the correct offset which will damage the wheel bearings.