Wondering what a bad wheel bearing sounds like? You have come to the right place. In this article, we will show you a video of a Mercedes-Benz with a bad front wheel bearing. In the video, you will be able to hear what a bad wheel bearing sounds like. Once you identify a defective wheel bearing you want to replace it as soon as possible. You can replace a wheel bearing yourself, which we will show you in another article, or have an auto repair shop replace the wheel bearing for you.
How Does a Bad Wheel Bearing Sound?
Now you are wondering how a bad wheel bearing sounds. Most people describe the noise of a bad wheel bearing as a humming sound that increases pitch and volume as you increase your car’s speed. As you drive faster the bad bearing sounds lower but you will still hear the noise at low speed as well.
The noise generated from a bad wheel bearing really depends on the nature of the wear. Some common sounds you will hear from a bad wheel bearing are:
- humming sound
- moaning sound
- rough sound
- scraping sound
- high pitch sound
It is difficult to confirm the bad wheel bearing by simply rotating the tire. The noise may be very subtle. Also, the brake rotor may create noise as it rubs the brake pads. In the video above you will see that in the second clip, it is difficult to tell what noise is coming from the brake pad/rotor and what is coming from the wheel bearing.
How to test if I have a bad wheel bearing?
In order to test for a bad wheel bearing:
- safely jack up the front wheel that you suspect may have a bad wheel bearing
- rotate the wheels and listen for a humming/grinding sound
- also, move the wheel by grabbing the tire and pulling it back and forth to test if there is play. The tire shouldn’t rock.
An even more accurate test can be performed using a dial indicator. If you have a dial indicator, remove the hubcap and set it to take a reading on the hub.
A simple test you can perform to confirm you have a bad wheel bearing is to drive the car until you hear the sound. Then slowly turn the steering wheel to the left, then after a few seconds turn the steering wheel slightly to the right. As you do this you may notice that the sound goes away or gets louder. This is because you are adding or removing the load from the defective wheel bearing. That is one way to test for a wheel bearing.
How long should a Mercedes-Benz wheel bearing last?
While wheel bearings should generally last over 150,000 miles we have seen Mercedes-Benz cars that needed new wheel bearings at 100,000 miles or less. For example, an SLK320 R170 needed new wheel bearings at 90,000 miles. This car had been parked for extended periods of time which may have impacted the life of the wheel bearing.
How can you confirm you have a bad wheel bearing?
The most certain way to confirm that you have a bad wheel bearing is to raise the front tires and feel if you have any play. If you grab your tire and 12 and 6 o’clock and try to move it, you should not have played. Be careful to not misdiagnose as a bad ball joint can also cause this kind of play. Try to test for play at a few locations not just at 12 and 6 o’clock. If the wheel bearing is bad, you should notice play every time you shake the wheel.
Mercedes-Benz Wheel Bearing Replacement Cost
Wheel bearing replacement costs can range from $250 to $500. It varies greatly by your location and the local repair shop rate. Replacing one wheel bearing should not take more than 2 hours. Or at least that’s how long it took us to replace it on a Mercedes-Benz E-Class. CLS, S, and C classes are very similar in design so it shouldn’t take much more than that.
So why may you get charged over $500 USD for a wheel-bearing replacement job? Part of it is because of the parts themselves. If you buy the wheel bearing from a dealership or local auto parts you will pay a lot more than you will if you buy a wheel bearing online. Some wheel bearings online can be purchased for under $40. For example, the W210 replacement wheel bearing for Mercedes-Benz E-Class was listed on Amazon for under $25 at the time of this writing.
And if it will make you feel better you can use genuine wheel bearing grease (Part Number: 002989005110 ) sold by Mercedes-Benz on Amazon.
You can see a complete list of Mercedes-Benz Wheel Bearing Parts here.