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BMW Recognized for Engine-Building Excellence

BMW Group’s engine-building prowess was recognized with four wins at the latest International Engine of the Year Awards. The drive unit in the BMW i8 earned two class wins as well as being declared overall winner, with a further class win being garnered...

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When doing mobile diagnostic work, no-code stalling complaints are a major part of your agenda. In most cases, the client shop is simply too busy to duplicate the failure or, in some cases, a long test drive will yield nothing in the way of useful...

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What is a coil? From the beginning of the internal combustion engine, several different ignition systems have been used to create a high-energy spark. The most popular system, and the one that’s in use today, is a step-up coil. A coil is nothing...

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Regulators Launch Investigation Into Jeep Grand Cherokee Brake Defect

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Electronic Proportioning Valve: Doing More With Less Hardware

Anti-lock brake systems (ABS) and the HCU are replacing proportioning, combination and other valves to change the braking forces in the front and rear. This is called Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and it can dynamically change the proportioning...

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NHTSA’s GM Brake Line Corrosion Investigation: Reading Between the Brake Lines

There will be no recalls on some GM vehicles for brake line corrosion. Instead, we received an advisory from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about brake line inspection and car washes. What was not discussed was the corrosion...

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Air Ride Diagnostics: Reservoirs and Compressors

Just about every Asian and European luxury import nameplate manufacturer has a 7- to 10-year-old vehicle on the road with an air-ride suspension at all four corners. Chances are one of these vehicles will be coming to your shop sooner rather than later. Regardless...

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Toyota Adds 1.4M Cars to Largest-Ever Recall

Toyota has added roughly 1.4 million vehicles to what has become the largest vehicle recall in U.S. history, the Associated Press reported. The recall is centered around air bags manufactured by Japan’s Takata Corp., which have been found to burn...

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Thorough Brake Inspections Are Comeback Preventers & Profit Builders

How many times have you seen a hand-painted sign in a shop window that advertised a menu-priced brake pad replacement for “$XX.95 per axle.” Of course, a menu-priced brake replacement would be good if a simple brake pad replacement would cure all...

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OTC's Technician Challenge Tour Will Award Ultimate Diagnostics for Life

The OTC Technician Challenge is going on tour with dates in six states, showcasing the Encore with new Bravo 2.0 software. Technicians nationwide will compete to win one of three Ultimate Diagnostics for Life packages. Ultimate Diagnostics for Life winners...

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New Productivity Features Added To Coverage In Snap-on Software Upgrade 15.2

Snap-on has increased its vehicle coverage in the new Software Upgrade 15.2 for the Auto-ID, One-Touch Full Vehicle Code Scan and the One-Touch Code Clear features to provide effective, accurate and fast diagnostics out of the box and miles down the road. The...

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Change Your Mind, Not The Rotors

You may believe machining rotors is unprofitable when compared to installing new rotors, but the opposite is true. Labor in a shop does not take up inventory and does not have to be delivered by a parts store. You just have to make it a line item on the...

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By Larry Carley
Technical Editor

The classic symptom of a wheel bearing that is failing is cyclic noise. Most often a bad bearing will produce a chirping sound or a growl that changes in proportion to vehicle speed.

If a bad bearing is suspected, the wheel bearings should be inspected to see if there is any play. On late-model vehicles with sealed wheel bearings or bearing cartridges, there should usually be little or no play.

To check a wheel bearing, grasp the tire at the 12 and 6 o’clock positions and attempt to rock the tire. If any play can be felt, the bearings are loose and need to be replaced.

Also, rotate the tire by hand. Any roughness or noise from the bearings would also tell you the bearings are worn or damaged and need to be replaced.

Bearing play can be measured by placing a dial indicator against the hub and turning the wheel. Refer to the vehicle manufacturers specifications, but as a rule no more than .005 inches of play is allowed for most sealed wheel bearing and hub assemblies.

If one wheel bearing is loose or noisy, pay close attention to all of the other hubs on the vehicle, too, especially if the vehicle has a lot of miles on it or has been driven through axle deep water or been flooded. Chances are some of the other wheel bearings may also need to be replaced.

Customers should be warned not to put off replacing a noisy or loose wheel bearing. A bearing failure can often cause the wheel (or rear axle in the case of a rear axle bearing) to separate from the vehicle. This would cause a loss of steering control that might have potentially deadly consequences!

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