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Secondary Ignition: The Art of Spark

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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Diagnosing Catalytic Converter Failure Symptoms

Although construction can vary according to engine application, the common three-way catalytic converter contains a reduction and oxidation stage. To create maximum surface area, each stage is generally a ­ceramic or stainless steel honeycomb substrate...

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Coolant Transfusion: Proper Selection Prevents System Degradation

Coolant is easily analogized to blood, both being liquids that are essential to the functioning of an entire complex system. The analogy extends even ­further though because, like blood, coolant has different types, and it’s not a stretch these...

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Live-Axle Wheel Bearing Replacement

Replacing wheel bearings on a vehicle with a live rear axle may not be one of the most frequent jobs, but it can be one of the most profitable. While the basics have not changed in more than 60 years, new seal materials and differential designs have...

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Ford: Low-Speed Strut Noise

MODELS: • 2006-2009 Fusion • 2007 Zephyr • 2007-2009 MKZ • 2006-2009 Milan Some vehicles built before 8/5/2008 may exhibit a popping, rubbing, grunting, squeaking, crunching or creaking type noise from the front strut mount when going over...

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Honda Civic Alignment Spec: 2006-'11

Built on a high-rigidity unit-body platform, the 2006-2011 Civic has a MacPherson strut front ­suspension and a multi-link rear suspension. The eighth generation switched from a high mounted to a low mounted steering rack and significantly increased...

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Mazda: Fuel System Servicing Precaution

Applicable Models: 2004-’07 Mazda3 2005-’07 Mazda6 2006-’07 MX-5 vehicles During service/removal of fuel system parts on the above vehicles, the memory of the malfunctions and the long-term fuel trim need to be cleared by either removing the...

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Audi: Transmission Does Not Shift Due To Cabin Air Filter

Model: 2001 Audi A6 Avant Quattro, 2.8L Complaint The customer states the transmission does not shift. Cause Confirmed the customer’s complaint and found the transmission did not shift. Inspected the automatic transmission fluid level and condition...

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Kia Driveability Diagnostics: Chasing Intermittent Gremlins

This month, we find ourselves looking at a 2004 Kia ­Sorrento that the owner says is losing power and stalling with no established pattern. It will run well for days or even weeks at a time without a problem, only to then act up without warning,...

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5 Mistakes Newbie Tire Techs Make

Ah, brand-new tire techs. I think of them somewhat as similar to puppies: cute, eager to please and clumsy as all get-out. Feed them regularly, play fetch the new tire with them, and make sure they get paper-trained (with training). Nothing can...

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Equipment and Tool Institute Launches an Important Market Research Study on New Car Buying Preferences of Consumers

In an effort to assist its members in having the latest market information and bringing new and improved equipment and tools to the marketplace, The Equipment and Tool Institute (ETI) has launched a series of Market Research Projects. The current...

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Redline Detection Names 2015 Redline Rock Star Performance Award Winner

Redline Detection has announced the winner of its 2015 Redline Rock Star Performance Award. Rob McNees of Truck Centers, Inc. (TCI) was selected by the Redline Technical Advisory Board as the winner and received more than $4,000 in cash and prizes from...

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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!

Latest articles from our other sites:

Secondary Ignition: The Art of Spark

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...More

Diagnosing Catalytic Converter Failure Symptoms

Although construction can vary according to engine application, the common three-way catalytic converter contains a reduction and oxidation stage. To create maximum surface area, each stage is generally...More

Live-Axle Wheel Bearing Replacement

Replacing wheel bearings on a vehicle with a live rear axle may not be one of the most frequent jobs, but it can be one of the most profitable. While the basics have not changed in more than 60 years,...More

Ford: Low-Speed Strut Noise

MODELS: • 2006-2009 Fusion • 2007 Zephyr • 2007-2009 MKZ • 2006-2009 Milan Some vehicles built before 8/5/2008 may exhibit a popping, rubbing, grunting, squeaking, crunching or creaking...More

Mazda: Fuel System Servicing Precaution

Applicable Models: 2004-’07 Mazda3 2005-’07 Mazda6 2006-’07 MX-5 vehicles During service/removal of fuel system parts on the above vehicles, the memory of the malfunctions and the long-term...More

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