A hub assembly, also known as a wheel hub assembly or wheel hub bearing assembly is used on most automotive, including passenger vehicles, cars, light duty trucks, and heavy trucks. It is available in various sizes, depending on the vehicle in which it will be installed. There is not a universal hub assembly that is designed to fit all makes and models of all vehicles. When installing, care must be taken to ensure that they correct model is being used.
What is a wheel hub assembly?
The wheel hub bearing assembly is mounted to the drive axle, between it and the brake discs or drums and the vehicle’s wheels are mounted to it. Some models have splined teeth that mate to the teeth that are on the end of the axle shaft. Essentially, it bears the weight of the vehicle and allows the wheels to turn. It is a vital part of a vehicle’s safety system, so it is important to replace the part when it shows wear due to regular or become damaged.
How is a hub assembly used?
When the hub assembly is working as it should, it keeps the wheels stable for a much smoother, safer, and more enjoyable ride. It also provides a better driving experience for the driver and a better riding experience for the passengers by minimizing or eliminating the feeling of wheel vibration or wobbling. Wheel noises like humming, rumbling or growling, especially when turning a corner, are also reduced or stopped completely when the unit is working correctly.
How does a hub assembly work?
The wheels are bolted to the hub assembly which is on the axle shaft. The axle is responsible for turning the wheels, so as it spins, it also turns the hub assembly which, in turn, makes the wheel rotate. Tapered roller bearings sit between each hub assembly and axle shaft on each wheel. The bearing insures that the non-drive wheels also rotate smoothly and easily.
What are problems associated with a low-grade hub assembly?
The quality of the wheel hub assembly is very important; it is a vital part of the vehicle’s safety system. Often, manufacturers will offer replacement parts of the hub assembly, such as the hub bearing as a very low price. This is not always the best deal because a low price usually means low quality and can lead to serious problems, including:
- Malfunction of the anti-lock braking system
- Contaminants and moisture can seep past the seals, prematurely destroying the bearing, resulting in a need to replace the new hub assembly sooner, even as little as 10,000 miles.
- They last about as half as long as better-quality hub assemblies.
- They can cause noise and vibration in the wheels.
- The wheel can come off the assemble while the vehicle is moving.
What are signs that a hub assembly needs to be replaced?
When a hub assembly becomes damaged or wears down, it should be replaced as soon as possible since it is a major safety feature of the vehicle, ensuring a safer ride. When replacing the hub assembly, it is important that the unit is torqued according to the exact specifications of the vehicle in order for it to perform at an optimal level.
- Grinding or growling, usually when the vehicle is turning.
- Rumbling, humming, or growling while the vehicle is being driven in a straight line but gets louder during a turn. Even barely turning the steering wheel to one side or the other can produce the noise. Vibration may also be present.
- Wheel wobble or vibration. This can be an indication of serious mechanical damage.